06/17/2015 13:01 EDT | Updated 06/17/2016 01:12 EDT

Study finds common household cleaners can boost indoor pollution

OTTAWA - A new study by an environmental advocacy group shows the use of common household cleaners can seriously boost indoor air pollution.The research by the group Environmental Defence found that indoor levels of volatile organic compounds more than doubled in nine homes during a half-hour kitchen cleaning using off-the-shelf products.Volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, can cause irritation to the eyes, nose and throat, cause headaches, skin problems and asthma and are considered especially harmful to youngsters.No standards have been set in Canada for indoor concentrations of VOCs, however Environmental Defence used a German standard as the benchmark for a study of various cleaners — including some self-described "green" products — in 14 Ontario homes.The results showed dramatic increases of indoor air pollutants after using common cleaners, increases that were almost as high for unverified products claiming to be green and much lower increases for certified green products that listed all their ingredients on the label.The report says the average level of volatile organic compounds in the homes after using common cleaning products was slightly higher than a nail salon but slightly lower than inside a brand-new car.Follow @BCheadle on Twitter