Preliminary risk assessment
suggested that using these cleaning products may
significantly increase cancer risk.
In addition to its direct
toxic effects on living organisms, chlorine also reacts
with organic materials in the environment to create
other hazardous and carcinogenic toxins, including
trihalomethanes and chloroform (THMs), and
organochlorines, an extremely dangerous class of
compounds that cause reproductive, endocrine and immune
system disorders. The most well known organochlorine is
dioxin. Products containing chlorine (or any of its
derivatives or precursors, including sodium
hypochlorite) should be considered highly unacceptable.
Similarly, any chemical with "chlor" as part of its
description, or any ingredient listed as "bleach,"
should be considered unacceptable as this nomenclature
indicates the presence of a highly toxic and
environmentally damaging chlorinated compound. Chlorine
and chlorinated compounds are also a leading cause of
atmospheric ozone loss. Chlorine use in the laundry also
degrades both natural and synthetic fibers.
Chlorine is listed in the 1990 Clean Air Act as a hazardous air pollutant and is on the EPA’s Community Right To Know list. In 1993, the American Public Health Association issued a resolution calling for the gradual phase-out of most organochlorine compounds.