Hazard warnings appear on all manor of DIY and cleaning products, from paints and paint thinners to floor and window cleaners. But what are the risks? And what chemicals should you be more cautious of and take special precautions when using?
If you use each product according to their safety guidelines it is extremely unlikely that you will suffer from any adverse effects, that is why you should always read the instructions on each cleaning product before use.
That said if you have used a product in an unsuitable way and are now concerned about possible health risks then you can use this harmful chemicals checklist to gain more information. We’ve even added tick boxes, so that you can print it off and easily check which of your products contain which chemicals:
Harmful Chemical Checklist: What To Be Aware Of
☐ Volatile Organic Compounds ( VOC’s)
Symptoms: Irritation to the eyes, nose, throat, headaches, loss of co-ordination, nausea, visual disruption, dizziness, light-headedness, allergic skin reaction, memory impairment and fatigue.
Found in: Paints, paint stripper, cleaning supplies, pesticides, adhesives, photocopiers, printers and permanent markers.
DIY Projects: Painting, paint stripping, spring cleaning, kitchen & bathroom cleaning, gardening, DIY and crafts.
Symptoms: Irritation to the eyes, nose, throat and lungs, sensitivity for asthma sufferers, potential kidney and liver damage.
Found in: Toilet cleaners, bathroom cleaners, oven cleaners, car polish, stainless-steel cleaners, window cleaners and drain cleaners.
DIY Projects: Cleaning a bathroom, unblocking a toilet, unblocking a sink, cleaning the oven, cleaning the car, cleaning oven surfaces and window cleaning.
☐ Sodium hydroxide
Symptoms: Eye, skin and lung irritation and ulcerations of the nasal passage.
Found in: Bathroom cleaners, disinfectants, drain openers, oven cleaners and toilet bowl cleaners.
DIY Projects: Bathroom cleaning, toilet cleaning, kitchen cleaning and oven cleaning.
☐ Fragrance chemicals
Symptoms: Allergy irritation, asthma symptoms, migraines, potential hormone interference, reproductive interference (potential reduced sperm count) and potentially cancer.
Found in: Most cleaning products.
DIY Projects: House cleaning, bathroom cleaning, kitchen cleaning, car cleaning, window cleaning, etc.
☐ Silica powder
Symptoms: Studies indicate it can lead to cancer, respiratory problems and asthma.
Found in: Abrasive cleaning powders.
DIY Projects: Heavy duty housecleaning.
☐ 2-Butoxyethanol (2-BE)
Symptoms: Skin and eye irritation, possible blood disorders, potentially reproductive problems (in laboratory experiments).
Found in: Stain removers, car cleaners, wind shield wiper fluid, glass cleaners, degreasers, over cleaners and rust remover.
DIY Projects: Cleaning the car, window cleaning, degreasing an oven, removing rust, laundry and cleaning fabrics.
☐ Monoethanalomine, Diethanolamine and Triethanolamine
Symptoms: Skin and eye irritation, as well as asthma and related symptoms.
Found in: All purpose cleaners, car cleaners, laundry cleaners, dish soaps, degreasers, glass cleaners, surface cleaners and oven cleaners.
DIY Projects: General house cleaning, laundry, dish washing, window cleaning, kitchen cleaning and oven cleaning.
☐ Coal tar dyes
Symptoms: Potential risk of cancer, damage to the nervous system and other potential risks.
Found in: Most cleaning products
DIY Projects: House cleaning, spring cleaning, bathroom and kitchen cleaning.
☐ Quaternary Ammonium Compounds
Symptoms: Skin irritation, allergic reactions, asthma and reproductive interference.
Found in: All purpose cleaners, fabric softeners, bathroom cleaning products and degreasers.
DIY Projects: General house cleaning, washing clothes, bathroom cleaning and degreasing the oven.
☐ Sodium dichloroisocyanurate dihydrate
Symptoms: Severe eye, skin and respiratory irritation, burning of the eyes, mouth and nose and potential kidney damage.
Found in: Surface cleaners, disinfectants, toilet cleaners and deodorisers.
DIY Projects: House cleaning, toilet cleaning and kitchen cleaning.
☐ Nonylphenol ethoxylates
Symptoms: Studies have shown that it accelerates the growth of breast cancer cells.
Found in: Stain removers, air fresheners, toilet cleaners, degreasers, detergent and car cleaners.
DIY Projects: Cleaning the car, house cleaning, cleaning the bathroom, degreasing the oven and washing clothes
☐ Sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium laureth sulfate
Symptoms: Skin irritation
Found in: Washing up liquid, washing powder, toilet cleaners and detergents.
DIY Projects: Cleaning clothes, toilet cleaning and washing dishes.
Symptoms: Hormone interference, skin and eye irritation.
Found in: Washing up liquid, disinfectants, general house cleaners and antibacterial products.
DIY Projects: House cleaning, washing dishes and kitchen cleaning.