The Dangers of Cleaning Supplies


As we get ready to clean our homes for holiday guests (and even if you are one of the lucky ones paying someone else to clean your home). Here are a few issues to be aware of.

The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) has shown that indoor air contains two to five times more pollutants per cubic foot that outdoor air and in extreme cases can be one hundred times more polluted. The New York Times wrote in an article on Jan 6, 2001 that an EPA study revealed some toxic levels in homes were “greater than the levels that qualify as a chemical waste site for Superfund status.” It is important for you to know that you if you are using chemicals to clean your house, your are unknowingly adding to your indoor pollution in a very big way. A 2003 study conducted by the Mount Siani School of Medicine in New York tested volunteers who did not live or work near industrial facilities. An average of 91 contaminants were discovered in each person. Most of these contaminants come from pesticides, personal care products and household cleaners. These chemicals were capable of causing cancer, brain and nervous system damage, birth defects and immune system problems.

As a rule of thumb, many experts advise that if a product label includes the notice “warning”, “poison” or “danger” – stop right there and avoid the product all together. I go further and say, if it’s not natural or smells funny, don’t use it. As warning labels are only addressing issues caused by ingestion. Ninety percent of health problems are caused by inhalation. Most of these chemicals fill the air with what we call a clean smell. I would recommend you rethink that clean definition and think of it as a poison smell.

In the interest of keeping each Healthy Hint short enough to value your time each week, we will discuss specific ingredients next week. For now, try to avoid the use of chemicals that have a strong odor and/or list the caution words above. You may also want to avoid the products that the Water Pollution Control Federation states are so toxic, they must be disposed of in a toxic waste dump: floor care products, furniture products, window cleaners, bug spray and nail polish remover. Other products that the National Cancer Prevention Coalition lists as the top cancer causers in our home are: J & J Baby Powder, Crest Tartar Control Toothpaste, V05 Hair Conditioner, Clairol Nice N Easy Hair Color, Ajax Cleanser, Lysol Disinfectant.

To get your house clean, Use the a high density fiber clean room or Magic cloth, damp towels, baking soda and other environmentally and personally safe products. You will go into the holidays breathing easier!


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