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Do you buy Arm & Hammer cleaning products? I used to.

Do you buy Arm & Hammer cleaning products? I used to.

I have to admit, there's something strangely comforting about that old-fashioned image on the side of their baking soda box. I associated it with, I don't know, something wholesome, like making pancakes with my Dad on Sunday morning. And when I got old enough to buy products to clean my own home, those happy memories buried deep in my brain propelled me to the Arm & Hammer section of the cleaning product aisle, silently commanding me to hoist that yellow bottle of laundry detergent into my cart.

At some slightly more conscious level, I was thinking 'If they make cooking ingredients, their cleaning products have to be safe, right?'

Well maybe. But here's the thing: We asked Arm & Hammer to disclose the chemical ingredients in their cleaning products as required by a New York State law.

They refused.

Wow. Pretty strange behavior from a company that proudly touts its green credentials and markets its products to people like you and me.

Other companies filed their reports (Seventh Generation, Sunshine Makers, SC Johnson). But not Arm & Hammer.

So we sued them, alongside a handful of other cleaning product manufacturing giants. And for the past year they've been fighting us in court.

If they're going to keep marketing their products to people like me, people who want some assurance that we're not coating the insides of our homes with dangerous, toxic chemicals every time we clean, it would only make sense that they'd follow the law and provide officials with the full list of what's in their cleaning products. I'm not a chemist, but I'm pretty sure there are some ingredients besides baking soda in that bottle of Arm & Hammer Clean Shower.

Companies care about what their customers think. And cleaning product companies care a lot about what environmentally savvy consumers think: so-called green products are considered the fastest growing segment of the cleaning product industry.

So why not put your considerable influence to use? Let Arm & Hammer's parent company Church & Dwight know what you think. Add your name to the 10,000+ people who have signed a petition calling on them to follow New York's law. Have more to say? Send an email to the company's CEO James Craigie.

And until Church & Dwight and other manufacturing giants start following the law, you might consider making your own non-toxic household cleaners and sharing your newfound know-how with friends, family, and others in your community (some recipes to get you started are here.) Leigh Attaway Wilcox, a blogger and mother from Dallas, TX and Suzy Sikora, a naturopathy student from Flint, MI and others took the plunge last month by hosting Green Cleaning parties (a really fun concept developed by our friends at Women's Voices for the Earth).

The great folks at DallasMoms, The Blue Marble, GreenerPenny (by Mindy Pennybacker, the author of the fabulous Do One Green Thing), The Thin Green Line, Cheap Like Me, Going Green in 2010, and Chic Vegan are all helping to spread the word.

Now it's your turn! Get started by signing the petition.
 

About the Earthjustice Blog

unEARTHED is a forum for the voices and stories of the people behind Earthjustice's work. The views and opinions expressed in this blog do not necessarily represent the opinion or position of Earthjustice or its board, clients, or funders. Learn more about Earthjustice.