Read the Labels!

You can learn a lot by looking at the labels of your favorite cleaning products. Product labels contain signal words, such as CAUTION, WARNING or DANGER. Typically, products labeled POISON or DANGER are the most hazardous. Those labeled CAUTION or WARNING pose a medium hazard, usually in the form of skin or eye irritants. Look for labels that have no signal words, or at the very least, are only labeled CAUTION.


So how do you know what is truly “green”? Read labels carefully! If you see “non-toxic” on one side, and “harmful vapors” on the other side, then the product may be making false claims. Use caution with words such as “organic” or “natural”, as those words can describe ingredients that are still harmful. Also look for ingredients that you recognize or can pronounce, which may be less harmful.

Fortunately, there are less toxic products – greener products that can protect your family and the environment. Many grocery, drug or specialty stores carry nontoxic alternatives or you can experiment with making your own.

Ready to Reduce Toxins?

Hazardous Products: A guide to hazardous household products, how to properly dispose of them and effective alternatives.(Courtesy of Portland Metro)

Clean Green: Simple cleaning recipes for a safer home, from Air Fresheners to Wood Furniture Polish . (Courtesy of Portland Metro)

Yard & Garden: Keep your yard and garden safe for people, pollinators and the planet.

  • Grow Smart, Grow Safe: A consumer guide to lawn and garden products.  See how your lawn/garden/pest products rates in terms of toxicity. (Courtesy of Thurston County, WA)
  • Deschutes County OSU Extension: Great information on sustainable gardening and using less toxic alternatives in your yard.

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