“Cleaning products are not required to publish a list of ingredients on the bottle, even if they trigger skin rashes, asthma or are linked to cancer.” – Dr. Joseph Mercola
According to Dr. Joseph Mercola, “Household cleaning supplies are one of several products that may increase your exposure to toxins. In the pursuit of cleanliness and sparkling chrome, you may inadvertently increase exposure to indoor air pollution, inhalation risks and contact absorption.”
Most people don’t think about their household cleaning supplies in terms of whether or not they’re healthy for you. Sure, many people are aware that cleaning supplies shouldn’t be ingested, or given to small children or pets – but a lot of people aren’t aware that the common household products that we use every day to keep our home clean are actually quite dangerous.
After all, those cleaning products are being used under the assumption that they will actually make our home safer. To most people, a clean house is a healthy house. While that may be true in some ways, in others, an overly clean house can mean that the people doing the cleaning are at risk for serious health issues.
The Organic Consumer Association states that, “In 2000, cleaning products were responsible for nearly 10% of all toxic exposures reported to U.S. Poison Control Centers, accounting for 206,636 calls.” Household cleaning products have chemicals in them that can lead to a serious lung disease.
It’s important to know which cleaning products cause what problems, so they can be avoided for more healthy and organic, chemical-free options.
Here Are Some Common Household Products That Can Expose You To Diseases
Many people know that bleach isn’t something to mess around with, but people continue to take the risk when it comes to using it for a clean house. “Bleach is one of the ingredients with links to lung disease, nervous system disorders, burns and chemically induced pneumonia; mixing bleach with other cleaners may produce deadly gas,” adds Dr. Mercola.
While bleach may be excellent for disinfecting the problem areas of your home, studies have shown that regularly breathing in bleach can actually increase people’s risk of developing what’s known as COPD – chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Dr Orianne Dumas (PhD) from INSERM states, “We found that nurses who use disinfectants to clean surfaces on a regular basis – at least once a week – had a 22% increased risk of developing COPD. Earlier studies have found a link between asthma and exposure to cleaning products and disinfectants at home, such as bleach and sprays, so it is important to investigate this further.”
This is something that’s usually associated with long-term smokers. Natural alternatives to bleach can be made with simply water, lemon juice and hydrogen peroxide. This can help reduce the amount of chemicals that one breathes in while using bleach.
According to this study, “Inhalation of highly hydrosoluble toxicants, like ammonia, can be associated with chronic lung diseases, which have been partially characterized.” Ammonia can be found in many common glass cleaners. It’s a common ingredient due to the nature of the chemical, in that it dries clear and doesn’t often leave streaks on the glass. Ammonia doesn’t have the same long-game that some of the other cleaning products have.
Those that get health issues from ammonia are going to feel it almost immediately, and those who are affected are often those with asthma, or other lung problems. Strangely enough, a better alternative for window cleaning that has ammonia is actually … vodka! Toothpaste can also be used for things like polishing silver, which is another cleaner that uses ammonia.
Most people don’t realize how much exposure they get to chlorine through their cleaning products. Chlorine can be found in toilet bowl cleaner, laundry whiteners and products that are used to remove mildews. The problem with chlorine is that people can absorb the chemicals by breathing it in, as well as through their skin.
While the health effects of chlorine are relatively minor in comparison, they can be long-lasting. Chlorine can seriously disrupt one’s thyroid function. The healthy alternatives for chlorine are a mile long: baking soda and vinegar can be used for toilet bowls and mildew, while vinegar and borax powder can be hard to whiten clothes.
This is a chemical that is often used in drain openers. Everyone deals with clogged sinks and drains now and then, and the easiest way through that problem is to get a chemical that eats right through the clog. Sodium hydroxide is extremely, extremely corrosive, which is why it’s used to clear up clogged drains.
When it gets on the skin, sodium hydroxide can cause severe burns, and when breathed in through the nose or mouth can cause discomfort, sore throats or lung problems. Baking soda and vinegar down the drain is a healthier alternative to using normal drain cleaner, and a mechanical snake tool can help get out nasty clogs.
Most of us trust our household cleaners to keep our home safe – and many do! But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be wary of the chemicals that come in even the most common of household cleaners. Even the most mainstream and popular cleaning products should be examined carefully for chemicals that can cause health risks. The health risks that come with using household cleaners with dangerous chemicals may not always be immediate, but they can be long term and chronic if proper precaution isn’t taken. Alternative cleaning solutions with natural ingredients and non-harmful chemicals can keep households safe and the people in them healthy.