Recently, TerraChoice, a leading North American environmental marketing company, released a study, which found that more than 95 percent of consumer products claiming to be green are committing at least one of the "sins" of green washing. This means that many companies are misleading consumers about the environmental practices they use and the environmental benefits of the product. This is frightening - consumers think they are buying environmentally friendly, non-toxic products and they are not. The research examined 5,296 unique home and family consumer products in the following categories:

• Toys & baby products • Household cleaning products • Do it yourself building & construction products • Consumer electronics

The good news about this study is that since 2009, the number of "greener" products has gone up by 73 percent.

The bad news is without laws requiring manufacturers to disclose all ingredients on their product label, consumers are not aware of all the ingredients in the products they are using. We need to know what ingredients are in the products we are purchasing before we expose ourselves, our family, and our environment to the potential toxins that they may contain.

And when it comes to cleaning products, it's what's NOT on the label you should be wary of. Words like lemon-scented, lavender fragrance, and phosphate-free do not mean a product is truly green. These phrases are commonly used on the packaging of many products, which mislead consumers to believe that they are green.

The biggest issue highlighted by the TerraChoice study is that many consumers are not aware of the environmental effects of the products they are using. Much of this is because there is currently no official regulation for what constitutes a "green" product and there is no law requiring manufacturers to disclose all of their ingredients. However, as a consumer, when you go to the market to purchase a cleaning product, there are certain things you can look for to ensure that you are purchasing green, non-toxic products.

Here are some guidelines to help you choose the healthiest cleaning products for your home and family:

1) Full disclosure of ingredients

2) Ingredients should be plant based - fruits, vegetables, essential oils, vinegar, and baking soda

3) Must be certified as readily biodegradable

4) Must be third-party certified to verify environmental claims

5) Must be cost competitive

6) No animal testing, no animal ingredients, and cruelty free

7) Must be safe for septic tanks (gray water safe)

So now you know! To Learn more visit www.dienviro.com

Deirdre Imus is the Founder and President of The Deirdre Imus Environmental Health Center (r)at Hackensack University Medical Center and Co-Founder and Co-Director of the Imus Cattle Ranch for Kids with Cancer. Deirdre is the author of four books, including three national bestsellers. She is a frequent speaker on green living and children's health issues, and is a contributor to FoxNewsHealth.com. For more information go to www.dienviro.com

Deirdre Imus, Founder of the site devoted to environmental health, www.ImusEnvironmentalHealth.org, is President and Founder of The Deirdre Imus Environmental Health Center® at Hackensack University Medical Center and Co-Founder/Co-Director of the Imus Cattle Ranch for Kids with Cancer. She is a New York Times best-selling author and a frequent contributor to FoxNewsHealth.com, and Fox Business Channel. Check out her website at www.ImusEnvironmentalHealth.org. Follow her on Twitter@TheGreenDirt and 'like' her Facebook page here.