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Changes in Latina Women’s Exposure to Cleaning Chemicals Associated with Switching from Conventional to “Green” Household Cleaning Products: The LUCIR Intervention Study

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Household cleaning products may be a significant source of chemical exposures, including carcinogens and suspected endocrine disruptors.


We characterized exposures during routine household cleaning and tested an intervention to reduce exposures to cleaning product chemicals.


The Lifting Up Communities with Interventions and Research (LUCIR) Study is a youth-led, community-based intervention project. Youth researchers conducted personal air monitoring with 50 Latina women while they cleaned their homes with their regular cleaning products (preintervention visit) and then 1 week later while they used "green" cleaning products provided by the study (postintervention visit). Air samples were analyzed for volatile and semivolatile organic compounds using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry and high-performance liquid chromatography. We compared pre- and postintervention air concentrations of 47 chemicals of concern, selected because they were on California's Proposition 65 list of carcinogens or reproductive/developmental toxicants or were suspected endocrine disruptors. Youth researchers were integrally involved in the study design, data collection, interpretation, and dissemination of findings.


We observed statistically significant decreases in air concentrations of 17 chemicals of concern when participants switched to green cleaning products, including decreases in geometric mean concentrations of 1,4-dioxane (-46.4%), chloroform (-86.7%), benzene (-24.8%), naphthalene (-40.3%), toluene (-24.2%), and hexane (-35.5%). We observed significant increases in air concentrations of three fragrance compounds: the plant-derived terpene, beta-myrcene (221.5%), and the synthetic musks celestolide (31.0%) and galaxolide (79.6%). Almost all participants (98%) said the replacement products worked as well as their original products, and 90% said that they would consider buying the replacement products in the future.


This study demonstrates that choosing cleaning products that are marketed as green may reduce exposure to several carcinogens and endocrine disruptors. Future studies should determine whether use of unscented green products would further reduce exposure to terpenes and musks.

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