Posted in Business Articles, Housekeeping

And the Toxie Goes To…

600600p3069EDNmain633toxiesPhysicians Battle Toxic Cleaning Chemicals with a Hollywood Twist

For four years now, Californians for a Healthy Green Economy (CHANGE) and Physicians for Social Responsibility – Los Angeles (PSR-LA) have grown their multi-media campaign “The Toxies” to educate consumers about the hidden yet pervasive toxic chemicals that surround us every day at work, in the home, and outdoors. By putting an awards-show, red-carpet glamor on the annual awards event, the campaign gains both on-site public attention as well as a larger reach online to both the professional industries and the consumer.


Each year, at least one Toxie winner – often more – have come from the cleaning world, and the 2013 awards was no exception. Three rise to the top as major offenders among the various segments of the cleaning industry:

Yellow Soap – a powerful degreaser found most commonly in car wash operations, Yellow Soap is blamed for causing inhalation and contact-based chronic illnesses among professionals using the product.


Because Yellow Soap is not required to follow the US Hazard Communications standards – that is, Yellow Soap has no MSDSheet – the cleaning industry is having a difficult time identifying the specific toxins in the product. Worse yet, Yellow Soap is omitted from the currently Safe Chemicals Act under consideration by Congress, which means neither professionals nor consumers will be protected from it. Read more about Yellow Soap.

BPA – while the potential for damage by BPA to the reproductive system is increasing as common knowledge, the continued pervasiveness of BPA still catches many off guard. Many manufacturers have switched to BPA-free containers for their chemicals, but often equipment manufacturers don’t have that luxury.


BPA remains a common ingredient in many of the large containers, plastic handles, hand-held tools, and mechanical equipment used in the cleaning process. Read more about BPA that will surprise you.

Flame Retardants – Certainly our fire restoration specialists will be quite familiar with the dangers of flame retardants in their segment of the cleaning industry, but all segments that come into contact with fabric-based and upholstered furniture, draperies, and pre-fab furniture. Why? Because nearly all of it has been treated with flame retardant chemicals.


While adding a toxin may make it less likely that these items will contribute to a fire, that same flame retardant toxin is a regular hazard to the cleaning technicians and upholstery specialists charged with keeping those items maintained. Read more about the hidden dangers of Flame Retardants.

Other Toxie “winners” include several classic contaminants like Lead and Mercury as well as some emerging stars like the Fracking Chemical Coctail and the new pesticide Chloropicrin.


Click here to watch all of the 2013 Toxies Webisodes.

Originally published August 19, 2013 at

Posted in Being Healthy, Content Marketing, Housekeeping

First Attempt at Comprehensive Database of Household Cleaning Products

healthy cleaningThe Environmental Working Group has been teasing us for about six months about their new Guide to Healthy Cleaning. EWG scientists have examined in the laboratory and rated for safety over 2000 household cleaning products, from laundry detergent to bathroom cleaner to air freshener. And, yes, some of these include the professional products used by the elite cleaning companies around the country.

So how does this new guide and database add value to the professional cleaning industry?

VALIDATION: Many in the cleaning industry have been citing medical and chemical studies that suggest the effect of cleaning products on the increased frequency and severity of many mutagenic diseases such as cancer and reproductive disabilities.

CONSUMER AWARENESS: The more a consumer feels he/she has control over purchasing and lifestyle decisions, the better decisions that consumer can make. One of those “better” decisions is to trust and employ the cleaning company who’s been saying this all along!

CHEMICAL FREE CLEANING: We’ve been advancing the study of safety and efficacy of many cleaning products and equipment toward the development of Chemical Free Cleaning…where no one would need a database like this because the only ingredient is tap water!

REFERENCES: When you search for a specific product or product line, not only do you get EWG’s safety ratings; you’ll also see a list of the ingredients and the various regulatory and/or scientific sources that list their effect on humans. These range from surface irritation to reproductive interruptions to known cancer effects.

CAVEAT: Just because the data revealed through the guide came largely from the science laboratory doesn’t mean that the recommendations come from cleaning professionals. We’ve already spotted a few recommendations that do more to advance home cleaning myths than scientifically validated cleaning or disinfecting methodologies. Here are two reminders just about vinegar…or maybe some new information for those who haven’t yet taken the IICRC House Cleaning Technician Certification class:

Vinegar doesn’t clean or disinfect: vinegar’s use in the cleaning procedure was born of the need to rinse clean the residue left from an alkaline cleaning solution, which is more commonly needed than an acidic cleanser. Vinegar’s acidity neutralized and rinsed clean the residue, leaving a nice, clear shine. Thus was born the legend of the vinegar cleaner.

Vinegar as a disinfectant is based on scientific supposition, not any actual disinfection studies; to be a preservative, vinegar must have some positive effect on keeping bacteria at bay, but as yet, no studies have shown that it actually sanitizes or disinfects to the level of making your counter safe from chicken juice bacteria.

Originally published June 10, 2013 at