Photo by Debbie Blanton
Working for a Greener Tomorrow
by Katie O’Sullivan
Lisa Gledhill and Debbie Blanton are two women with a mission: to free the world of toxic chemicals, one green household at a time. “We really like to get out and help people understand what’s at stake,” said Lisa. “We see ourselves as green home educators. We need to help consumers in our communities wade through the eco-confusion.”
For twelve years, the Eastham women have run MBS Properties, a property management and cleaning company. In 2009 they discovered the new “wowgreen” line of cleaning products and used them to clean their clients’ homes. Everyone was thrilled.
“It was a win-win situation,” said Debbie. “People seemed really happy when they heard we were using all non-toxic cleaning products. A greener clean, safer for their families and pets, and all at the same cost.”
Wowgreen is based out of Michigan and started production of household cleaning products in 2009. They plan to add commercial cleaning products as well as a line of marine cleaners in 2010.
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“People have become numb to the dangers of cleaning products – things they have under their sinks at home and they don’t even look at the warning labels anymore,” Lisa explains. A self-professed eco-educator, she enjoys speaking with groups about the dangers of household chemicals, and the importance of making greener choices.
According to the literature Lisa hands out at her talks, the average home contains at least 62 toxic chemicals. More than 72,000 synthetic chemicals have been created and mass-produced since World War II, and less than 2% of those chemicals have ever been tested for toxicity, birth defects, or carcinogenic effects.
The majority of chemicals have never been tested for long-term effects.
Formaldehyde, phenol, benzene, toluene and xylene are some of the chemicals found in common household cleaners, cosmetics, beverages, fabrics and cigarette smoke. These chemicals are known to be cancer causing and toxic to the immune and nervous systems.
Lisa points out that the dangers posed by cleaning chemicals is mostly a problem for women and young children, who spend more time inside their homes. One EPA study she cites found that women who work in the home had a 54% higher cancer rate than those who worked outside the home. Infertility, breast cancer, cancer in children, asthma and ADD are all on the rise, and Lisa says all of these conditions have possible links to chemicals in the home.
Debbie & Lisa
The wowgreen cleaning products that Lisa and Debbie now use and sell are enzyme-based rather than chemical-based. Lisa explains that enzymes are biomolecules found in nature, and each enzyme is designed to break down different compounds more efficiently than chemical-based cleaning products.
Every product, from the stain pen to the window cleaner to the laundry detergent, is non-toxic. All wowgreen cleaners are made from natural materials. The packaging used is recyclable and reusable. Concentrated refill packets for the six spray bottle cleaners are shipped separately, and the retail consumer adds their own water.
“People say, oh I’ve used green products before and they don’t work,” says Debbie. “Or they say they’re using cleaners that say ‘green’ on the label when actually the products are full of harmful chemicals. The wowgreen products are 100% enzyme-based, and they work really well. The customers we cleaned for this summer were very happy.”Return to Environment page
wowgreen International, LLC is the provider of safe, green household cleaners that are sold and distributed to consumers through a channel of independent distributors.
The company’s mission is to free the world of toxic chemicals, one household at a time.
wowgreen’s products are manufactured from a proprietary blend of enzymes that provide a safe, effective and all natural cleaning solution for every household need.
To fulfill the company’s “green promise,” products are packaged in reusable containers and shipped in recyclable paper containers.
What’s In Your Cleaner?
Each year, over 1 million children are accidentally poisoned in their homes. 250,000 of these victims are hospitalized and 3,000 will end up in intensive care. Dozens will die. The most common substances to poison children are household cleaners.
All cleaning products are harmful if swallowed. However, products come with a “signal word” that designates the product’s level of toxicity for adults.
The labels on products only have to warn of the acute and immediate harms from ingesting a product, breathing the fumes, or contact with the eyes or skin. They don’t reveal the harms presented by long-term exposure to the chemicals. And of course, much less is needed to harm a child.
Katie O’Sullivan is the Editor and a contributing writer of this magazine. She lives in Harwich with her husband, three children and two large dogs.
In addition to reporting and editing, she writes contemporary fiction. Her first suspense novel, "Unfolding the Shadows", was released October 1, 2009 from Cerridwen Press.
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