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How Safe Are Green Cleaning Products?

A growing number of Americans are seeking so-called green cleaners -- products made with natural, nontoxic, and biodegradable ingredients. Sales of natural cleaning products totaled $105 million in the last year.

Some of these cleaners promise that they contain natural (instead of synthetic) agents, break down quickly in the environment, or pose less of a toxic threat to humans and ecosystems. But critics caution that just because the ingredients in green cleaners are plant-based or natural doesn't necessarily mean they're safe.

Although green cleaners may purport to list all ingredients, the market is largely unregulated -- which means consumers still must be wary of what's in the bottle. Even cleaning products labeled "natural" may contain some fraction of synthetic chemicals.


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