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The Reason for More Eco-Friendly Cleaning Products
Posted by: Maid in Your Hometown on: December 24, 2019

Humans often have a huge impact on the environment whether it’s positive or not. For the past few decades or so, there has been more of a negative impact causing noticeable environmental changes. These changes has brought on warmer weather, mass extinction of animals and even polluted air. The actions of humans changing the natural environment system has made it even more difficult to tackle the inequalities of health (McMichael, Friel, Nyong & Corvalan 2008). In sight of this, many businesses, most notably the cleaning industry have decided to “go green.” The shift toward environmentally friendly cleaning products helps to lower pollution, ultimately causing restoration to health.

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Human and Environmental Health Problems

The decline in both human and environmental health is the sole purpose of natural cleaning products. Pollution has contributed to a majority of these health declines, by way of harsh chemicals. Various countries across the globe have begun to realize this threat and worked towards minimizing this harmful impact on the environment (Joshi & Rahman, 2015). Society’s heavy use of chemically infused products has found its way into the air that we breathe, the water that we drink, and has affected our food source. For example, chlorine is used in many cleaning products such as bleach. These types of products are often used in sinks or toilets and goes down into the drain pipe, ultimately leading into the ocean. Animals that live in the ocean end up becoming contaminated by these chemicals and when consumed affects the health of an individual. These very same harmful chemicals are also found in the soil and water supply which can cause plants to die and create poisoned waters. Environmentally-friendly cleaning products are ideal because of their low toxicity and organic value ( United States Environmental Protection Agency).

Going Green

Citizens of the United States should focus on “going green” and taking responsibility for the environment. Society would be healthier if everyone ate plant-based, organic, gluten-free, and preferably vegan foods. Drinking green tea instead of coffee and consuming more water each day is better for the human body. The percentage of obesity in America would greatly reduce if each person focused more on physical exercise at least three times a week. See a pattern with each of these statements? There is no denying that America is obsessed with health, wellness, and eco-friendly living. Therefore, the shift towards purchasing environmentally friendly cleaning products falls into this “health obsession” category. Why is this? Some may argue that society is more educated than ever due to readily-available research online, and a higher college attendance overall. While that may be true, one prominent reason stands out above all: Environmentally friendly cleaning products are a popular trend in America right now due to two, key reasons: 1) Based on the idea behind social psychology, it is common nature for most people to “follow the crowd.” 2) Clever marketing tactics sway people in the direction of a supposedly healthier brand.

The strong influence that people have on one another is a huge factor when considering why more and more people are purchasing environmentally friendly cleaning products. According to a Psychology Today article, the concept of group polarization may pose an explanation for this popular trend. Group polarization means that “a group of likeminded people reinforce one another’s viewpoints” (Henderson, 2017). In other words, putting people together in a group is likely to strengthen one opinion over another. Like the “If I jumped off a bridge, would you do it too?” question, it is proven that humans will rely on others when deciding what to do, think, or say. According to psychologist, Robert Cialdini, “Whether the question is what to

do with an empty popcorn box in a movie theater, how fast to drive on a certain stretch of highway, or how to eat the chicken at a dinner party, the actions of those around us will be important in defining the answer” (Henderson, 2017).

What are the Reasons for the Shift towards More Environmentally Friendly Cleaning Products?

Personal norms as internal motivation. (Krewski, 2005)

found that the carcinogenic properties of most conventional cleaning materials were three times higher than when compared to environmentally friendly products; it is posited that this is most likely due to the raised levels of Aluminium within the conventional cleaning materials (12).
(Manoguerra 1992) also found that the second most common reason for the mortality of children under the age of five is poisoning via household cleaning materials – whilst most environmentally friendly cleaning supplies are non-toxic, and thus not hazardous to children (114).

Environmental impact as external motivation. (Arey 2003)

found that the phosphorus, nitrogen and ammonia found in traditional cleaning supplies was contributing to the destruction of the ozone layer, as well as potentially causing respiratory problems in those who have repeated exposure to these compounds (8). Not only are we slowly destroying our ozone layer, but (Wood 2012) also found that the amount of chemical waste produced in the manufacturing of traditional cleaning products (roughly 40 000 garbage trucks full per annum) was contributing to the contamination of water sources, such as underground water tables (43).

The reasons for the shift. (Oltra 2004)

states that, according to her studies, the only marketing strategy which shows significant advantages is marketing environmentally friendly cleaning products using human health risks as a motivation factor (23). (Oltra 2004) found that environmental motivation, such as damage to the ozone layer or concerns pertaining to pollution, did not hold much weight with many consumers (56).

According to the study of Picket-Baker & Ozaki (2008) entitled, “Pro-environmental Products: Marketing Influence on Consumer Purchase Decision”, there is a significant relationship between marketer’s decision and effects of environmental friendly cleaning products. The study emphasized that there is wide shift of preferences among consumers towards pro-environment products than normal cleaning product. Though consumers are not highly equipped how to identify pro-environment products, they still buy it more despite of the marketing strategy of normal cleaning products claiming to be effective. Consumers nowadays are more concerned how the cleaning materials they use affect the environment.

It is a common knowledge currently among household workers that cleaning products that are not environment friendly are 3x toxic than pro-environment products (Environmental Protection Agency, 2018). Thus, such products can lead to serious illness like Cancer. Environmental Protection Agency also states that non-environmental friendly products are also hazardous to outdoor air.

To support this idea, www.organicconsumers.org (n.d.) implicates that some all-purpose cleaners contain sudsing agents, diethanolamine (DEA) and triethanolamine (TEA) which trigger Nitrites. Nitrites are preservative or contaminant that produces Nitrosamines, a Carcinogen that penetrate human skin. These toxins are heavily found in cleaning products. In addition to that, Fumes from Ammonia present in some cleaners and Sodium Hydroxide (Bleach) can lead to Respiratory Irritation.

Another investigation by Environmental Working Group within 2000 Cleaning Supplies in America has found a correlation between the specified substances to serious health problems. Some of their findings are as follows: a) Fumes present in cleaning products may induce Asthma; b) Common Cleaning ingredients can be laced with the Carcinogenic Impurity 1-4 dioxane. Such substance is found to release low levels of Cancer causing Formaldehyde.

Another risk factor that supports this idea is that children born by women who were exposed to cleaning jobs have birth defects (New York State Department of Health, 2010). Some cleansers too can cause to less severe allergies.

Due to this emerging health concerns, Pro-environment Cleaning Products is now highly preferred by consumers in the recent market research.

References

M Belis-Bergouignan, V Oltra, M Saint Jean (2004). Trajectories towards clean technology: an in-depth examination of customer tendencies. Journal of Research in Personality, 22, 22-57. doi:10.1016/0032-026X.56.6.985.x.

R Atkinson, J Arey (2003). Volatile Organic Compounds and their usage in industrial cleaning materials. American Chemical Society, 103, 5 – 12. doi: 10.1021/cr0206420.

T Litovitz, A Manoguerra (1992). Comparison of Pediatric Poisoning Hazards: An Analysis of 3.8 Million Exposure Incidents. American Association of Poison Control Centers 57, 100-121. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0404.1986.tb04635.x.

D Krewski, J Lubin (2005). Residential radon and risk of lung cancer: a combined analysis of 7 North American case-control studies. McLaughlin Centre for Population Health Risk Assessment 4, 4-12. doi: 0.1145/2783446.2783609.

J Pascoe, D Wood (2012). The Lifelong Effects of Early Childhood Adversity and Toxic Stress. The committee on psychosocial aspects of child and family health, committee on early childhood, adoption, and dependent care, and section on developmental and behavioral pediatrics 27, 39 – 43. doi: 10.1037/rmh0000008.

Pickett-Baker, J., & Ozaki, R. (2008). Pro-environmental products: marketing influence on consumer purchase decision. Journal of consumer marketing25(5), 281-293.

Indoor Air Quality. (2018, July 16). Retrieved from https://www.epa.gov/report-environment/indoor-air-quality

How Toxic Are Your Household Cleaning Supplies? (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.organicconsumers.org/news/how-toxic-are-your-household-cleaning-supplies

Environmental Working Group (n.d.). Cleaning Supplies and Your Health. Retrieved from https://www.ewg.org/guides/cleaners/content/cleaners_and_health

Cleaning Supplies and Household Chemicals. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.lung.org/our-initiatives/healthy-air/indoor/indoor-air-pollutants/cleaning-supplies-household-chem.html

Henderson, R. (2017, May 24). The Science Behind Why People Follow the Crowd. Retrieved April 28, 2019, from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/after-service/201705/the-science-behind-why-people-follow-the-crowd

Joshi, Yatish., & Rahman, Zillur. (2015). Factors Affecting Green Purchase Behaviour and Future Research Directions. Journal of International Strategic Management Review, Volume 3 (1-2), 128-143. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ism.2015.04.001

McMichael, A J., Friel, S., Nyong, A., & Corvalan, C. (2008). Global environmental change and health: impacts, inequalities, and the health sector. Journal of BMJ, Volume 336 (7637), 191-194. Retrieved from https://dx.doi.org/10.1136%2Fbmj.39392.473727.AD

United States Environmental Protection Agency. Greening Your Purchase of Cleaning Products: A Guide For Federal Purchasers. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.epa.gov/greenerproducts/greening-your-purchase-cleaning-products-guide-federal-purchasers

 

 

 

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