Green cleaners finally sticking, so look for the EcoLogo

Green cleaners finally sticking, so look for the EcoLogo Could green products finally be washing away the plethora of toxic cleaners now on the market?

So far, the answer to that is no. But with governments, hospitals and consumers looking to green up their acts, new product programs such as EcoLogo and Green Seal Certified are helping to distinguish what are now being referred to as environmentally preferred products.

In Greenwich, Conn., a policy says only EcoLogo or Green Seal Certified cleaning products can be used in any government building. California has a law to try and increase education and use of EPPs (pardon the government jargon).

And if you’re skeptical of these logos, you can also mix up your own cleaning products. Consumer Reports has recipes for cleaning bathrooms and kitchen appliances at www.greenerchoices.org.

So why should consumers even bother to look at these cleaning alternatives?

Well, according to a U.S. Poison Center study, cleaning products were the cause of 10 percent of all toxic exposures in 2000. Also, the air inside your home is likely 2-5 times more polluted than outside, mostly because of these cleaning products.

But this isn’t just a healthy issue, it also has a major environmental component. A U.S. Geological Survey found contaminant from detergents and disinfectants in more than two-thirds of U.S. streams.

So there are plenty of good reasons to look at alternatives to cleaners with a laundry list of chemicals inside. But don’t be fooled: Just because a product says eco-friendly or natural, doesn’t mean it’s good for the environment.

That’s why it’s always a good idea for consumers to do a little of their own research. For example, take a look at what it takes to be certified by Eco Logo or Green Seal Certified.

Most name brand household cleaners have yet to take the plunge into certification. And until consumers can persuade them with their pocketbooks, these companies won’t feel any pressure to go green.