Study: Green household products have hidden toxic hazards

From the University of Melbourne:


Hidden hazards found in green products

Dr. Anne Steinemann, Professor of Civil Engineering, and the Chair of Sustainable Cities, from the Department of Infrastructure Engineering, Melbourne School of Engineering, is a world expert on environmental pollutants, air quality, and health effects.

Professor Steinemann investigated and compared volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emitted from 37 different products, such as air fresheners, cleaning products, laundry supplies, and personal care products, including those with certifications and claims of ‘green’ and ‘organic’. Both fragranced and fragrance-free products were tested.

The study, published in the journal Air Quality, Atmosphere & Health found 156 different VOCs emitted from the 37 products, with an average of 15 VOCs per product. Of these 156 VOCs, 42 are classified as toxic or hazardous under US federal laws, and each product emitted at least one of these chemicals.

Findings revealed that emissions of carcinogenic hazardous air pollutants from ‘green’ fragranced products were not significantly different from regular fragranced products.

In total, over 550 volatile ingredients were emitted from these products, but fewer than three percent were disclosed on any product label or material safety data sheet (MSDS).

“The paradox is that most of our exposure to air pollutants occurs indoors and a primary source is consumer products. But the public lacks full and accurate information on the ingredients in these products. Our indoor air environments are essentially unregulated and unmonitored,” Professor Steinemann said.

The most common chemicals in fragranced products were terpenes, which were not in fragrance-free versions. Terpenes readily react with ozone in the air to generate a range of additional pollutants, such as formaldehyde and ultrafine particles.

At this time, consumer products sold in Australia, the US and around the world are not required to list all ingredients, or any ingredients in a chemical mixture called ‘fragrance’.

“Given the lack of information, consumers may choose products with claims such as green, natural, or organic, but those claims are largely untested,” Professor Steinemann said.

Professor Steinemann will continue to investigate how and why we’re exposed to pollutants and ways to reduce risks and improve health.


Additional Information:

  • Products selected are commonly used in Australia, the US, and other countries in a range of environments (e.g., homes, schools, hospitals, workplaces, hotels, restaurants, stores, residential buildings, parks, child care and aged care facilities, gyms, homeless shelters, government buildings, airports, planes and public transport).
  • Gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS) headspace analysis was used to identify VOCs emitted from 37 products, representing air fresheners and deodorizers (sprays, gels, solids, oils, and disks), laundry products (detergents, dryer sheets, and fabric softeners), cleaning supplies (all-purpose cleaners, window and surface cleaners, disinfectants, and dishwashing liquids), and personal care products (soaps, hand sanitisers, sunscreens, lotions, baby lotions, deodorants, shampoos, and baby shampoo).
  • Ingredients in consumer products and in fragrance formulations, are exempt from full disclosure to the public.
  • For laundry products, cleaning supplies, and air fresheners, labels do not need to list all ingredients, or the presence of a fragrance in the product.
  • For personal care products and cosmetics, labels need to list ingredients, except the general term “fragrance” or “parfum” may be used instead of listing the individual ingredients in the fragrance.
  • For all products, material safety data sheets do not need to list all ingredients.
  • Fragrance ingredients are exempt from full disclosure in any product, not only in Australia and the US but also internationally.
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March 5, 2015 10:10 am

Alarmist Social Studies Report. So, why share and help propagate or seed an alarmist mentality?

Reply to  Keith
March 5, 2015 10:18 am

If “green” really isn’t green, I would like to know. All consumers should be interested because green products usually cost more. Do you really think the following statement is unimportant and should be ignored?
“Findings revealed that emissions of carcinogenic hazardous air pollutants from ‘green’ fragranced products were not significantly different from regular fragranced products.”

Reply to  Louis
March 5, 2015 10:35 am

The thing is, when products advertise “green” we assume we are safe and spray more liberally. With all the gajillions of silly laws and regulation, why not just one requiring an ingredient list on anything that is sprayed? Hundreds of products would be busted for implying they are “green”.

Leo Smith
Reply to  Louis
March 5, 2015 10:38 am

In my previous house I counted 12 deadly plants growing in the garden. ‘Naturally’

Reply to  Louis
March 5, 2015 10:46 am

Sounds like The Little House of Horrors…   ☺ 

Reply to  Louis
March 5, 2015 10:58 am

Leo, I bet you had more than 12 in your old yard.
Damn nature, you scary!

george e. smith
Reply to  Louis
March 5, 2015 3:45 pm

Well RWTurner’s toxic plants lists apple seeds as a type 1 poison requiring calling poison control.
That’s news to me, since when I eat an apple, the only thing that is left is the stem, if it had one, and maybe the shine is still fading away.
So I eat apple seeds almost daily. If you eat the whole apple, then apples are so much a pound and nobody cares how big or how small they are, and small is usually much cheaper.
Well I see Almonds are listed. Cyanide is supposed to taste like bitter Almonds.
Actually the bitter taste of almonds IS cyanide.
If you eat the whole apple , especially “organic” apples you often get the benefit of a protein bonus from some proteizoa that found its way inside the apple.
yummy !!

Reply to  Louis
March 5, 2015 9:12 pm

Once after my wife canned several boxes of peaches, I used a hammer to smash open the peach pits, and began eating the kernels until I started seeing stars and swirly patterns. I quit that in hurry!

Reply to  Louis
March 6, 2015 12:37 am

When I see ‘Green’, ‘Eco’, ‘Lite’, ‘Organic’, ‘Fair-trade’ or any of a host of those sort of catch-words on a consumer product, I generally listen to my bullshit detector, leave them on the shelf for enlightened, progressive consumers to waste their money on and and buy something else based on the product’s actual merit.

Reply to  Louis
March 6, 2015 8:55 am

Apple seeds and peach pits both contain cyanogenic glycosides – they release cyanide in the stomach. Apple seeds do not contain much cyanide, especially compared to peach pits.

Reply to  Keith
March 5, 2015 10:22 am

I believe in skepticism, but more importantly I believe in informed skepticism, not burying your head in the sand. Good decision making should have information from a variety of perspectives.

Reply to  Keith
March 5, 2015 10:38 am

Uhh, studying the VOCs that become airborne from the cleaning products you may have under your sink is alarmist? This is the exact type of environmental research that has merit and needs to be made public, because unlike CO2, toxins in household products ARE a risk factor.

Janice Moore
Reply to  RWturner
March 5, 2015 11:08 am

Which nicely proves just how highly unlikely the conjecture about CO2 being “dangerous” is! 🙂

Reply to  RWturner
March 5, 2015 3:51 pm

Yeah, except this post tells us NOTHING about the amounts involved. I suspect the concentrations resulting from the use of such products are trivial, well below IDLH levels.

Janice Moore
Reply to  RWturner
March 5, 2015 4:01 pm

Mr. Kafkazar,
O Engineer Extraordinaire, I highly respect your opinions and, in case that comment about amounts was directed to me…. I’m hoping that by my pointing you to my comment here:
you will see that, even though I am not an engineer, I DO understand.

Reply to  RWturner
March 5, 2015 7:52 pm

Janice, it’s hard to follow, but the way replies align with previous comments is (ordinarily) a clue to which one was being replied to. My reply was in response to RWTurner, above and 1 tab to left, which said, “toxins in household products ARE a risk factor.”

Reply to  RWturner
March 6, 2015 12:57 pm

Well HCN has a nice almond smell also.

Reply to  RWturner
March 6, 2015 1:19 pm

Well, the thing about the “amounts involved” is, it’s never just one compound that’s an issue. So, let’s say I spray and encounter 1/10,000 of the hazardous level of compound A. Then there is compound B in my dish soap, C in my shampoo, D in my scented candle, to say nothing of the (yes, trace amounts) of thousands of other compounds in the tap water (like other people’s medications), and the thousands of trace amounts in the air when I’m stuck in traffic (twice daily, weekends excepted), and “sick building syndrome” at work, to say nothing of contactants, natural and otherwise, all over the place and preservatives and pesticides in my food, “adjuvants” in my medicines . . . .
The people who sneer, “It’s only a trace amount!” (singular, always in the singular) seem to forget that there are an awful lot of trace amounts around. How much can one liver do?

Reply to  Keith
March 5, 2015 12:07 pm

Because people get very sick, miss work and it costs us all.

Reply to  Keith
March 5, 2015 6:15 pm

The poison is in the dose. Enough cyanide can kill you. Your body manufactures it. Why aren’t you dead?
Cyanide is produced in the human body and exhaled in extremely low concentrations with each breath. It is also produced by over 1,000 plant species including sorghum, bamboo and cassava. Relatively low concentrations of cyanide can be highly toxic to people and wildlife.
So avoid places where humans are breathing?

Reply to  M Simon
March 6, 2015 3:24 pm

Missed the point, that being: just because it smells good, doesn’t mean that its tolerable or safe. Plants also usually emit terpenes and other similar compounds for insecticidal protection, so that should also be a warning about inhalation.

D.J. Hawkins
Reply to  Keith
March 6, 2015 2:23 pm

Also, I’m guessing you would have to crack the seed coating in order to expose the cyanogenic compounds. Otherwise they pass through your gut unchanged.

Bloke down the pub
March 5, 2015 10:13 am

More unintended consequencies from Green policies.

March 5, 2015 10:18 am

Thanks for the information. If there is reason to be concerned about the environment we live in, one thing seems to be clear from the study. Fragrance free is the way to go.

Reply to  Tim
March 5, 2015 1:35 pm

But you still must read the fine print… Due to allergies in the family we always seek out fragrance free if possible. One one occasion a bottle of “hypoallergenic” scent free cleaner listed as an ingredient “fragrance”… I kid you not! Another “fragrance free” proclaimed “fresh scent”… Sigh.

Reply to  E.M.Smith
March 5, 2015 3:23 pm

If you need a house cleaning product, skip the “green” ones and get the glutten-free, paleo version instead. One hundred percent evolutionary. Can’t beat that.

Janice Moore
March 5, 2015 10:19 am

Regardless of whether a “green” product is fragranced or not, if it says “green,” I do not buy it.
“Green” (like “organic” and “pesticide free”) is a sc@m using pseudo-science to trick ignorant, gullible, and or easily frightened people into buying what is almost invariably a MUCH less effective product.

Reply to  Janice Moore
March 5, 2015 10:44 am

Personally, I enjoy the spicy tang of malathion on my apples…

Janice Moore
Reply to  dbstealey
March 5, 2015 10:49 am

D. B. #(:)) !! I TOLD you to stop taking food from that weird looking old man who lives in the shack at the end of the lane!
Next thing, you’ll be telling me you dumped a cup of salt onto your hamburger again.

Mike McMillan
Reply to  dbstealey
March 5, 2015 11:49 am

I don’t know if malathion has a spicy taste, but it sure smells bad. We had a spray plane at Tan Son Nhut that used malathion, and it had its own revetment a long ways downwind of the rest of the squadron.

Reply to  dbstealey
March 5, 2015 12:00 pm

I’m sure you know I was just funnin’ at the expense of the ‘buy organic’ crowd. You’re right, malathion smells terrible. But it oxidizes in just a few days, and it’s pretty harmless to mammals. Completely harmless after a week.
Hey, I was probably through Tan Son Nhut a few times when you were: ’68 – ’69? It shows why gun control is just another scare: literally thousands of guys sitting around with guns, lots of ammo, M-79’s, machine guns, grenades, etc. But I don’t ever recall anyone being violent there.

Tom in Florida
Reply to  Janice Moore
March 5, 2015 10:47 am

Much like the “gluten free” stuff. Unless you have celiac disease you shouldn’t waste the money. However, the best one I ever saw was on a package of Twizzlers. It said “Fat Free”.

Janice Moore
Reply to  Tom in Florida
March 5, 2015 11:00 am

lol, (not lol about the gluten — good point) — If it says (and is) “low carb” I’m interested — even if it’s LOADED with fat (even SATURATED fat, bwah, ha, ha, ha, haaaa!). Been eating happily and not gaining weight since 2003 with my “watch the carbs and who cares about fat” eating. And NO, I did not weigh 250 pounds as of 2003, lololol.
(sorry (not really) for my silliness — this thread seems to allow for some… I hope….)

Tom in Florida
Reply to  Tom in Florida
March 5, 2015 1:08 pm

About 10 years ago I lost 38 pounds in 90 days on a very low fat, high carb, medium protein diet. Most of my carbs came from pasta that I ate every night, as much as I wanted. A while later I ran into a friend of mine whom I had not seen for some time. He had lost almost the same amount of weight in about the same time period only he was on a no carb, high fat, high protein diet. We were amazed at how we both accomplished the same results with different diets. The common denominator: we both did a lot of running to lose the weight! Calories in, calories out.

Reply to  Tom in Florida
March 5, 2015 1:42 pm

I’ve seen beef labeled “gluten free.”

Janice Moore
Reply to  Tom in Florida
March 5, 2015 1:54 pm

Hi, Tom!
I haven’t significantly increased my jogging time. THAT’s why I had to do (and after 12 years… I’m stickin’ with the program!) that. 1. I HATE jogging (I make myself go, but know I won’t keep up a big increase in distance over time) — so had to do something about the intake. 2. I LOVE TO EAT! (and I’m … hm there’s common lack-of-self-restraint-theme going here….. even in my WRITING… aaaaaa) Can’t do portion control. Just ONE brownie? Just ONE piece of pizza?? ARE YOU KIDDING? So, here I am with low-carb pasta, low-carb tortillas for bread, a yummy chocolate cream cheese frozen dessert and on and on and IT WORKS FOR ME.
Congratulations on losing all that weight. I got nervous after gaining about 15 pounds and stopped it right then (I’ve heard it just doesn’t come off after 40… not going to experiment!).
Oh, man this is a sickening comment! Feel free to snarl, Christopher “feminism makes men want to kill themselves” Dollis. I would understand.
But, I’m posting it anyway (because the above paper merits such a response, heh)!
@ Duster… lol.

Reply to  Tom in Florida
March 5, 2015 3:27 pm

Maybe it’s not gluten that’s the cause of Celiac (and other health issues) after all. Something I didn’t know until recently is that Glyphosate (Roundup) is applied to sugar cane and wheat for even ripening and dessication just prior to harvest for a small increase in profit margin. Now this is one of many areas where the FDA/NIH should be protecting our health. But no, this would upset the agri and Monsanto lobby’s. What’s should be criminal is that these government entities are in the pockets of the corporations much like the politicians.

Crispin in Waterloo
Reply to  Tom in Florida
March 5, 2015 8:18 pm

In South Africa sunflower oil is marked ‘cholesterol-free’. No seed oil contains cholesterol! But I think it helps sales.

Reply to  Tom in Florida
March 5, 2015 11:35 pm

Gluten affects people other than celiac sufferers. It can cause migraine headaches, achy joints, food allergies from leaky gut, fatigue, just to name a few.
Janice, that’s great! High fat, moderate or low protein and low carb seems to work for quite a few people. Jimmy Moore on youtube has many videos/shows discussing it. I don’t do well with lots of carbs, have suffered from hypoglycemia since I was a child (eating lots of cereals, breads, etc), and am finally eating more fats/less carbs and even less protein (not less than the carbs) now that I know for fact I feel better with more fat. It keeps my energy stable and I’m not painfully hungry every couple hours! I was so sick and tired of needing to eat that often, it’s not good or logical.

Reply to  Tom in Florida
March 5, 2015 11:39 pm

Janice, regarding the jogging, you should really find the episode of Smarter Science of Slim/SANE on youtube from Jonathan Bailor where he discusses the importance of high quality exercise. His analogy would essentially be that jogging is like pushing a couch with one finger a thousand times, trying to move it. It’s not going to move unless you give it a big shove (high quality exercise). Great info and free! Jogging is also very hard on the joints. Diet also has more impact on weight and body composition than exercise, it’s about 80% compared to 20% exercise, according to Mark Sisson.

Reply to  Janice Moore
March 5, 2015 3:09 pm

‘if it says “green,” I do not buy it.’
Zactly. It’s marketing for chumps.

Reply to  Janice Moore
March 5, 2015 3:25 pm

You are correct in assuming that many green products are a scam. There are many who take advantage of growing markets. However, there are a few quality green products available. You must be vigilant in researching your purchases because the government won’t be.

Patrick B
Reply to  Janice Moore
March 5, 2015 3:40 pm

If I see a product that advertises itself as green, I read that as saying “Here is an inferior product more concerned with being green than actually doing the job it should.”

george e. smith
Reply to  Janice Moore
March 5, 2015 4:01 pm

Well I don’t buy “organic” produce either. I tell the overpriced vendor, that organic foods contain carbon, which the US Supremes said is poisonous.
My local green supermarket, sells organic milk and other organics at often more than double the carbon free varieties (if they carry them) .
But then over in that other corner (right over there) you can buy almost any chemical, organic, or inorganic that you like, from A to Z (except arsenic), and so poison your own green food to taste.
They must have 57 varieties of Omega 3 or omega 6 fish oil pills, all made from the baitfish part of the ocean food chain. Which explains why game fish; even red snapper, is $25 per pound.
Well I had my daily dosage of cod liver oil when I was growing up so I know what fish oils taste like.
I like fish; specially shell fish, and specially New Zealand Green Shelled Mussels.
They are worth buying again, specially since I wrote to Prime Minister John Keys, to tell him that someone was exporting GS Mussels with fur growing all over them, which was putting off California gourmets, like me.
He sicced the guy in charge on to me, so I could tell him what was wrong, and he got it fixed, which surprised the hell out of my local Fish Market Restaurant. I even gave them the letter I got enquiring about the problem. (so did the restaurant chain head quarters.)

Reply to  george e. smith
March 5, 2015 6:27 pm

Omega 3s are used in the body for endocannabinoid production. A lack of them impairs emotional behavior:

Reality Observer
Reply to  Janice Moore
March 5, 2015 7:53 pm

All too many of the “non-green” products are still supposedly more “eco-friendly” these days.
Example – I fill my own bottles of window washing spray. About 90% of the “cleaning” product, and then top the bottle off with (consumer grade) ammonia. Then it actually gets the windows clean.
(Note – if you do this, be careful that the original product isn’t “disinfecting” also. All too many of those have bleach in them. Ammonia and bleach are NOT safe things to combine in an enclosed space.)

Janice Moore
March 5, 2015 10:29 am

… classified as toxic or hazardous under US federal laws, and each product emitted at least one of these chemicals.”
And nowhere does the “study” prove that these chemicals were ever emitted at anywhere NEAR proven-by-experiment/observation dangerous
(i.e., at all likely to cause cancer from exposure)
She should try going for a walk on a trail through a swamp (a.k.a. “wetlands”) on a warm day… . Ooooo, chemicals!
The only people who need be concerned about fragrances are those who are genuinely allergic to them.

Reply to  Janice Moore
March 5, 2015 11:53 am

Thank you Janice Moore.
Without a dosage level this is meaningless.
Sea Air and Sunlight are carcinogenic too.

Gunga Din
Reply to  MCourtney
March 5, 2015 3:41 pm

If I move to Florida to escape the Man-made-CO2-induced-Global Warming-cold then the sea air and the Sun will get me!
How did Man survive before Man made ourselves unsurvivable?

Reply to  Janice Moore
March 5, 2015 12:04 pm

The POINT of this is that you cannot choose what is in your environment if they won’t tell you. All these ingredients should be disclosed.
People DO have problems that are caused by these chemicals but cannot make the connection because they don’t have the data.
You can allow or forbid these chemicals as you choose – but only if you know.

Reply to  justbill001
March 6, 2015 4:24 am

some 8000 chemicals and variants used under GRAS, when some, the most toxic were asked to be replaced with safer ones?
the makers bitched it would cost to do so.
a cent or less per unit probably
but profit wins over customers health.
most have never BEEN tested in the combinations they get mixed and sold in either. just individually
and synergist effects often have unexpected results.
in Aus Ajax is banned for use by any govt /school etc cleaning due to being a risk to lungs from the fine powder silica
yet the kids/ teachers/parents etc can happily douse the home they live in and thats just dandy?
bicarb, vinegar and unscented sugar soap are pretty effective and cheap:-)

James Bull
Reply to  Janice Moore
March 5, 2015 11:09 pm

In the days when we lived in old drafty houses the level of these chemicals was not so much of a problem and even more toxic cleaning products were used but the rate of change of the internal air was such that they soon dispersed. The modern building reg’s in the UK require new build houses to be almost hermetically sealed ( a few years ago they started to require a bit more ventilation) meaning the occupants have longer exposure times to all the chemical compounds therein, also they found that the CO2 levels could reach dangerous levels if no doors or windows were opened for a day or two.
Maybe that is why the green blob want us back living in caves?
James Bull

Reply to  James Bull
March 5, 2015 11:35 pm

It is a good idea to air out your home, here in the US at least. I don’t think air tight is the best idea.
“Radon is a radioactive gas that has been found in homes all over the United States. It comes from the natural breakdown of uranium in soil, rock and water and gets into the air you breathe. Radon typically moves up through the ground to the air above and into your home through cracks and other holes in the foundation.”
There are Radon tests for home use.

Reply to  James Bull
March 6, 2015 9:03 am

Personally I like a house that is slightly drafty. I am not a fan of a house where you have to open a window to shut the front door!

Jaakko Kateenkorva
March 5, 2015 10:39 am

Judging from the number of victims, the most dangerous chemical on our planet is dihydrogenmonoxide.
More seriously, but just a tad, UN source for this stuff (IARC) declares ethanol carcinogenic. But mind you, only when served in beverages.
Since it’s impossible to survive life, let’s enjoy it while it lasts.

March 5, 2015 10:39 am

This is what she found:
“The most common chemicals in fragranced products were terpenes”
Hello. Terpenes are natural products. Just take a walk in the forest. Smell some oranges. It is even demonstrated that terpenes regulate the temperature of the forest. As reported by The Guardian terpenes are a new tool to fight global warming:

Reply to  rd50
March 5, 2015 10:43 am

… terpenes are a new tool to fight global warming
Who in their right mind would want to?

Reply to  dbstealey
March 5, 2015 10:56 am

I have no idea! But it is published. Terpenes are natural cloud seeders.

Reply to  dbstealey
March 6, 2015 9:08 am

Terpenes are the VOCs that make the “smoke” in the Great Smoky Mountains.

Reply to  rd50
March 5, 2015 12:50 pm

Reminds me of a study done above China, where the amount of secondary oxidized organics, mainly terpenes, was an order of magnitude higher in the atmosphere above the inversion layer than of human emitted SOx.
Several other places are called the “blue mountains” (near Sydney, South Appalachian), because of the haze caused by oxidized terpenes.
Here a study about terpenes from Finland:
Again much more terpenes than of human aerosols, be it that in winter it is reverse…
Another point: some years ago, non-water based paints were sold as “natural”, because they were thinned with real turpentine (all terpenes…) or with citrus oils. I am not sure if that was any better for health than white spirit…

Reply to  rd50
March 5, 2015 6:39 pm

An unlikely place for a discussion of terpenes:
One paragraph:
Alpha-pinene (essential pine oil), the most common terpene in the plant world and one often found in cannabis, is a bronchodilator potentially helpful for asthmatics. Pinene also promotes alertness and memory retention by inhibiting the metabolic breakdown of acetylcholinesterase, a neurotransmitter in the brain that stimulates these cognitive effects.

March 5, 2015 10:39 am

You’ be surprised at the people who seem to think that if a poison is organic/natural, it’s safe.

Reply to  mwhite
March 5, 2015 10:55 am

And if it is dangerous, it is not natural. Like who’d normally call asbestos or crude oil natural?
‘This vase must be expensive? -It’s priceless.’

Reply to  Hugh
March 5, 2015 11:45 am

I’ll give you $75 for the vase, Hugh. Deal? ;o)
Good point about natural crude oil. I’m guessing that whales were quite relieved when we switched to petroleum products.

Reply to  mwhite
March 5, 2015 2:00 pm

Nope. I’ve known a few folks who reasoned that if it came out of the meadow, it must be safe. One recovered from [severe] liver damage. He was surprised to learn that monomethylhydrazine (literally a key ingredient in rocket fuel) is a naturally occurring toxin in some fungi. He tried saving money on mushrooms.

Crispin in Waterloo
Reply to  Duster
March 6, 2015 1:10 am

In South Africa there are about fifty ‘listed’ toxic plants that farmers have to uproot. They all kill cattle, weak and unnatural species that they are.
Nature is filled with natural pesticides and fertilisers. Kill you in a minute, many of them, like naturally occurring black mambas and boomslangs. Don’t forget naturally occurring polar bears.

March 5, 2015 10:43 am

“The most common chemicals in fragranced products were terpenes, which were not in fragrance-free versions. Terpenes readily react with ozone in the air to generate a range of additional pollutants, such as formaldehyde and ultrafine particles.”
If terpenes are an issue, we had better get busy exterminating all the flowers in the world in addition to most (probably all) plant life in general.

Reply to  ZombieSymmetry
March 5, 2015 3:03 pm

Just what I was going to say, take a stroll through a pine forest – terpenes, like roses – terpenes. Like the rosemary, oregano and sage in your pasta sauce – terpenes. Like the lavender in the vase in the bathroom – terpenes. Clearing your nose with eucalyptus ( drops/inhalant) – terpenes. Grating some lemon/orange rind into your cake , lemon chicken or other citrus recipe – terpenes.
Most natural scents are combinations of terpene, – hydrocabon oils, It’s about time some of these dumb claims were called out as the alarmism they are, just another academic casting about in the popular press for funding.
While we do need to keep alert for causes for the epidemic in cancer, I hardly think naturally occuring terpenes we’ve been exposed to since adam was a boy are a likely candidate. Much more likely to be unnatural chemicals, pesticides, disinfectants, lack of vit D, sunscreen poisoning, refined sugar (pure sucrose), vege oil/margarine, where we deliberately expose ourselves to very high levels of chemicals we have not been chronically exposed to for millennia (as a species).
Eg sucrose, sure as a species we have been exposed – it’s a common carbohydrate, but not to the pure form, and not to foods containing almost 100% sucrose in any great quantity.

Tom in Florida
March 5, 2015 10:44 am

One word on cleaning products: vinegar!

Michael J. Bentley
March 5, 2015 10:45 am

Yup, I get you – to reach toxic levels “you’d have to drink a bathtub full”. However, the study does bring out, as stated above that the words “green” and O(o?) rganic are just marketing ploys in these cases. Of course the word organic which equals healthy in the public’s mind has been that for years.
I wonder if it will get any popular press?

Janice Moore
Reply to  Michael J. Bentley
March 5, 2015 10:52 am

I think it just did… 🙂
Thanks for letting me know you “got me.” Very refreshing for me (on WUWT I am OFTEN misunderstood…. my sloppy writing SOME-times… ).

Reply to  Michael J. Bentley
March 5, 2015 4:00 pm

“Organic” spelt inside out is “rig a con.”

March 5, 2015 10:49 am

Skip fragrances and dyes. The utility isn’t worth the toxicity.

Janice Moore
Reply to  Rod
March 5, 2015 12:09 pm

Since the toxicity has not been proven to be significantly above zero — I’m going to use them. Aaah. Lovely.

Reply to  Rod
March 5, 2015 3:11 pm

Toxicity has not been established.

Rud Istvan
March 5, 2015 10:49 am

I call scientific BS. The study is paywalled, but not the SI. Went looking for known harmful VOCs. Chose formaldehyde for this comment. There was some measured in some products. On the order of a highest measured 120 micrograms formaldehyde per cubic meter air in a kitchen cleaner/degreaser in SI table 1. Horrors—NOT!
To put this poison danger in perspective, the current EPA formaldehyde exposure limit is 2ppm for 15 minutes or 0.5 ppm for 8 hours. Just looked it up. The EPA also says 385 micrograms per cubic meter air is 0.14 ppm. So what was measured in the cleaner is about 0.04ppm. That is 50 times less than the 15 minutes exposure threshold which is supposed to be experimentally determined, with a safety margin added.
For all the VOCs this prof is complaining about, the measured exposures are far below workplace thresholds and pose NO known risk of harm. Especially with only occasional transitory household use, unlike a workplace with regular or chronic exposure. Pure sensationalism. A redo of a previous study that did not include ‘green’ products. More ‘worse than dubious’ science by press release.

Janice Moore
Reply to  Rud Istvan
March 5, 2015 10:54 am

NICE post, Rud Istvan!
— is that info. in one of your many e books, such as…. Blowing Smoke? 🙂
Best wishes (once again) for great sales,

Reply to  Rud Istvan
March 5, 2015 11:04 am

Speaking of more BS, our supreme leader wants to dictate our diet (like everything else). Will try to tax anything meat. Save the planet.
“The Obama administration is considering a set of dietary recommendations that says Americans need to change the way the eat in order to help protect the environment.
The recommendations were put forward by an advisory group comprised of academics from around the country, but their advice has prompted Republicans to complain that the group has lost its focus and is far exceeding its mandate.”

Janice Moore
Reply to  highflight56433
March 5, 2015 12:12 pm

So. The soy lobby is at it again, eh? Want us all to eat soy burgers (gag) and drink soy milk and IT IS ALL ABOUT MONEY. Enviroprofiteers are everywhere! Aaaaaaa.

Reply to  highflight56433
March 5, 2015 12:58 pm

Soy milk? What a horror: that contains a lot of all natural plant estrogen mimickers, enough to have the equivalent of the “pill” for a baby who is fed with soy milk instead of mother (or cow) milk…

Janice Moore
Reply to  highflight56433
March 5, 2015 2:14 pm

FERDINAND! Hi. Nice to talk to you when we are not disagreeing about the FACT that CO2 emissions lag temperature increase by a quarter cycle.
lolololol (don’t worry! I’m not going to start talking about it)
Take care,

Reply to  highflight56433
March 5, 2015 2:17 pm

My wife can’t drink dairy. So, every morning, for morning coffee, I make a “hippyccino”™, with steamed soy milk. At first we weren’t too impressed. But now we’re used to the taste. After you add sugar and flavoring, it’s not that much different than low fat / skim milk.

Janice Moore
Reply to  highflight56433
March 5, 2015 2:24 pm

Hi, Cam,
Your wife is blessed that you make her anything to drink in the am — way to go. While I prefer cow milk, it is high-carb, so I drink almond milk (Safeway’s Lucerne brand because they make it thick and “creamy”) sweetened with Splenda (or a generic version). Good on cereal and I’ve gotten so used to it I enjoy it plain, now.
“Hippyccino” — cute. Ya know, most hippies I’ve met aren’t into telling the rest of us what to do (they can be awfully gullible, though, poor souls). It’s those rotters, the Envirostalinists and the Enviroprofiteers. Wouldn’t want to drive a “hippy van,” though. (VW van)

Michael Wassil
Reply to  highflight56433
March 5, 2015 7:13 pm

Janice Moore March 5, 2015 at 2:24 pm
Try whipping cream (32% and low carb). Or, if you find that too rich, try heavy cream (18% and still relatively low carb). Apparently, in Europe you can buy 40% cream.

Reply to  highflight56433
March 6, 2015 7:54 am

Thanks for the kind words, Janice.
Ironically, the word “hippiccino” was coined by a friend’s wife. He is a VW mechanic who specializes in VW’s Wesfalia camper vans

Mac the Knife
Reply to  Rud Istvan
March 5, 2015 11:23 am

Aldehydes are a naturally occurring intermediate breakdown product of naturally occurring ethanol in the human digestive tract. Our digestive tracts make ethanol as a result of fermentation in the gut. Some of us add a bit more (ahem) from time to time, as well!
Complete Reaction: C2H6O(Ethanol)→C2H4O(Acetaldehyde)→C2H4O2(acetic Acid) →Acetyl-CoA→3H2O+2CO2.
Too much of a good thing can be lethal – aye. But, in the right dosage and properly administered, it can make for a very merry evening….

Reply to  Mac the Knife
March 5, 2015 6:50 pm

Well you have to be careful. A study about the loss of IQ points caused by cannabis use (8 points) when controlled for alcohol use found cannabis caused zero IQ loss. So it is likely the alcohol was causing the IQ loss the first study found.

Reply to  Rud Istvan
March 5, 2015 11:34 am

Thanks for digging in. I wondered at the levels detected but didn’t feel the need to dig it up.
This is a form of “pushing the tool.” The main concept is using a technique, hardware, or software beyond what it is designed to do and thinking your results are valid.
The second is when policy is made on results of increasingly sensitive instruments. When you did wet chemistry, limits were in fractions of percent. Hence, you marked, say, toxicity, at such a percentage. The AA and the like came along and because you could detect in the ppm range, standards followed,.
Now, detection is in the ppb (or better) and all of a sudden what was acceptable throughout the modern era is dangerous and needs to be regulated, banned, or discouraged.
You can see hysteria over 40ppb or 5ppb or whatever, with most people and government bureaucrats oblivious to the fact these are tiny trace amounts. (Yes, I know: some government types and their paid-for toadies know this and use it for their advantage.) The grossest is, of course, 400ppm CO2 destroying the planet. That number, 400, looks so scary, and its up from, what, 280? (And that’s a good thing.) But the key is that tell-all “ppm.”
Good work RI.

Lance Wallace
Reply to  Rud Istvan
March 5, 2015 12:03 pm

The study explicitly states that no claims about health risks are being made. From the Abstract:
“Because health effects depend on many factors, not only individual ingredients, this study makes no claims regarding possible risks. However, knowledge of product composition can be an important step to understand, assess, and reduce potential exposures and effects.”
The approach was headspace analysis, which as you know can identify chemicals in the product and also their tendency to reach a Henry’s Law equilibrium, but considerably more information would be required to estimate actual exposures. Such information on exposures (as well as body burden from measuring exhaled breath) to 32 VOCs was collected 30 years ago in EPA’s TEAM studies of 800 persons in 8 US cities and towns, representing about 800,000 residents. The TEAM studies showed that exposures to virtually all the target VOCs were mostly (75% on average) due to indoor sources such as consumer products and building materials rather than outdoor sources such as chemical and petrochemical plants, oil refineries and storage tanks, etc. which had been the main suspects before the TEAM Studies. You can download 20 or 30 articles on the TEAM Studies from my Researchgate location. Subsequent studies in the Netherlands and Germany confirmed that most exposure to VOCs is from indoor sources.
Upper-bound carcinogenic risk can also be calculated from the exposures if the substance has a risk estimate in IRIS. Three VOCs were identified as highest risk: benzene (mostly from active smoking, at 50 micrograms per cigarette, but for persons living with smokers, benzene exposures were about 50% higher than for nonsmoking households); chloroform (essentially all exposure stems from use of chlorinated water, particularly showers); and para-dichlorobenzene (a terpene used in moth crystals or moth cakes but also in air “fresheners”). p-DCB was finally barred from use in air fresheners in California in 2013.
Formaldehyde has relatively recently been named a human carcinogen by IARC (I think). The main source is particle board or pressed wood products–cabinets, stairs, etc., not the products measured in Steinemann et al. But it is more widespread than the other 3 and depending on the potency (unit risk estimate from IRIS) it might be ultimately a higher risk.
On the other hand, these are all upper-bound risks, the true risk may be much lower, and the total mortality risk from all VOCs together is probably less than a tenth that of the risk from particles, which is estimated globally (WHO) to be on the order of a million and a half deaths per year, mostly women and children cooking using biomass.

Reply to  Lance Wallace
March 5, 2015 10:50 pm

Formaldehyde from the glues used in modern construction deactivates the jelly-forming properties of gelatin which is why your jellies don’t gel if the package of gelatin was stored in your cupboard for any length of time. But don’t let me stop you adding extra formaldehyde to the air you breathe from sources other than chipboard/plywood/carpets/bedding etc. And if you really can’t get enough formaldehyde from those sources, you can always drink methanol (methylated spirits). Methanol’s toxicity is caused by it being metabolised by your body into formaldehyde.

Reply to  Rud Istvan
March 5, 2015 3:39 pm

Ahhhh but you forgat about that nasty Chinese manufactured laminated flooring….

Reply to  Rud Istvan
March 6, 2015 4:29 am

i bought a spray oven cleaner, in seconds i couldnt breathe well
and the kitchen doors and windows were wide open on a breezy day.
I have to wear a mask and gloves and hold my breath
spray n run like hell and wait a while before returning
it does clean the oven
I seriously doubt this product ever had any safety tests applied to it
wont be buying more.

Reply to  Rud Istvan
March 6, 2015 6:35 am

Yes I agree with you, this is playing alarmist.
I think the point however is that you can play alarmist with anything including green products.
There is nothing special, safe or better than green products other than the green, organic or whatever label. A product is either better for you based on it’s intended use or it is not. This obvious common sense approach to evaluating products has never been the intent of marketing, and that is what “green” is, a marketing strategy.

March 5, 2015 10:52 am

Those findings should not really come as a surprise. It is a case of slightly more or less harmful. What is a surprise is that it took this long to get more exposure, plenty of minor studies, this will carry more weight.
Janice’s comment is correct re the carcinogenic issue.
Just because something is classed as such and may well be at a certain level, most chemical products can be classified within this, in most cases exposure in daily life is well below that.
Too much water kills too.
Now the WHO wants to limit sugar intake and gummints to take action , good idea in my opinion, but why do we even need that sort of regulation.
Sugar is a chemical that can kill in high concentrations. Ascorbic Acid is a chemical also, in the food industry it is known as vitamin C.

Bohdan Burban
March 5, 2015 11:07 am

Taking sophistry to the next level is ‘carbon-free sugar’ – Google it and weep

March 5, 2015 11:13 am

I have never found a green product that cleans as well as the traditional cleaners so I don’t bother. Part of the problem with indoor air quality is tighter buildings. When homes leaked, they got some fresh air into them, now some homes are so tight they have moisture problems and poor air quality not only from products like these, but fumes from items like carpet padding, furniture padding, chemicals to make fabrics less flammable, etc.
That wouldn’t have anything to do with a rise in asthma, no, it’s climate change.

March 5, 2015 11:27 am

“The most common chemicals in fragranced products were terpenes, which were not in fragrance-free versions. Terpenes readily react with ozone in the air to generate a range of additional pollutants, such as formaldehyde and ultrafine particles.”
Terpenes are produced in huge amounts by plants, particularly conifers. Resin is very largely terpenes and it is terpenes that causes the distinctive (and pleasant) smell of coniferous forests. Furthermore the compounds that give hops (and beer) its distinctive taste are also terpenes.
Prohibit trees and beer!
By the way, strawberries contain 11 different terpenes (as well i. a. 38 acids, 39 alcohols, 17 aldehydes, 14 ketones and 23 aromatics).
Prohibit all eating, drinking and breathing!

Paul Westhaver
Reply to  tty
March 5, 2015 12:03 pm

I am with ya bro.

March 5, 2015 11:29 am

I used to think organic food was safer. Manure as fertilizer is natural and organic after all.

Don’t worry, it’s organic
According to public perception, organic food is the more heathy option. But is this always the case? Maria Burke looks at organic farming and explodes a few popular myths.
[Royal Society of Chemistry]

Global cooling
Reply to  Jimbo
March 5, 2015 12:40 pm

Organic water is the deadliest thing that people put into their mouths. Millions of people die because of the lack safe water.

Reply to  Global cooling
March 5, 2015 6:57 pm

If you poison the water with chlorine or ozone (iodine in a pinch) it becomes safer to drink.

Reply to  Jimbo
March 5, 2015 10:55 pm

Jimbo, quoting from that study

Raw manure applied to soil can contaminate crops with pathogens such as Escherichia coli ( E. coli), shigella and salmonella, according to Mike Doyle, a microbiologist and director of the Center for Food Safety at the University of Georgia.

Raw animal manure is a forbidden input under the organic farming regulations I helped develop these many years ago. So I stopped reading right there.

Reply to  The Pompous Git
March 7, 2015 11:39 am

The Pompous Git, which country did you help develop organic farming regulations? When did the regulations come into force? The article was written on the 1st June 2004 and talks about the UK and the US. I’m just curious.
[See bottom of page for date of article]

Reply to  The Pompous Git
March 7, 2015 11:44 am

The Pompous Git, if only you didn’t stop reading. 😉

Caroline Smith DeWaal, Food Safety Director for the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a Washington DC-based consumer health group, agrees that organic growers’ use of composted manure reduces pathogen risk dramatically. She says: ‘Organic producers certified by the USDA [US Department of Agriculture] must use composted manure, although there are no similar requirements for other growers. The use of uncomposted manure on non-organic farms is not regulated in the US and it can clearly pose a significant risk.’

Reply to  Jimbo
March 5, 2015 11:23 pm

It is not known how long the deadly pathogens can live in manure.

The Food and Drug Administration considers manure a food safety risk. Disease-causing microbes, such as salmonella or toxic forms of E. coli, are commonly found in animal waste.
Patricia Millner, a microbiologist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s research center in Beltsville, Md., says scientists are now trying to figure out exactly how long such bacteria survive in the soil. “In some cases, salmonella will survive for a few weeks; in other cases, it’ll be reported that it survives for 300-plus days,” she says.
When they survive, microbes do get on food. Carrots or radishes, of course, grow right in the soil. But bacteria also end up on salad greens. Raindrops, for instance, splash soil and microbes onto the plants.

So aged manure does not have as clear a distinction from raw manure as we all have been led to think. Manure is fantastic for cattle ranchers to put on their fields -,but that is a risk of buying shorter row crops from organic growers.
Besides the fact that organic growers use extremely negative ad campaign attacks constantly against conventional growers.

Reply to  Zeke
March 6, 2015 1:38 am

The composting process is optimal at ~60°C at which temperature most, if not all, pathogenic microbes are killed. Salmonella can only survive at 60°C for 10 minutes!
The chemical industry is responsible for a concerted negative campaign attack against microbes, most of which are actually beneficial. A cow without its essential rumen bacteria is a dead cow. More and more research is showing that many of our current human health problems appear due to deleterious microbe balance in our digestive systems. Example: sugar substitutes have recently been shown to engender glucose intolerance due to changes in the gut flora and fauna of those consuming them. It is certainly the case that encouraging soil macro and micro biota in the soil provides substantial benefits to the grower of crops.
The Git has never engaged in any attack on conventional growers, rather the reverse. He has encouraged, and been encouraged by, conventional growers integrating organic techniques into their production systems. The Greens hate The Git even more than they hate conventional growers 🙂

Reply to  Zeke
March 6, 2015 7:30 am

Also worth bearing in mind that while raw animal manure is verboten for use on certified organic crops, it is allowed on conventional crops.

Reply to  Jimbo
March 7, 2015 12:02 pm

Obviously, conventional farmers use composted manure because if it is not properly aged, then it will burn the young plants….
Conventional farmers also do not need any mid-season applications of manure, which is closer to harvest time.

Mike Maguire
March 5, 2015 11:32 am

Green products=toxic/volatile chemicals.
This goes with the other evidence to confirm that we are living in the Twilight Zone of environmentalism/climate science
Beneficial gas=pollution
Slight warming=catastrophic
Greening planet/increasing food production=negative consequence of man made climate change
Less violent tornadoes, hurricanes, drought= extreme weather
Corn grown for ethanol(high polluting and user of natural resources, (especially water)=good for the environment/world
Actually, it’s really just evidence that those that can gain control/obtain money/support for their ideology or scheme, can twist facts and spin a story to convince people that good=bad and that bad=good.

March 5, 2015 11:57 am

Well, yes it’s true that plants have toxic/carcinogenic substances. Take the ordinary potato ( do not eat the green or “sunburnt” surface, you could get a tummyache).
Or your stones fruits: cherries, peaches, plums, also pears, apples, almonds, all members of the rose family and all containing cyanogenic glycosides, read _cyanide_.
All of your seasonings, spices, etc. have toxic aspects to them.
So, no surprises from this post.

Reply to  mpainter
March 5, 2015 10:57 pm

You’ll get more than a tummy-ache from eating any portion of a greened potato. The toxin causes hemorrhaging of the smaller blood vessels.

Reply to  The Pompous Git
March 6, 2015 12:30 am

Pompous Git, you say “any portion”.
Do you actually mean that the whole of a “sunburnt”, green potato is toxic?

Reply to  The Pompous Git
March 6, 2015 1:41 am

@ mpainter
Indeed. The toxin is generated in the green portion, but is subsequently distributed throughout the tuber. Of course you can get away with consuming small amounts of the toxin, but if you are consuming a pharmaceutical such as warfarin, you might want to think twice.

Reply to  The Pompous Git
March 6, 2015 2:35 am

Or aspirin, or ulcers. Small amounts of toxin are not so small for some people. Thanks for replying. Been thinking about the evaporation pans.

Reply to  The Pompous Git
March 6, 2015 9:12 am

You’re welcome. There’s much been made of “dose makes the poison” in this thread and ignoring the fact that living organisms are rather complex and ill-understood. Endocrine disruptors only exhibit their effects at particular doses; too much, or too little and there will be no effect. And then there’s timing; foetuses can be affected by an endocrine disruptor that has no noticeable effect on an adult.
There was an interesting episode in farming with the use of seaweed (bull kelp) extract as a foliar amendment. The effects were only evident when the application rate was very low. Worse, sometimes the expected effect occurred and at other times not. It turned out that the effects were due to different plant hormones: abscissic acid and auxins. Abscissic acid, the hormone responsible for deciduous trees dropping their leaves in autumn confers disease resistance. Auxins are growth stimulants.
It turned out that spring harvested kelp was high in auxins and low in abscissic acid and the reverse was true for autumn harvested kelp. These differences did not show up in simple testing for relative amounts of the kelp’s constituent atomic species (N, P, K etc).
Regarding the pan evaporation paradox, the problem seems to me to be that we have too many conflicting explanations. But then complex systems are rarely amenable to overly simplistic explanation.

Paul Westhaver
March 5, 2015 12:01 pm

Beer contains (VOCs) Volatile Organic Compounds. Ethanol.
Have I said enough? Really? Beer… a food group.
Natural Fragrances…. from nature…. contain volatile organic compounds. Hmm
Like lavender essential oil…
Lavender Fields
etc etc etc… since when did VOCs turn evil?

Mac the Knife
Reply to  Paul Westhaver
March 5, 2015 12:08 pm

RE: ….since when did VOCs turn evil?
Just about the same time CO2 became pollution……

Bruce Cobb
March 5, 2015 12:13 pm

The biggest toxic hazard of “green”; it can be hazardous to your wealth.

March 5, 2015 12:14 pm

None of this matters. All that matters is that I feel a lot better when I buy the nice green labels.

George Tetley
Reply to  rh
March 6, 2015 12:46 am

Just ask a Frenchman about green labels, after hundreds ate vegetables sprayed with human waste, there were some deaths

Ralph Kramden
March 5, 2015 12:22 pm

When you consider parts per billion you can find VOC’s and carcinogens in almost everything.

March 5, 2015 12:38 pm

So strange to me. I have actual physical reaction to several types of conventional cleaners and soaps, havent had such issues with most of the “green” stuff to date. There must be some other variable involved this didn’t cover.

Reply to  Randy
March 6, 2015 4:15 am


Reply to  tty
March 6, 2015 4:39 am

nope. I would have scoffed at claims of allergy too..though Id always got rash on hands from laundry detergents if I didnt wash the soapy water off very well and fast.
then out of the blue I started developing rashes all over, where clothes were tight hips shoulders etc
2 years of trying countless detergent alternatives and a new cake of soap every shopping trip and no use.
doc thought it a pharma reaction cut all meds still got the rash
eventually I found one brand of soap n detergent n cleaners I could use, green and far cheaper than commercial crap.
7 yrs on I ran out, started normal products and four showers later using “normal” soap..yup the rash came back.
so its NOT all placebo, cumulative toxin buildup IS known.

Reply to  Randy
March 6, 2015 2:42 pm

lol not a placebo tty. This was ongoing since childhood.

March 5, 2015 12:53 pm

Buy “green” products – guaranteed astatine free!

george e. smith
Reply to  Mark and two Cats
March 5, 2015 4:17 pm

Also Francium free I think.

March 5, 2015 12:58 pm

The most common chemicals in fragranced products were terpenes, which were not in fragrance-free versions.
Wow, to me that is incredibly interesting. I must have a very strong negative response to terpenes because I absolutely HATE scented products — green or not. And I not talking about just not liking the smell; I physically feel like I am being asphyxiated.
And now with people exuding layers of different scents, from soaps to shampoos to laundry detergents to perfumes and colognes, when I get around others in enclosed areas I sometimes experience panic attacks.
Terpenes. Thank you, I learned something. (I don’t know what I’ll do with the information, but at least now I’ll know why I’m dying.)

Reply to  Max Photon
March 5, 2015 1:25 pm

Max, interesting comment. Sounds like you are at the far end of the spectrum, but I definitely can relate, at least to some extent.
I don’t think I’ve ever gotten close to feeling asphyxiated or having a panic attack, but I definitely hate most scented products, including perfumes, colognes, scented was soap, air “fresheners”, and so on. Can’t stand them. Probably the worst that has happened to me from them is headaches. Fortunately, in the last several years a number of manufacturers have started offering unscented versions of their products. Used to be much harder to find.
My poor wife has to deal with me (and I’ve had to learn to be more compromising as well — or to just keep my mouth shut). More than once in the past I’ve come home and said, “What is that awful smell?” Turns out she has been cleaning the house like any normal person would do and used some kind of scented soap, spray, freshener, or other cleaner. Smells “fresh” and “clean” to her. It is bothersome to me. So now I just try to keep my mouth shut and go into another room until the air clears a bit.

Janice Moore
Reply to  Max Photon
March 5, 2015 2:00 pm

Sorry about that, Max.
I’ll take the stairs from now on. 😉
I’ll be able to eat more! Yea!

Reply to  Janice Moore
March 5, 2015 4:06 pm

Janice Moore

Sorry about that, Max.
I’ll take the stairs from now on. 😉

Two at a time! In steel-toed boots. 8<)

Janice Moore
Reply to  Janice Moore
March 5, 2015 4:12 pm

Hi, R.A., lol, no, ‘fraid not. That’s for heroes who are far stronger than I am. I just talk “strong.”

Reply to  Max Photon
March 5, 2015 11:00 pm

I am completely with you in this, Max, though in my case HATE is not quite strong enough.

E Martin
March 5, 2015 1:00 pm

Judging by what some of the so-called “fragrances” in various products does to my poor sinuses, I’m willing to believe the worst.

george e. smith
Reply to  E Martin
March 5, 2015 4:18 pm

Like Chanel #5

March 5, 2015 1:11 pm

have they asked the bugs what they think of the report i don,t think it will worry them as all these chemicals don,t seem to harm them in anyway

Gunga Din
March 5, 2015 1:29 pm

This reminds me of back in the ’90s when I spent time on AOL’s “Pet Care Forums” under the subtopic “Animal Rights/Animal Welfare”.
Somehow Dr. Bonner’s Peppermint Soap (If any of you remembers it.) came up as being wonderful because it wasn’t tested on animals. We had an old copy of a book called “Clinical Toxicology” in our lab. The information that, while his soap may not have been tested on animals, the peppermint oil in it was was not well received.
They also didn’t want to hear the their PC’s CRT monitors were also tested on animals. (for radiation)

Reply to  Gunga Din
March 5, 2015 2:06 pm

Oh yes I remembers it. I also remembers David Bronner, of the Dr Bronner magic soap company, planted hemp at the DEA and chained himself to the White House fence in a cage fulla hemp plants.

Gunga Din
Reply to  Mark and two Cats
March 5, 2015 2:32 pm

Glad you enjoyeds my typo. 😎

Reply to  Mark and two Cats
March 5, 2015 7:10 pm

Hemp terpenes are notorious (see way above). Funny enough Congress is trying to to legalize hemp.
Hemp oil is rich in Omega 3 and Omega 6. Omega 3 is very good for endocannabinoid production in the human body.

Janice Moore
Reply to  Gunga Din
March 5, 2015 2:10 pm

My two dogs, reading along here, would LOVE to have them test hot dogs and couch cushions on animals. “Where do we sign up!”

Janice Moore
Reply to  Janice Moore
March 5, 2015 2:11 pm

Hi, Mark — would your two cats like to be tuna testers?

Reply to  Janice Moore
March 5, 2015 2:32 pm

Where do they sign up?!?!?
> Hi, Mark — would your two cats like to be tuna testers?
[The mods refuse to get involved in any fishy business offers sent over the internet, even if between apparently consenting adults. .mod]

Gunga Din
Reply to  Gunga Din
March 7, 2015 7:20 am

The information that, while his soap may not have been tested on animals, the peppermint oil in it was was not well received.

BTW, the LD50 for peppermint oil was 4.4 gm/kilogram by ingestion. It was lower for other ways of exposure.
(“LD50” is the dose that was lethal to 50% of the test animals.)

March 5, 2015 1:30 pm

I don’t understand the logic of this post. The green products are the same as the non-green products. People buy green because it make them feel good and they are no more toxic than normal products. Big deal.
alpha amanitin is completely green, completely natural…and after you get over the initial cramps, you live two more days. Then, umm, …..

Reply to  trafamadore
March 5, 2015 2:06 pm

… you go into a coma and die.

Reply to  trafamadore
March 5, 2015 6:08 pm

Thus the name “poison pie” mushroom and ” avenging angel” mushroom and there is no alternative..liver destroyed, kidneys gone, coma and death, like you say. Global warming means more people will die from mushrooms, right?
Write it up and send it to the NY Times or maybe Nature whydoncha.

Robert of Ottawa
Reply to  trafamadore
March 5, 2015 3:56 pm

I’ve asked several different people whether they would prefer to buy natural vitamin E or artificial vitamin E; they all responded “natural”.
I then get the pleasure of pointing out to them that both variants are the same chemical.

March 5, 2015 2:03 pm

I formerly used a product called Simple Green. Then I looked up its characteristics because it made me feel a little breathless. I stopped using it and all other “green” products. Money-making business can’t afford NOT to use the cheapest ingredients they can get. “Green” is a marketing gimmick, just like “Organic”.
For those who want to castigate, we’re all made of chemicals. It’s new man-made chemicals that constitute most of the problem including the ones that incorporate organic and inorganic poisons.

george e. smith
Reply to  Hazel
March 5, 2015 4:21 pm

They call it green because that is the color of the artificial dye that the US mint uses.

March 5, 2015 2:21 pm

I am inclined to think that everything is really a guess. Did something whack into the earth to knock of the moon from where the Pacific ocean now is ? Why is the moon round and the comets wonky shaped ? Where is the Whacker ?
Why are there all these massive carved rocks lying around ? I mean what is the point ?
Will the Anunnaki return ? if so when ? as I would like to be there.

Reply to  zemlik
March 5, 2015 2:44 pm

that other guy was saying that the planet Venus was actually a comet and came to us at the biblical exodus time, even stopped the Earth spinning, then became part of the stable crew of planets. These catastrophic, massive events trigger a part of the brain which wants to go ” Woww! For fucks sake ! I have to stop that from happening !”

Reply to  zemlik
March 5, 2015 3:10 pm

Ain’t no need for the F-word, unless you’ve used up your vocabulary.

Reply to  zemlik
March 5, 2015 7:15 pm

u.k.(us) March 5, 2015 at 3:10 pm
He could be a sailor. But that is unlikely given the insufficient number of f’cks, sh’ts, etc.

Reply to  zemlik
March 5, 2015 3:01 pm

Get used to disappointment.

Old season
Reply to  u.k.(us)
March 6, 2015 1:59 am

If he was a sailor he wouldn’t use those words in public.

Old season
Reply to  u.k.(us)
March 6, 2015 2:01 am

Oldseadog, not old season.
Stupid predictive text on this daft iPad.

Reply to  u.k.(us)
March 6, 2015 2:04 am

Oldseadog I said. @#¥&*$!!!

March 5, 2015 2:39 pm

Benign, inexpensive and effective chemicals were largely developed by the Greatest Generation. The chemical inputs they developed allow us to grow 5 times as much food on the same land.
The replacements mandated by the environmentalists are genuinely toxic, expensive, and ineffective. The tainting of all of our products and innovations through top-down behind-the-scenes environmentalist NGOs etc. is indeed toxic.
But to later blame this on the free market and on Americans is also “poisonous, virulent, noxious, deadly, dangerous, harmful, injurious, pernicious.” Ask the Administration, they know what toxic loans are. Toxicity is not just a physical trait of certain chemicals. It includes mandates which destabilize trust, integrity, and stability of an open society.

Reply to  Zeke
March 5, 2015 11:38 pm

The chemical inputs they developed allow us to grow 5 times as much food on the same land.

The Git’s organic potato yield this season is ~120 tonnes/Ha. The average yield in Tasmania is 35 tonnes/Ha. Please tell us why you believe that 35 is 5 times greater than 120. Incidentally, the world record for a single potato plant was 168 kg considerably more than the 4.5 kg per plant The Git achieves.
Charles Wilber earned a place in the Guinness Book of World Records by harvesting 1,368 pounds of tomatoes from only four plants while using only organic fertilisers. So where is the mythical farmer harvesting five times that amount using artificial fertiliser? And why are they not in the Guinness Book of World Records?
Apropos expense. When Uncle Toby’s Organic Vita Brits were introduced they replaced the prior product at exactly the same price. Uncle Tobys were purchased by another company who decided to drop the organic and saw their sales fall. Consequently, they now manufacture two lines, one organic, one not. Uncle Toby’s Organic Vita Brits sell for the fantastically high premium of less than 5% more than the conventional.
If you see organic produce selling for a 100% premium, then that’s a sure sign that demand is maintaining that price. Nobody is forcing anyone to pay insane price premiums in a free market. If you don’t want to pay that much, then you are free to do what The Git does and grow your own.
As for agrichemicals being benign, The Git undertook training in how to deal with spills of them during fires. Far from being benign their labels are required to state their relative toxicity. Many are toxic enough they are not available for over-the-counter sales to the general public. You have to have undertaken training in their use before you can purchase them.

Reply to  The Pompous Git
March 5, 2015 11:51 pm

The application of a good herbicide is one or two liters per acre. A broad spectrum product will deal with 5 types of weeds and increase yield by as much as 70%.
I think it is clear I am talking about farms in general and not one potato farm in NZ – as wonderful as both NZ and potatoes are. We can talk about that all day. Back of the envelope, manure delivery and spreading for one commercial farm will mean locating, shipping and applying about 80 tons of aged manure, right? It could get competitive. It is a good thing some of the growers in your area use N, P, and K from nice neat little tanks.
Are you going to share which fungicide you sprayed, and how many times you applied it during the season?

Reply to  The Pompous Git
March 6, 2015 1:54 am

And a Tasmanian potato grower increased his yields 100% by growing a green manure crop of mustard before the potato crop. You are of course correct that there is a great expense involved in spreading bulky manures. But that’s beside the point if you are talking yields per hectare. Economics dictates that the important yield for the farmer is dollars in the bank after the crop is sold.
Be careful what you read about herbicide trials. Often what is being compared are the results of using the herbicide versus doing nothing to control weeds. If you really believe that any commercially viable farmer would “do nothing” about weeds, you are truly beyond redemption 😉
The only fungicides The Git has needed are copper and agricultural lime (occasionally lime sulphur and earlier sodium silicate) on his apples, and Epsom salts on his broad beans. Back in 1983/4 he had late blight in the spuds and used copper. One thing that arose in the organic conference in Adelaide ca. 1990 was the very much lower fungal problems experienced by organic farmers.

Gentle Tramp
March 5, 2015 3:16 pm

So “Green” Products are not very green at all. Well, thats no surprise, since “Greenpeace” is not a bit peaceful too, but an intolerant, hate-spiting gang of eco-taliban…
And – at the same time – the one really green product of mankind, the plant-friendly and water-saving “GAS OF LIFE” CO2, rightly liberated from its prison in fossil sources, is demonized by such eco-taliban and the stupid MSM as greatest enemy of nature and humans !!!
Alas! This give the old song lyrics “When will they ever learn?” a very up-to-date meaning…

Janice Moore
Reply to  Gentle Tramp
March 5, 2015 3:48 pm

You, GO, Gentle! #(:))
Answer: re: “they” — Never. Every half-century (maybe it’s linked to the PDO), they just re-invent the “game” and Tell-a-L1e-for-a-Buck is reborn. Like the Phoenix. They usually go down in a fiery pile of junk “science” (or whatever). More like a bunch of mosquitoes, actually.
Or…… Godzilla!! lololol Like the Envirostalinists/Enviroprofiteers, he is very easy to spot…. for those who are not blinded by fear.

Janice Moore
Reply to  Janice Moore
March 5, 2015 3:50 pm

… or like Achilles…:
Windmills are DOOMED. The bigger they are the harder they fall.

Robert of Ottawa
Reply to  Gentle Tramp
March 5, 2015 3:52 pm

… hate-spitting …

Robert of Ottawa
March 5, 2015 3:49 pm

I avoid anything Green, eco or enviro, whether in its name or by its propaganda, even the color green.
And when asked, I make a point of stating I do not subscribe to that religion.

Reply to  Robert of Ottawa
March 5, 2015 4:16 pm

Hey don’t give up the colour green – it is a beautiful colour!
We need to take back the words and concepts the left have stolen and perverted.

Janice Moore
Reply to  Mark and two Cats
March 5, 2015 4:43 pm

Yes, indeed, green is lovely.
The Emerald Isle, Eire, where St. Patrick’s Day will soon be celebrated as it is nowhere else on earth, has a far stronger colour of title to “green” than the Envirostalinists…

Reply to  Mark and two Cats
March 5, 2015 11:39 pm


Janice Moore
Reply to  Robert of Ottawa
March 5, 2015 4:45 pm

Robert, I, too, have found that to be an especially succinct, effective, way to communicate a big truth quickly — handy in checkout lines at grocery stores.
It IS a religion (for those for whom is it not a sc@m). They really do feel holy driving their “holy cars” and buying “holy food” etc… .

Reply to  Janice Moore
March 6, 2015 3:59 am

Is that Lahinch ?

March 5, 2015 4:46 pm

I laugh/cry (inside) any time a pro organic friend opens their mouth and tells me how they believe anything organic is healthier. How much healthier? Dunno.. Any evidence at all? No of course not. I tell them it goes against a billion years of evolution to think nature is on our side. Unless you are part of a plan’ts reproductive cycle (fruit), plants naturally evolve to make themselves less edible to you – i.e more toxic. Even fruit is a double edged sword since the plant must defend against parasites and non toxic towards the animal life that helps spread its seeds. The toxic chemical soup in what we consider plant based food should terrify the average liberal hippy tree hugging populist nutrition-ite. Lucky for them they are generally clueless about anything logical or scientific so they happily ingest something that has been steadfastly evolving to kill anything that wants to eat it. Only GMO can truly create healthy food, but of course the health nuts think that is bad.

Janice Moore
Reply to  JohnnyCrash
March 5, 2015 4:55 pm

Yes, indeed, Johnny Crash (lol –great name). Usually, when you point out that an “organic” fruit/vegie is biochemically the same as that for which cow dung (or the like and etc methods) was not used as the fertilizer, i.e., “chemicals” were
then, they switch to “well, I just don’t want the pesticides.”
Then, one points out the dosage of poisons, etc… . THEN, they go GMO hysterical! — Just TRY to tell them that only the METHOD of gene splicing (not the effect) has changed, etc… and the facts you mentioned and more. They WANT to beleeeeeeeeeve. Very weird.
Why don’t they just want to eat great food for a fair price?

Reply to  Janice Moore
March 5, 2015 5:26 pm

Only the method changed? I hadn’t realized fish could breed with tomatoes before this, they just did it differently. This doesn’t make them bad, but it definitely isn’t the same. The law agrees btw, we have a whole new type of plant patent because the methods are novel.
As to the rest what you guys are saying, I am baffled. We have proven issues from pesticides and herbicides. Wanting to avoid them certainly makes sense. It is a side topic, but if you look into brix levels youll also find some types of growing also increase nutritional levels, but that isn’t your standard organic label food, which besides hopefully having less pesticides and herbicides on them are generally about the same nutritionally. Buying local though? conventional or organic offers the potential for better nutrition because you can buy things picked at their peak, rather then many not all fruits that we pick at less then peak times and ship them often use chemicals to prolong their shelf life.
There are also many foods that never had anything toxic at levels it could affect humans and the few we eat that did in the past had them bred out of them long ago or were neutralized with how they were processed. There are things in some grains that block your body using other types of nutrition but sprouting an ancient human custom bypasses this, and it isn’t actually in line with what you said anyway.
Somehow you two don’t realize you are doing exactly what you criticize in others, you clearly do not comprehend the topics or variables involved but hasn’t stopped you from making wide generalizations, publicly no less.
For the record I breed plants, know many professional breeders, and am well versed in these related issues.
I have no idea why anyone could think only GMs can be healthy, but they certainly represent an amazing tool. I understood what you said, it just wasn’t real at all. Anyone saying that doesn’t know much of foods history or the myriad of wild edibles that are totally safe, or maybe is trying to sell something.

Atomic Hairdryer
Reply to  Janice Moore
March 5, 2015 5:56 pm

Play food judo against your opponents. Invite some greens for a meal, cook up something involving eggplant, brazil nuts and nutmeg. Explain the meal they just ate is toxic, radioactive and contains nicotine. Nature is wonderful like that.

Reply to  Janice Moore
March 5, 2015 5:58 pm

lol bananas are radioactive as well, and more common for most.

Reply to  Janice Moore
March 5, 2015 6:17 pm

And then we cook the food which destroys some nutritional value, right? But that also makes it edible or safer to eat. I don’t know what cooking does for real, i’m just guessing here. And we drink wine with the food which is a poison on the one hand but also healthy on the other hand. It could be healthy because it reduces stress or it could be some of the chemicals produced by fermentation or it could be the resveretol or it could be that nutritional studies are about as accurate as climate ones and we really don’t have a clue.

Janice Moore
Reply to  Janice Moore
March 5, 2015 6:25 pm

From what you say, knowing much about gene splicing is obviously not required for you to “breed plants.”

Reply to  Janice Moore
March 5, 2015 6:33 pm

@randy radiation kind of acts like many chemical “nutrients”. Up to a certain level they are ever more beneficial. Over a certain level the benefit drops until it becomes toxic. I don’t really know of any “nutrient” that we can’t overdose on at some level.

Reply to  Janice Moore
March 5, 2015 7:07 pm

lol janice Not only has this been taken to court, and patent law changed to accommodate, but it is simply obvious. Before GM methods you couldn’t get genes from a fish into a tomatoe. This doesn’t make it bad but it is much more then just the method changing, the effects changed as well and this is literally why it is such a powerful tool. If we couldn’t do what was simply not possible before then GM methods would simply be making breeding faster, which is does and can, but it also enables what simply wasn’t possible before. Because yes the EFFECT is much much different. This is what is GOOD about GMs it should be celebrated. Thus far GM methods have only given us a few useful things, but they could truly revolutionize farming given the right vision, and funding.

Reply to  Janice Moore
March 5, 2015 7:29 pm

March 5, 2015 at 7:07 pm
Before GM methods you couldn’t get genes from a fish into a tomatoe.

It actually happens in nature. It is more difficult to do intentionally without GM. But thing is “natural” genetic variations are not well tested. GM variations are.
It should be noted, though, that plant scientists who study the genomes of plants have estimated that about 60 percent of the genes present in plants have very similar copies in animals. This is not surprising, since all organisms use the same genetic toolbox. DNA from any source is made up of the same four basic nucleotide building blocks: adenine (A), cytosine (C), thymine (T) and guanine (G). So DNA that comes from a plant or a microbe has the same four nucleotides as the DNA in animals.

Reply to  Janice Moore
March 5, 2015 7:38 pm

“It actually happens in nature. It is more difficult to do intentionally without GM. But thing is “natural” genetic variations are not well tested. GM variations are. ”
Yet you didnt change a thing I said, no one has done this before GM methods. Also your second point is false. The natural genetic variations have been tested, the GM ones have only been minimally tested. the cycles of life and death weed out the failed natural changes. This takes time. When we brought BT genes into corn we tested this on animals and all seems well. Years later we are finding other life forms are relating to the corn differently in ways we didnt anticipate, potentially eventually nullifying any advantage we once had to using BT to begin with, but that remains to be seen, we are getting indication its possible though.

Reply to  Janice Moore
March 5, 2015 7:55 pm

You guys, this has literally been taken to court and patent laws now acknowledge that GM methods are indeed novel. This is a good thing though, we see nothing to fear yet. The companies themselves were the ones arguing this is novel and new.
Well actually Im not sure using food crops for medicines is wise, should use other plants, and the algae projects make me nervous, if that got loose it could be bad.
The terminator gene projects are where the anti GM stuff started, and that makes since, but those are long gone and outlawed.

Reply to  Janice Moore
March 5, 2015 11:49 pm

If the plants are “biochemically the same” how come aphids prefer plants grown on artificial fertiliser to those grown using compost? The biochemists tell me that it’s because the sap of plants grown on artificial fertiliser contains many free amino acids while the sap in organically grown plants contain a far higher proportion of complete proteins. Are free amino acids really “biochemically the same” as complete proteins, or were you just making that up?

Reply to  JohnnyCrash
March 5, 2015 11:42 pm

Don’t know much about co-evolution do you? Most of our modern crop plants rely on humans for their survival, just as figs rely on a particular wasp. Indian corn (zea mays) cannot self-seed. If you think modern apple varieties are more toxic than their wild ancestors, you are suffering very badly from some delusional ailment.

Reply to  The Pompous Git
March 5, 2015 11:43 pm

Last remark intended for JohnnyCrash

johann wundersamer
Reply to  The Pompous Git
March 7, 2015 10:47 pm

The Pompous Git, you don’t name your colours.
What You want to break loose over Europe via TTIP:
it won’t happen.
Ai’nt no green at all. But europe has THE heritage of supplying its inhabitants with origin nutricients, no need for frozen contaminated chinese strawberries in container carriers.
Whats your firms name? The Pompous Git? Surley no one buys. Hans

March 5, 2015 5:11 pm

I think ‘green’ endorsed products would be more aptly labelled Karma Free.

March 5, 2015 6:12 pm

@Randy Minimizing the use of a pesticide only makes sense, but organic only minimizes certain human so called “inorganic pesticides”. The thousands of other chemical pesticides that come free with the plant are still there. “We have proven issues from pesticides and herbicides” Maybe we do, but we also have a lot of outright lies and misinformation. We also have the elephant in the room. Those fields sure look green and we sure live a lot longer than we used to. Correlation isn’t causation, but if the chemicals are so bad, shouldn’t we not live so much longer than when we ran naked in the forest? You are talking about freshness in food. Who cares if something is a few% more nutritious if you eat it within a certain time period when we eat twice as much as we actually need to survive? No one is alive today because of organic farming. EVERYONE is alive because of modern farming techniques.
“There are also many foods that never had anything toxic at levels it could affect humans”
BINGO. this is why organic is just marketing hype to benefit Whole Foods. Herbicides and pesticides are either not toxic for humans or used at levels that are not toxic for humans. I have heard many scientists say the human added pesticides negative affects are dwarfed by the negative effects of the naturally occurring pesticides in the plants.
“Somehow you two don’t realize you are doing exactly what you criticize in others, you clearly do not comprehend the topics or variables involved but hasn’t stopped you from making wide generalizations, publicly no less.”
Well as far as generalizations go, that one is 100% accurate. I haven’t run into a single person who eats organic food who knows a single fact about chemicals, fertilizer, pesticides, or food. I would welcome actual scientific evidence that eating organic will materially effect the length of my life.
“I have no idea why anyone could think only GMs can be healthy, but they certainly represent an amazing tool. I understood what you said, it just wasn’t real at all. Anyone saying that doesn’t know much of foods history or the myriad of wild edibles that are totally safe, or maybe is trying to sell something.”
Because only GM can eliminate the thousands of naturally occurring pesticides in the plant by removing their genes. Your so called “totally safe” plants are laced with these chemicals.
Its real easy to understand my position. A plant comes with 1000 pesticides built in that defeat almost all insects or fungus. We add a few more chemicals to get the last few. You need to prove that our few chemicals are as significantly harmful as the 1000 already built in before you say getting rid of inorganic chemicals is somehow healthier.

Reply to  JohnnyCrash
March 5, 2015 6:59 pm

” Maybe we do, but we also have a lot of outright lies and misinformation.”
Lots of speculation also but we do have proof that at present levels found on your super market shelves there are measurable effects. Autism is potentially linked to round up for instance.
“Correlation isn’t causation, but if the chemicals are so bad, shouldn’t we not live so much longer than when we ran naked in the forest? ” 1000 variables changed since that time, more then just food.
“You are talking about freshness in food. Who cares if something is a few% more nutritious if you eat it within a certain time period when we eat twice as much as we actually need to survive?”
I mentioned it because some think organic food is more nutritious, published work mostly disagrees, except those working with brix can prove when you take it to that level you can increase nutrition. I dont care what you eat.
“No one is alive today because of organic farming.”
uh yes there are many. entire countries.
“I would welcome actual scientific evidence that eating organic will materially effect the length of my life.”
We have proof of increased risk of various issues from having pesticides and herbicides in our diets as well as a few related things. Some of them this is proven with humans, others only with animal trials. You will find them if you look.
“Because only GM can eliminate the thousands of naturally occurring pesticides in the plant by removing their genes. Your so called “totally safe” plants are laced with these chemicals.”
not at levels that hurt anyone.
“Its real easy to understand my position. A plant comes with 1000 pesticides built in that defeat almost all insects or fungus. We add a few more chemicals to get the last few. You need to prove that our few chemicals are as significantly harmful as the 1000 already built in before you say getting rid of inorganic chemicals is somehow healthier.”
We literally already have proof for some of them. Interestingly those used in shipment are some of the worst because the others dont always make it to the store on the food. How this relates to the soil is also an issue but industrial ag is actually learning this and adjusting. The organic groupies are missing this entirely, the industrial guys are starting to get micro nutrients and how important the web of life is in the soil for plant health and resilience, couple this with some of the GM projects I know of half behind the scenes and the next decade or two should prove super interesting.

Reply to  Randy
March 5, 2015 8:05 pm

Horse grunt, Randy. Without modern pesticides and fungicides there would be famine and starvation. Now tell us please, where are the health benefits in that?

Reply to  Randy
March 5, 2015 8:13 pm

“not at levels that hurt anyone.”
If that applies to organic then that also applies to inorganic. That is the whole point. Organic, green, whatever you want to call it is no different from inorganic. It just relies on different chemicals.
“uh yes there are many. entire countries.”
Right, but if all 7 billion of us had to farm like that…

Reply to  Randy
March 5, 2015 8:31 pm

“If that applies to organic then that also applies to inorganic. That is the whole point. Organic, green, whatever you want to call it is no different from inorganic. It just relies on different chemicals.”
definitely, but several things used in conventional fields are known to cause increased risk for various issues, with others showing the potential. Which is where we started on this line of thought.
“Right, but if all 7 billion of us had to farm like that…”
Tricky topic. As it is currently, yes you are right. Labor is probably the biggest factor though, and in the third world knowledge. In the first world what we call organic ag is mostly the same model the other guys use, just legally defined organic inputs. which if you study that, its silly as heck, some things are blocked that are safer then what is currently legal. In the third world where labor is cheap models that could produce more per area are possible but generally they dont have knowledge and or the resources for adequate inputs so make do with what they have or know. Ultimately inorganic chems in ag will only go away if it is over ideological reasons, but Im just saying its not impossible, would need a major shift though from what we do now.
My own work revolves around treecrops on land considered non arable. Treecrops could change this whole paradigm, you might realize we feed alot of our grains to animals we raise, and treecrops have the potential to make this obsolete even if humans dont want to change their diet. Siberian peashrub for instance, is comparable to soy, much more productive per acre, more reliable, less inputs. It wins hands down. It can also be grown on land conventional crops just dont work. They are like a bland bean, but animals dont care if its bland. I can grow several things humans use as well on land considered non arable, but only a few do well here, several more that could feed animals if the market was made work for me.

Reply to  Randy
March 5, 2015 8:49 pm

“Horse grunt, Randy. Without modern pesticides and fungicides there would be famine and starvation. Now tell us please, where are the health benefits in that?”
If we tried to grow just as we do now without them definitely. Of course most organic models still use them just legally defined organic sources. There are other models though, including massive farms in areas with heavy pests who rely on diversity, which promotes the beneficial wildlife that keeps the pests in check. (most of the time and once established) Would take alot of time and more labor to switch our whole system to that though. More labor because mono crops allow greater division of labor, but other models can get more overall food per area with less inputs but more labor. TO many variables to discuss in depth in comments like this.
Also I wasnt in fact saying we should do away with them, just that there are measurable negatives from some things we use in non organic ag. Read just the work done on round up the last few years, not the embellishments of various activist sources the real published stuff. As well as the studies on various things used in shipping on organic as well actually.

Reply to  Randy
March 5, 2015 9:35 pm

You and the several others posting here with the general idea that 3 months of testing is “scientific,” while billennia of testing in Nature is inferior, need to repeat an informal study I did a couple decades back. Look at a couple hundred adult bodies walking out of Whole Foods or Natural Grocers, and record sex, apparent age, fatness, posture, energy level. Compare to a couple hundred adult bodies walking out of regular supermarkets.
It’s not necessarily “organic” that produces the difference. It’s the cooking methods too, and the rest of the lifestyle. Organic means certain things–and that’s all. I have read that Walmart “organic” comes from China, where many organic fields are irrigated from heavily polluted streams.
The lies about food are probably much more severe than the lies about climate. But it is not hopeless. You can see for yourself that attempting a healthier lifestyle does improve health on balance despite the fraud.

March 5, 2015 6:12 pm

Everyone is missing the point with “Green” products . They’re not about environment or safety , it’s all about displaying Your misanthropy , publicly wearing a a hair shirt to display Your ecopiety if You will . The product HAS to inconvenience the user so costing far too much or simply not working , or actually being harmful to humans .is a design feature , if it does any of these then any actual environmental impacts are given a free pass . Green attitudes to anything i.e. ,
1) palm oil for human food products…..BAD vs palm oil for expensive biodiesel that glugs up your diesel generator when You really need it ….GREEN.
2) Temporarily clearing a forested area to make timber products/homes for humans ….BAD vs chipping it for expensive . poor efficiency , higher pollution fuel in a power station ….GREEN . even better by green standards is clearing forest permanently for wind turbines as the power is even more expensive and the erratic supply can prove fatally inconvenient for humans … EXTRA GREEN
I’ve even been told my semi-free range backyard chook eggs are , wait for it… …..BAD vs some hippie idiot’s “Chemical free/organic ” eggs , never mind his poor chooks have shortened more miserable lives from being permanently infested with mites , worms and sundry other parasites and pathogens . You see the “organically reared ” chickens produce much lower egg yields from the same amount of food which ups the cost to the consumer so this makes animal neglect …GREEN

Grey Lensman
March 5, 2015 7:01 pm

The ultimate oxymoron
“Organic Soy Milk”
And they convert Drax from clean coal to wood pellet making it the largest terpine emitter in the world and it alsoclear cuts North Carolina. Just wow

Reply to  Grey Lensman
March 5, 2015 8:15 pm

If it doesn’t come from a mammal it’s not really “milk.”
But in an era of redefined food allowing “turkey breast” to be made with soybeans, even “organic” soy “milk” doesn’t look too bad.
At least you have clue what it’s made from when you read the label. I didn’t get that benefit with my “turkey.”

Grey Lensman
Reply to  Khwarizmi
March 5, 2015 9:01 pm

If I took my turkey breast home and found that it contained Soy, I would take it back. Done that with chocolate and sausages. False labeling is not “good” however you look at it.

March 5, 2015 7:01 pm

Thanks Dr. Steinemann, for exposing just another aspect of the great “Green” scam. It’s pathetic. I cannot believe how many people I meet have been taken in but such. When asked why, they spout some gobbletygook or just roll their eyes and say something like “well everyone knows”. Lotsa sheep out there.

Tom in Florida
March 5, 2015 7:39 pm

Let’s here and now put an end to soy “milk”. or almond “milk” or any other vegetarian “milk”. It’s juice that’s been thickened. As Lewis Black says (paraphrasing because he is pretty vulgar about it) “It can’t be milk because milk comes from a teet, they only call it soy milk because no one will buy soy juice.”

Grey Lensman
March 5, 2015 7:55 pm

Tom said
they only call it soy milk because no one will buy soy juice.”
Why would anybody want to buy it???????????no matter what it is called.

Eric Gisin
March 5, 2015 7:57 pm

The study is more Green chemophobia. Consider the orange, a common food in homes. Wikipedia:
The compounds inside an orange oil varies with each different oil extraction. Composition variety happens as a result of regional and seasonal changes as well as the method used for extraction. Several hundred compounds have been identified with gas chromatograph-mass spectrometry. Most of the substances in the oil belong to the terpene group with limonene being the dominant one. Long chain aliphatic hydrocarbon alcohols and aldehydes like 1-octanol and octanal are second important group of substances.
Limonene has been observed to cause cancer in male rats, by reacting with α2u-globulin, which is not produced by female rats. There is no evidence for carcinogenicity or genotoxicity in humans. The IARC classifies d-limonene under Class 3: not classifiable as to its carcinogenicity to humans.
Clearly we heed to ban citrus fruits! Unless you make insecticide from them.

Reply to  Eric Gisin
March 5, 2015 8:25 pm

+++Eric Gisin I think you are right. At first read I did not see the hidden war on all fragrance disguised inside of the science of VOCs.
And not just fragrance.

“The paradox is that most of our exposure to air pollutants occurs indoors and a primary source is consumer products. But the public lacks full and accurate information on the ingredients in these products. Our indoor air environments are essentially unregulated and unmonitored,” Professor Steinemann said.

It has always been obvious on its face that exposure to trace chemicals and particulate matter is far greater in the home. And notice the high mortality rate of people who live in their own homes.

Reply to  Eric Gisin
March 5, 2015 11:54 pm

@ Eric Gesin
The Git uses limonene, vinegar and citric acid as a desiccant herbicide. Never thought of using it as an insecticide.

Bill Murphy
March 5, 2015 8:00 pm

“The FDA has just announced that saliva causes stomach cancer. However this is only true when swallowed in small amounts over a long period of time…”
George Carlin (RIP) from his “and now for the news” routine, ca. 1975+-

Reply to  Bill Murphy
March 6, 2015 6:22 am

George also had great takes on the Climate circus and wildlife extinctions.

March 5, 2015 9:02 pm

Formaldehyde is politically incorrect far beyond its actual toxicity. Metabolism of pectin, a significant component of many fruits, produces significant amounts of methanol. Methanol is metabolized to formaldehyde. Formaldehyde is metabolized to formic acid. Chemophobes who are familiar with this like to point out the lack of literature supporting existence of metabolasm of formic acid.
How they get away with it: The literature about metabolism of formic acid generally refers to that as metabolism of formate. In typical human body concentrations, formic and many other common organic acids dissociate into hydrogen ions and ion form of their respective acid molecules – formate, acetate, etc.
Also, I am skeptical of how much formaldehyde results from reaction of turpene vapors with ozone. Furthermore, this ozone would have to be lower tropospheric ozone, which itself is a pollutant with known manmade contributing factors – mainly volatile organics (most of which are petroleum product vapors), and nitrogen oxides, especially nitrogen dioxide (formed primarily from internal combustion engines, secondarily from lightning).

Grey Lensman
March 5, 2015 9:15 pm

Donald said
lower tropospheric ozone, which itself is a pollutant
And who said so? It seems to me to be quite the opposite, its natures way of cleaning up.

March 5, 2015 9:38 pm

Mac the Knife
Aldehydes are a naturally occurring intermediate breakdown product of naturally occurring ethanol in the human digestive tract. Our digestive tracts make ethanol as a result of fermentation in the gut. Some of us add a bit more (ahem) from time to time, as well!

Alcohol is metabolized in a multi-step process into various metabolites which have unique biochemical effects of their own. The first step in this process is the conversion of alcohol to acetaldehyde.
Since acetaldehyde is approximately 30 times more toxic than alcohol, acetaldehyde is a major cause of alcohol-associated side effects. If acetaldehyde is not efficiently converted into acetic acid (the second step in the metabolism of alcohol), severe toxicity can result.
The primary detoxification mechanism for scavenging unmetabolized acetaldehyde is sulfur-containing antioxidants. The two most important are cysteine, a conditionally essential amino acid, and glutathione, a cysteine-containing tripeptide (a three-amino-acid polymer). Cysteine and glutathione are active against acetaldehyde (and formaldehyde) because they contain a reduced (unoxidized) form of sulfur called a sulfhydryl group, which contains a sulfur atom bonded to a hydrogen atom (abreviated SH).

The information on that page that should be part of every high school curriculum.

March 5, 2015 9:38 pm

Well, until “Organic Eggs” came along I was eating Inorganic Eggs for years, who knew….
Do “inorganic eggs” come from “inorganic chickens” ??
Which of course begs the question; which came first the Organic Egg, or the Inorganic Chicken…….

Reply to  KevinK
March 5, 2015 9:57 pm

I once used the term nonorganic tomatoes, and was severely harped upon. But that is the opposite of an organic tomato. So the term organic is so moronic you cannot add a prefix.

Reply to  KevinK
March 6, 2015 12:08 am

If You think the Organic label on eggs is daft , try this one on , Vegetarian eggs . Yup , that’s right , eggs can now be a kind of turnip . What it actually is they put the chickens on a vegetarian diet and somehow in their twisted reality this means the egg is now some sort of vegetable . Not only are they not content with making the chicken’s life miserable by denying them basic care “‘cos it’s like , full of chemicals ‘n stuff ” they deny them an essential part of Their diet . So none of the lizards , random mice , small frogs or insects that chickens pick up while foraging and especially none of the left over meat scraps that mine get amongst the leftover veggies .

Reply to  Byron
March 6, 2015 12:15 am

Hens are definitely not vegetarians. Good on ya.
And if you don’t provide protein, they will just go raid it from someone else.

Reply to  Byron
March 6, 2015 7:57 am

Your “vegetarian eggs” could not be produced under organic certification requirements. Organic certification requires that the hens be given access to free-range where the hens will find insects and such to eat. Also worth noting is that hens kept negligently as you describe would not only be in contravention of those guidelines, but also in contravention of animal cruelty laws. Presumably you will have no difficulty pointing us to examples of prosecutions of organic egg producers for their willful disregard for the laws of the land.

Reply to  Byron
March 6, 2015 10:56 pm

Git ,
put “Buy Vegetarian Eggs” into a search engine and You will get any number of egg producers claiming that Their chickens are feed an exclusively vegetarian diet .
As for the “organics” One would hope the large scale commercial producers would be required to use “evil” chemicals with a witholding period as necessary in the treatment of various parasites and diseases and not get a free pass but the incidents I was referring to were ones I encountered Myself involving alternative lifestylers with backyard chooks who were so very keen on the idea of “organic” that Their hen’s health took second place , two instances were resolved once They got the idea that chickens are not happy and healthy when They’re crawling with lice and have diarrhea caked ’round their vents , the third individual had a rant about “big pharma” and required a visit and a warning from a RSPCA officer before it was rectified .
By the way free range and organic are different certifications with some overlap depending on who does the certifying .

Reply to  Byron
March 7, 2015 9:48 am

@ byron
The Git is perfectly aware of how chickens are raised by commercial producers:
As Vermont market gardener Eliot Coleman said in response to a question about organic certification: “I recommend you make sure you know the first name of the person growing your food.” In The Git’s case that’s usually Jonathan.

Reply to  Byron
March 7, 2015 11:31 am

We just have a few hens, which are probably getting beyond their egg laying years. They catch mice, snakes, worms and bugs. One even eats slugs. Wish they all did! They have produced about 2 eggs every 3 days for us, which is about average. All that to say, I am not an egg farmer, but I can appreciate the tremendous demands on their bodies.
First, the eggshell is calcium carbonate, so they need plenty of calcium. The egg is also known as a perfect food, since it contains almost all of the vitamins except Vit C. Also, every egg has 6 grams of superior protein. That is really incredible. Eggs really are a superfood. And with the high quality of the egg in mind, we can empathize with why hens are so hungry all of the time! So a good chicken feed provides their requirement and the trace minerals a chicken needs. I think that it is wonderful that people have learned about the nutritional needs of animals. They are basically the same as ours, and they suffer very greatly from disease and miscarriage if these vitamins, proteins, carbohydrates, fats and minerals are missing. They also need protection from worms, virus, mites, lice, and other diseases. But we have overcome these problems and have a wonderful, stable, clean supply of eggs for everyone in the country.
The best way to eat is with thankfulness. Without that, people just get caught up into bazaar trends and government directives, and are so neurotic they are afraid of good food.

Reply to  Byron
March 7, 2015 3:49 pm

Correction: And with the high quality of the egg in mind, we can empathize with why hens are so hungry all of the time! So a good chicken feed provides for the intense requirements and the important minerals involved in egg laying. Thanks.
Also, if you don’t pick up that egg as soon as it is lain, it will have chicken $%#@ on it. Cages are a sanitary way of keeping the egg and the fecal matter entirely separate.

Gunga Din
Reply to  KevinK
March 7, 2015 7:12 am

I remember inorganic eggs when I was a kid. They often contained Silly Putty.

March 6, 2015 3:58 am

This study article is more good reason to eschew commercially prepared products of all sorts. Make your own cleaning products from your store of common chemicals that you understand. For instance, one of my favorites is hydrogen peroxide including that from sodium percarbonate
2Na2CO3.3H2O2 → 2Na2CO3 + 3H2O2 That 2Na2CO3 is washing soda sodium carbonate, itself an effective cleaning product.

March 6, 2015 6:27 am

Green is the new “moral majority”. It’s just a chance to say I am morally superior.
It is a way for them to tell you what is right for you to do because they know what s right to do and if you don’t know what is right to do they’ll try to get the government make you you do what they say is right to do.
If there is a hell it would include the moral majority and the greens having to share an apartment.

michael hart
March 6, 2015 6:29 am

A Professor of Civil Engineering doing chemistry. Most peculiar.

March 6, 2015 7:51 am

Organic farming has its origins in the 1940s as a response to declining response to conventional fertilisers and a bewildering variety of new diseases that “required” inputs of expensive new chemical controls. The marketing of organic produce as such was still very much in its infancy when The Git started market gardening in the mid 1980s. Indeed, very little of what The Git grew was marketed as organic since he decided that the cost of organic certification was greater than any pecuniary benefit to be obtained.
It seems odd that if ever so many armchair pundits on this thread are correct, that organic farming was a scam thought up by farmers, that they waited more than 40 years to take advantage of the scam.

March 6, 2015 8:15 am

Gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS) headspace analysis was used to identify VOCs emitted…

My sister is an environmental scientist (now retired) and ran such test equipment. Her comment on sensitivity was that “it could detect a single grain of salt in an Olympic sized pool.” So while I don’t doubt that such VOCs were detected, the question of “in what amounts” is very important. Especially in light of Dr. Steinemann’s even more frightening comment that:

“Our indoor air environments are essentially unregulated and unmonitored”..

I don’t want it regulated and if I feel there is a threat, I’ll take care of the monitoring – thank you very much. No government intervention required, requested, or desired.

Reply to  TomB
March 8, 2015 3:17 am

Try reading Before Silent Spring by James Wharton (Princeton University Press 1974) then come back and instruct us with your wisdom.

Silver ralph
March 6, 2015 8:34 am

The worst of all these Organic products, is Organic Agriculture itself. It is a luxury product to salve the conscience of gibbering liberals like Prince Charles. Yes, we could feed the world on organic produce, but you would need to cull 80% of the world’s population to do so.
I desperately hope that Charles immediatly abdicates, upon the death of his mother, and gives the throne to Harry.

Reply to  Silver ralph
March 7, 2015 1:14 pm

why would you have to kill everyone? You would need a higher portion of the population involved in farming but we could do it organically just fine. Im not saying whether we should or shouldn’ t but we definitely could.

Reply to  Randy
March 7, 2015 10:47 pm

Silver Ralph, like very other gung-ho pro-agrichemical lobbyist in this thread is making stuff up. It is true that some very few crops are more expensive (labour-intensive) to produce, most are not. I gave the example of Uncle Toby’s Vita Brits elsewhere in this thread. Now there are two lines, one organic and one not, the price difference is less than 5% and is surely more to do with marketing than production cost.
The Git’s late friend and mentor, Bert Farquhar was the first Australian to spend more than $10,000,000 to purchase a farm (sheep & cattle-grazing property). He had noticed that the farm had no earthworms and decided with the aid of Mike Temple-Smith from the DPI to introduce earthworms to his farm and doubled its stock carrying capacity. Yet Zeke and his crew still insist that the prior regime of applying artificial fertilisers produces 5 times more than what Bert did. They are fantasists.
Bert’s story:

Reply to  Randy
March 7, 2015 11:22 pm

Thinking further on this, I recall Bert being shocked by his tour of the USA. Cattle and sheep farmers there were using helicopters rather than humans on horseback on far smaller acreages than Bert was managing. The cost of the helicopters was far greater than he was spending on horses and horsemen. He also reported employing far fewer men than was usual in the USA, eight on Wyambi/Rushy Lagoon IIRC.

Tom Crozier
March 6, 2015 8:45 am

All of us in California know everything is dangerous; in fact most is required to be posted as such by Prop 65.

Reply to  Tom Crozier
March 8, 2015 1:15 am

I was looking to hire a secretary years ago. An applicant saw the Prop. 65 sign when it was first being used, and promptly skedaddled.
That signage has had exactly the opposite effect from what was intended. Since just about everything can maybe, possibly cause cancer, those signs are everywhere now. People don’t pay any attention to them any more. They’re just background noise.

Reply to  dbstealey
March 8, 2015 3:03 am

It is not unknown for The Git to tease the Greens with the following logic. While there are few examples of correlation between pesticide use and cancer, there is a known correlation with stress. Thus the supposed relationship between cancer and pesticides is more likely to be due to the Greens scaring people than it is due to the actual material being used.
The Git was a member of the Aerial Spraying Implementation Group engaged by the Tasmanian Government to come up with new recommendations for reducing the impact of aerial spraying on the general public. We engaged the Menzies Centre to do a lit. search and all they could come up with was a slim correlation between the rather rare cancer non-Hodgkins lymphoma and farm workers who applied herbicides on more than four occasions per year.
Interestingly, both the pro and anti sides in the argument used Bruce Ames’ research to bolster their case. Happily, real research in the area of cancer has resumed over recent time with the discovery of several viral causes of particular cancers. Just a pity that this research was blocked by the Guardians at the Gate.

Jake J
March 6, 2015 12:38 pm

The headline: Study: Green household products have hidden toxic hazards
From the story: Findings revealed that emissions of carcinogenic hazardous air pollutants from ‘green’ fragranced products were not significantly different from regular fragranced products.
Scented “green” household cleaners are equally hazardous to indoor air quality when compared to scented “non-green” counterparts, according to the study. The headline strongly implies that “green” products are uniquely toxic, or more toxic, or have some “hidden” danger not present elsewhere.
An accurate headline: Study: Green household products no safer than the rest
Come on, Alan Watts. This is “Buzzfeed” style clickbait. You’re better than that.
p.s.: I buy whatever’s cheapest, as long as it works.

Reply to  Jake J
March 8, 2015 3:12 am

Technology is destructive only in the hands of people who do not realize that they are one and the same process as the universe.

Alan Watts
Hint: If you want to communicate with Alan Watts, try prayer. He died in 1973.

Jake J
Reply to  The Pompous Git
March 9, 2015 1:45 pm

Oops, my mistake

Jake J
March 6, 2015 1:04 pm

By the way: I pay next to zero attention to “green” household products, believing them to be a pointless scam. So many someone who does know more can tell me whether these things make claims to be less toxic. Also: Is air quality the only dimension of toxicity? Could the “green” products be less (or more) toxic in other dimensions?
If all we have to go on is the info in this article, all it says is that “green” and “not green” are alike when it comes to indoor air quality.

March 6, 2015 1:54 pm

I would love to have a wattsup hub for good environmental products, technology, ideas, etc. Not endorsements… Just support for people with good ideas. Maybe you just have a deliberate category for the good, bad and everything in between having to do with companies, engineering, developments, products, etc.? Just a thought.
I always love you uncovering the baloney. I know most on here care about environmental issues. Weeding out the bad ideas is one-sided. You have an amazing platform for shaping and guiding culture to support real environmental causes, not just exposing he bad ones.

March 6, 2015 6:09 pm

Somewhat amusingly, The Git has just opened a bottle of Viking Grand Shiraz to allow it to breathe before tonight’s repast of pickled pork and organic vegetables from The Git’s Garden. Amusingly, because the wine is made from biodynamically grown grapes that used to be sold to Penfolds for use in their world-famous Grange. While the Grange sells for several hundred dollars a bottle, the Viking costs The Git $AU20/bottle by the case. The 2009 Grange scores 97, but then the 2009 Viking scores 94. At that level, the thousands of dollars saved by purchasing organic versus conventional outweighs any points difference between the two wines. Of course when drinking the Viking you don’t get to wank on about a “backdrop of high cocoa, dark chocolate, its hints of coal steam and its definitive, monumental intensity” as you do when you drink Grange, but The Git can live with that 🙂

March 6, 2015 11:11 pm

Back in the 90s I was serving on a submarine which has continuously running air quality monitors. One day the alarms started going off and the entire crew had to don breathing masks. After several hours the cause was finally found: the new “green” cleaning solution had just started being used. The fumes were much worse than the prior “industrial strength” cleaner. Of course the remainder got locked up for the rest of our patrol and was banned from being brought on board on future supply stops.

johann wundersamer
March 7, 2015 11:56 pm

Janice, ever thought ’bout vasectonomy?
re awakening to the real world.
mod, i see your problem.
exhausted / bored – Hans
[Might be difficult, performing a vasectomy on a woman. .mod]

johann wundersamer
Reply to  johann wundersamer
March 8, 2015 12:45 am

vasectomy, vasectonomy – that academic ‘be better off I know.’
Janice, ever thought ’bout
re awakening to the real
mod, i see your problem.
exhausted / bored – Hans

Reply to  johann wundersamer
March 8, 2015 1:18 am

Hi Johann!
We might be having a slight language problem… ☹

Reply to  johann wundersamer
March 8, 2015 3:08 am

You could very well be correct. It seems highly unlikely that Janice would ever contemplate a vasectomy, both on the grounds of her sex and somewhat up-front spiritual beliefs 🙂

March 8, 2015 12:47 pm

“Hidden toxic hazards”? Beg your pardon? If they have remained hidden until this study, I seriously doubt whether the effects are either toxic or hazardous. Unsuspectng users of hazardous toxins (or rather their their surviving relatives) generally quickly notice the effect without having to spend extra money doing a study like this one….

Ulric Lyons
March 11, 2015 5:13 am

Another study, which also cites Steinemann et al. (2011).
Endocrine Disruptors and Asthma-associated Chemicals in Consumer Products