Ah, America. The country where you’re allowed to buy products containing hazardous chemicals that other countries have banned. The Environmental Working Group, the people who brought you the Dirty Dozen list of foods to buy organic, are taking an extensive look at the chemicals in more than 2,000 cleaning products. The group’s researchers are months away from being done, but they have already found a slew of products that contain chemicals that are banned abroad, emit toxic fumes that can burns your lungs or eyes, or can cause asthma.
One of the creepier problems that EWG has identified: Some products contain little or no information about their contents. Target’s Up & Up and Walmart’s Great Value products fall into this category. Similarly, some products, like Comet Disinfectants Cleanser Powder and Febreze Air Effects, released dozens of different contaminants — the worst of which were not listed on the products’ labels.
Another group of products to avoid altogether: oven cleaners. These things will get the gunk off your oven like what, but the fumes can burn your lungs.
You can check out the full “hall of shame” here [PDF]. If you want one of those handy pocket guides, though, EWG’s asking for a $5 donation. And we can’t say it often enough: All you need to clean your house is baking soda, vinegar, soap, and hot water. It may take a little more work to clean your oven. But at least your lungs won’t sting when you’re done.