Don't Get Fooled By Eco-Imposters

The change in the season inspires many of us to participate in the ritual of spring cleaning in some form or another - whether it’s your semi-annual bathroom scour or you’re gearing up to dust the wiring behind the stove. At the same time, most of us are also becoming less enthused with the idea of filling up our homes and the environment with a cocktail of hazardous chemicals found in traditional cleaning sprays and wipes.

Non-toxic is the safer, greener and cleaner way to go. Many companies, however, try to market their wares as “all natural” in an attempt to cash in on the green revolution - when in fact, their products are anything but. So what’s the best way to filter out the eco-imposters and zero in on the eco-friendly goods when confronted with so many choices? Here are five tips to help you weed through the labels and get past the false advertising. Happy Cleaning!

1) Look for the USDA seal of organic approval if a product claims to be organic. In order for products to be certified organic through the USDA’s National Organic Program, 1) they can’t contain any petrochemicals and 2) 95% of the ingredients must be organic.

2) Stay away from products with ingredients that end in the suffix “eth” - like laureth or myreth sulfate. Also, avoid labels that mention PEG, another harmful chemical compound.

3) Be wary of vague labeling, including phrases like “made from organic products” or “environmentally friendly” or “all-natural.” Without independent research to back them up, these claims might actually mean “made from 1% organic products” or “1% all natural” if they aren’t certified by the US Department of Agriculture.

4) Don’t be fooled by hydrosols and a laundry list of organic herbal water extracts and fragrances. They might look good on an ingredients list, but essentially it’s plain ol’ water trying to ‘green up’ the image of synthetic products.

5) Choose plastic bottles made with the recycling code 1, 2 or 5. Recycling codes 3 and 7 are likely to contain bisphenol A or phthalates, which are thought to disrupt natural hormonal function.

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