Does Earth Friendly Mean Human-Friendly?

Plant-Powered ECOS all-purpose cleaner – Some of the chemicals are found in foods, so we also source information from those who look at the substances in food. Here is the information on each ingredient.

We conclude we will never touch this product. We will be starting a series discussing everyday household products and their level of toxicity. This is our first investigation into what is marketed as a safe product. We even bought this for our office, but we hesitated to use it, hence investigating it.


Andreas Willing, Horst Messinger & Walter Aulmann. 2004. Ecology and Toxicology of Alkyl Polyglycosides. New York: Marcel Dekker.

A review of industry studies notes reduced prostate weight only at low doses in one animal study.


The Cosmetics Database finds Propylene Glycol to be a moderate hazard ingredient and has concerns regarding cancer, developmental and reproductive toxicity, allergies and immunotoxicity, irritation and enhanced skin absorption, and organ system toxicity. Lesser interests include neurotoxicity and endocrine disruption.

As of yet, there has not been enough research conducted to be able to determine whether propylene glycol is carcinogenic (Safety Assessment of Propylene Glycol).


PS is seen to be genotoxic to the human peripheral blood lymphocytes in vitro.

Two recent studies have suggested that potassium sorbate can be toxic and may have significant health effects on our bodies. One study found that potassium sorbate can damage white blood cells. Potassium sorbate was found to be genotoxic, meaning it could damage genetic information, cause mutations, and even lead to cancer.

Another study highlighted more potassium sorbate dangers. In this study, when potassium sorbate was combined with ascorbic acid, it caused DNA-damaging activity. Ascorbic acid is more commonly known as vitamin C and is common in many foods. Particularly with canned fruits or soda drinks, it is possible to be eating a combination of potassium sorbate and ascorbic acid.

The most common long term side effects that are observed with prolonged use of potassium sorbate are:

  • Nausea, vomiting, and gastric upset
  • Risk of allergic reactions in situations when the products containing potassium sorbate are used for skincare products
  • Some people may develop extreme reactions and irritation when potassium sorbate comes in contact with skin, hair, or other parts of biological membranes.
  • Prolonged dietary intake of potassium sorbate in the form of preservatives (incorporated in canned foods) can lead to nutritional deficiencies by impairing the absorption of nutrients from the food

Despite purity requirements for manufacturers, it’s possible that potassium sorbate as a food additive can be contaminated. It may be contaminated with:

  • lead
  • arsenic
  • mercury


As of yet, there has not been enough research conducted to be able to determine whether propylene glycol is carcinogenic (Safety Assessment of Propylene Glycol). *Propanediol exists in two common forms, 1,2-propanediol (propylene glycol) and 1,3-propanediol




This website tells us that the Cosmetic Ingredient Review finds it safe.

Their link takes you to the home page, not the page with the alcohol denatured information. We followed the links and found this information from the Cosmetics Ingredient Review that clearly states this chemical says:


“The available data was not sufficient to support the safety of Quassin, Brucine, and Brucine Sulfate, Alcohol Denat. denatured with those denaturants, or SD Alcohol 39 and SD Alcohol 40 (SD Alcohols denatured with Quassin, Brucine, and/or Brucine Sulfate), and in order for the Expert Panel to reach a conclusion for these denaturants, additional data are needed.”

(We left the studies typos and grammar errors in.)  Why would the truth in aging lead us to believe this is safe by stating that and not citing the link’s exact source?

We found this information at another source.

The CIR Expert Panel concluded that the available data are insufficient to support the safety of Alcohol Denat., SDAlcohol39, and SD Alcohol40 denatured with Quassin, Brucine, and Brucine Sulfate in cosmetic products and that the available data are insufficient to support the safety of Quassin, Brucine, and Brucine Sulfate as denaturants.

About ALCOHOL DENATURED: Denatured alcohol is a mixture of ethanol (ethyl alcohol) with a denaturing agent.

Ethanol is considered broadly toxic and linked to birth defects following excessive oral ingestion.

Potential risks from ethanol in personal care products are significantly smaller than the health risks posed by alcohol consumption.