The manufacturers of the “Green” cleaning product Simple Green’s claim that it is non-toxic, biodegradable, non-hazardous, non-flammable, and non-corrosive. But the Material Data Safety Sheet for Simple Green reveals that the formula contains 2-Butoxyethanol — a petrochemical solvent.
2-Butoxyethanol is defined as “harmful” by the European Union classification system. Environment and Health Canada has recommended that it be added to the Schedule 1 toxic substances list, and the state of California lists it as a hazardous substance.
According to Green Med Info, the chemical’s effects include:
“Inhalation: … Symptoms may include sore throat, coughing, headache, nausea and shortness of breath … Skin Contact: May cause irritation with redness and pain. May be absorbed through the skin with possible systemic effects. Eye Contact: Vapors are irritating and may produce immediate pain, redness and tearing. Splashes can cause severe pain, stinging, swelling. Chronic Exposure: … [C]an cause damage to the liver, kidneys, lymphoid system, blood and blood-forming organs.”
It is thought that 2-butoxyethanol contributed to the significantly shorter lifespan of Exxon Valdez clean-up workers, which is why Corexit 9527, which also contains the chemical was banned in the United Kingdom.