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What Does Non-Toxic Mean?


Adjective: toxic

1. Poisonous “the dumping of toxic waste”


2. Poisonous, virulent, noxious, deadly, dangerous, harmful, injurious, pernicious More

Noun: toxic 

Plural noun: toxics

3. Poisonous substances.


Adjective: Non-toxic

1. Not poisonous or toxic, “non-toxic waste”


2. Nonpoisonous, innocuous, harmless, benign, safe, nonirritating, hypoallergenic More

“Non-toxic” is a marketing term used to describe many household cleaners. What exactly does it mean and is it protecting us? 

Should consumers trust the term or go further and check ingredients?

How meaningful is the label?

When we search the term “non-toxic” we find this description:

“Non-toxic” is not meaningful and can be misleading. There is no definition or standard used for judging whether a consumer product or its ingredients are “non-toxic,” and no assurance that such a claim has been independently verified. A product that does not meet the definition of “toxic” according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission should not necessarily be considered non-toxic.”

Many if not most substances have not been tested sufficiently to know whether they cause cancer or adverse effects on development, reproduction, or the nervous system in humans and CPSC does not require manufacturers to conduct testing.

Your house may be clean, but what does clean really mean and what does it cost?

What Does Clean Really Mean? - Toxic Cleaning Products

By Danielle Lemire and Tara Lindsay 

The cost of doing laundry or unclogging the drain is far greater than the price we pay at the supermarket. Most of us have learned that the best cleaners must have strong scents and warning labels on them to conquer dirt. Common cleaning products injure lungs, skin and our reproductive and endocrine systems. Children are particularly vulnerable because they absorb more chemical residues through their immature lungs and intestines than fully developed adults. 

 These toxins go down millions of people's drains, where they contaminate water systems. Spreading sewage sludge on farmlands gets the toxins into ground water systems as well, affecting natural soil ecology, and ending up in our food.

[See "When the Sludge Hits the Fields" Watershed Sentinel Dec. 00/Jan. 01].