Your cleaning products aren’t food or drugs, so they aren't regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. What?! Instead, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires makers to list only the ingredients that are active disinfectants or 'potentially harmful'. This sounds great, but here lies the problem. Since the government only requires companies to list ‘chemicals of known concern’ on their labels, if it isn't 'known', then it is considered safe. The government has no idea whether many of the chemicals used in everyday cleaning products are safe because it doesn’t test them, and it doesn’t require manufacturers to test them either. Yikes!
According to the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976, the EPA can’t require chemical companies to prove the safety of their products unless the agency itself can show that the product poses a health risk. Sounds like a Catch 22! Unfortunately, the EPA does not have close to the amount of resources to do this kind of testing even if they wanted to.
What does this mean for us? We must take the burden upon ourselves to create safe environments for us and our children. By being informed we can start to make better product decisions and improve our overall health. Look for companies that are 100% transparent with their ingredients, and try to buy products made from simple, organic ingredients whenever possible.