Removing Barriers to Safe Home Cleaning Products

Many popular and inexpensive home cleaning products contain toxic chemicals. There are alternatives, but they can be expensive or require extra steps. What happens when those barriers are removed? OEC partnered with Hacienda CDC to find out.

Hacienda CDC Eco- Healthy Home Survey

In the Fall/Winter of 2020, socially distanced, in-person focus groups and bilingual online surveys were held in Hacienda CDC’s housing communities to listen to residents’ concerns about toxic chemicals in the home. COVID-19 hit the Latino/x community particularly hard, and the increased levels of disinfecting increased families’ and kids’ exposure to dozens of different toxic chemicals (ie. bleach) in their products. It should not be a cost burden to obtain environmentally healthy, non-toxic, and sustainable cleaning and personal care products. In all, 75 residents participated in either focus groups or online surveys.[1]

Based on that input, we came up with affordable Spanish and English cleaning and sanitizing recipes and tailored eco-healthy home kits with non-toxic ingredients, and distributed them to these residents. We then surveyed participants a second time in the Spring/Summer of 2021 after they got a chance to use their eco-healthy home kits. This report shows a significant positive outcome for the health of residents.[2]

During the Fall 2021 focus groups, residents noted that:

  • They usually had to leave the room after cleaning with chemical products, due to the fumes.
  • 49% had health problems such as dry skin, rashes, headaches, and nausea with conventional chemical products.
  • 79% were concerned about health impacts from cleaning and personal care products and impacts to their indoor air quality.
  • 85% noted that cost was a major factor in choosing products. The pandemic’s financial constraints forced them to seek out the cheapest cleaning products available.
  • 94% are interested in natural more environmentally friendly solutions.

Read the full report here in English & Spanish.

This project would not have been possible without the participation of the residents at Hacienda CDC. We are grateful for their collaboration and openness in this partnership.

[1] See OEC Roundtable Report for full findings, Prepared by Lara Media (February 2021).

[2] Only 11 participants filled out a second survey.

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