Some facts and statistics

  • According to Health Canada, Canadians spend an average of 90% of their time indoors
  • The air inside the houses is 2 to 5 times more polluted than the outside air
  • An average Canadian family consumes 20 to 40 liters of toxic cleaning products annually.
  • According to the Cancer Research Society, 12.6% of the population responds strongly to low levels of chemicals such as VOCs or fragrances in many cleaning products.
  • Ammonia and nonylphenol (and its ethoxylates) found in many household cleaning products sold in Canada are on the list of toxic substances in the Environmental Protection Act (CEPA) (1999) of Environment Canada.
  • According to Health Canada, the term “antimicrobial” is poorly defined in the regulation of consumer products. Large companies have found that consumers respond well to products presented as “antimicrobials”, “antibacterials”, etc., but this culture of surface cleanliness leads to frequent use of antimicrobial agents in the community context, exposing microbes to increased levels of antimicrobial agents and subsequent development of resistance. The use of bactericides, disinfectants and antiseptics at home, in community and health care facilities (in cleaning accessories, personal care products, etc.) and the addition of these agents in common household products are of great concern since they increase the selective pressure on the bacteria to develop resistance to these agents.
  • If every American home replaced just one bottle of petroleum-based dishwashing liquid by its plant-based equivalent, such as Biovert dishwashing liquid, that would mean a saving of 82 barrels of oil, that is to say the amount allowing 7,200 medium cars to drive 20,000 km each.
  • The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has verified the presence of 210 substances among the 75000 known in the human body. This study found that participants had an average of 43% of the 210 substances measured. Of the substances found in these individuals, more than 50 carcinogens and more than 60 substances toxic to the reproductive and nervous systems have been identified. From their work emerged general guidelines to reduce chemical pollution, including reducing the number of household cleaning products used. EWG’s suggestion is to always try water and soap first.
  • A study conducted in more than 240 American homes showed that the use of disinfectant cleaners had no impact on the reduction of microbial infections in homes where they were used compared to homes where cleaners with no disinfecting action were used.

References:

  • Environnement Canada
  • Santé Canada Health Canada
  • Institut national de santé publique
  • Ethier Geet, Marc (2005). Zéro Toxique.
  • Outremont : Trécarré, 287 p.
  • Ethier Geet, Marc (2008). Ménage Vert.
  • Outremont : Trécarré, 310 p.