Dozens of common household cleaning products contain hidden toxic chemicals linked to fertility disorders in lab animals, according to data gathered by a women’s research group.
A type of glycol ether is frequently found in popular cleaning products such as Windex Aerosol, Formula 409, Lemon Fresh Pine-Sol and Simple Green All Purpose Cleaner, says the report released today by Women’s Voices for the Earth, a Montana-based nonprofit working to eliminate or reduce toxic chemicals in the home.
The chemical, called 2-butoxyethanol or EGBE, is on California’s list of toxic air contaminants. Some animal studies indicate that it produces reproductive problems, such as testicular damage, reduced fertility, death of embryos and birth defects. People exposed to high levels of EGBE for several hours have reported nose and eye irritation, headaches, vomiting and a metallic taste in their mouths, studies show.
It’s difficult for consumers to know whether their favorite cleaner contains the chemical because manufacturers aren’t required to list it on the label. Neither the state nor the federal government regulates indoor air pollution, for instance how the cleaners might degrade air inside a home.