Think Simple Green Is A Good Eco-Friendly Cleaner? Think Again…

July 30, 2007
simple.jpg

According to a new report by Women’s Voices for the Earth, Simple Green contains the chemical ethylene glycol butyl ether or EGBE, which is on California’s list of toxic ingredients. Sweet! So glad that Simple Green advertises itself as a non-toxic cleaning product! According to the report, from SF Gate:

…produces reproductive problems, such as testicular damage, reduced fertility, death of embryos and birth defects. People exposed to high levels of EGBE for several hours have reported nose and eye irritation, headaches, vomiting and a metallic taste in their mouths, studies show.

Well that would sure make me feel better about using their environmentally friendly non-toxic cleaner. Luckily I don’t use (nor ever have) their products and I hope they change the formula soon because I am sure a lot of people do use the stuff. A full list of the products with this toxic ingredient can be found at SF Gate, and you might be surprised at the list. Take a look when you get a chance and make sure you are not using any of them in your home.

Filed in: Natural Cleaning

About the Author:

After a varied past of being a test driver for automotive television programs, a Hollywood studio lackey, and an online media sales director, David is now the publisher and editor of The Good Human. In his spare time he rides motorcycles, drinks good beer, and builds stuff in the garage. You can follow him on Twitter at @thegoodhuman or G+ at Google
Like this post? If so, please consider subscribing to my full feed RSS. Or, if you would prefer, you can subscribe by Email:

Enter your email address in the box below. Address will only be used to deliver a daily email and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Comments (12)

  1. That is disturbing. I actually still have some simple green I use(I won’t anymore) my parents used it growing up for just about everyting and use it religiously washing my car, degreasing items and such that might get washed into storm drains and such thinking I was doing something relatively “good” or at least better.

    I have since switched to the eco-friendly products of Shaklee corporation. The company is quite amazing and has been doing “green” things before green was cool(50 years now). I love the company so much I became a distributor just to get the word out and get more people to convert. Find out more info at:

    http://www.DoGoodGoGreen.com

  2. CindyW says:

    That’s good to hear. I don’t like Simple Green also because they actually run animal tests. At least they don’t hide the fact. The datasheet on their website reveals that they test their products on rabbits. With so many other greener products out there (or make your own), I don’t see any reason to use Simple Green.

  3. Cindy,

    That is good to know as well. I had no idea they ran animal tests for Simple Green. I am not even going to finish the bottle I have, thanks for sharing.

  4. Cory F. says:

    I urge anyone to contact Simple Green directly. I called them to confront them about the ingredients in their formula and not only did they offer a very valid explaination, they offered to send me the data to back those claims up. After looking further into it I found out that they have been in business for over 30 years and that the product is used all over the world safely. Who do you trust? I know that sodium by itself will burn you and chloride is toxic if you inhale it, but the two together make table salt. So much for a single chemical being “bad”.

  5. Did they say anything about their animal testing though? What did they say about the above mentioned chemical? Clorox bleach has been around for 50+ years but that doesnt make it good for you.

    I have used simple green and watched my parents growing up and always thought it was a better alternative and maybe it was in its day but with so many other alternatives out there its hard to continue using it.

    Also, even if it was as safe to drink as water, if they still did animal testing then I would not support the company in any way.

    Caleb
    http://www.DoGoodGoGreen.com

  6. david says:

    Cory – So the studies are false and everything Simple Green uses in their products are non-toxic? When very basic safe ingredients can be used to clean with, why have chemicals at all? For them to advertise “non-toxic” when in fact there are toxic ingredients in their products, you have to wonder. You also have to wonder how they made it on a thoroughly researched list of products that contain that chemical. For my money, I will choose to use 100% non-toxic cleaners as they are available everywhere for reasonable prices.

  7. Cory F. says:

    Snake venom is natural, does that make it okay & non toxic. You guys should look further into what you’re talking about. They don’t test on animals and haven’t since the 1980′s which is required by OSHA for workplace safety. Simple Green has actually been used in oil spills & clean ups to save the lives of animals. You should really look into it yourselves.

  8. You reading directly from Simple Green’s site, so its really hard to tell. Here is a clip from a study done at UMASS that mentions simple green, seems conflicting to me:

    A key ingredient of Simple Green is butyl cellosolve, a substance considered toxic by the federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. In lab tests, the liquid has destroyed red blood cells and caused minor birth defects in animals. When absorbed through the skin or inhaled, it has caused irritation around the eyes and noses of humans and headaches.

    Concentrations of the solvent in household cleaners are not thought to pose an immediate danger to people. But LeBlanc believes products should not be labeled as “green” if they contain ingredients that are considered to be toxic by the federal government.

    Manufacturers of Simple Green, the California-based Sunshine Makers, stand by their claims, which they say are backed by more than $3 million in testing. On the Simple Green Web site, the Material Safety and Data Sheet reports that analysis by federal environmental standards “revealed no toxic organic or inorganic constituents.”

    “It gets so confusing for customers,” LeBlanc says. “We’re faced with an industry that does a poor job of training and a good job of marketing. Cleaners in stores are not as safe as cleaners that I have in my lab, and that is sad.”

  9. James says:

    I think its pretty obvious that Cory works for Simple Green here, why would a regular consumer defend a company they have no vested interest in?

  10. Kiara says:

    I have a vested interest in green companies and the truth of what they do as I hate where the world stands today with all the pollution and hazardous situations. It’s my college education, Masters in biology, bachelors in chemistry that makes me respond, and it’s everday consumers without proper education in biology and chemistry that concerns me the most.

    I contacted Simple Green as well after that article and they still claim that while they once did animal testing they don’t anymore. But to help point something else out – the field of toxicity testing has changed. Governments around the world have found non-animal testing methods ..even based on calculating toxicity of products based on previously established toxicity of the ingredients. So just because one has the toxicity data on their Safety Sheets doesn’t necessarily just mean they still test on animals. Try asking the company yourself.

    Also, everything in dangerous in high enough quantities. Everyone praises vinegar, but vinegar (additional flavor enhancing impurities aside) is just 5% acetic acid in water. have you looked at the hazards of pure acetic acid? Why is a dilute form of one ok, but the not the other for consumers?

    I was also outraged by the fact that Simple Green had EGBE in it, but I choose to contact the company and they linked me to a variety of California EPA documents as well as EPA documents – all available on their respective websites, which better explain the hazards of EGBE. Let me just say, it’s not as cut and dry as these articles make it.

    The media always hypes up the latest “problem” they encounter. Everyone knows this. Try educating yourself a little instead of just jumping on the band wagon.

    After learning more about the true test results of that chemical, I know can make an educated decision whether I should use Simple Green or not. I for one don’t think they are a bad company, but there are greener options out there.

  11. david says:

    Hmmm…I need to educate myself. So I am to believe the studies they provide but not any others? And no matter who discusses EGBE, every study says it is toxic…some just say less so than others. And yes, you can make your own choice of course…I choose to not use it, as do other people here.

    “It”™s my college education, Masters in biology, bachelors in chemistry that makes me respond, and it”™s everday consumers without proper education in biology and chemistry that concerns me the most.” – Sorry but I don’t think we “everyday consumers” need any education in biology to want to avoid any substance that is toxic or potentially toxic…there are plenty of alternatives out there that are not.