Image provided by Collin Anderson
Most cleaning products use for disinfecting and cleaning bathrooms, kitchens and certain areas of the house contain hazardous chemicals that can cause chronic health problems later on in life. Many of the household cleaners found in stores do a great job cleaning our stoves, sinks, dishes, countertops and bathroom but they also do a great job slowly destroying our health. Some of these household cleaners are so toxic that when inhaled or swallowed they can cause death.
As described at organicconsumers.org.
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. Of these, 120,434 exposures involved children under six, who can swallow or spill cleaners stored or left open inside the home.
Cleaning ingredients vary in the type of health hazard they pose. Some cause acute, or immediate, hazards such as skin or respiratory irritation, watery eyes, or chemical burns, while others are associated with chronic, or long-term, effects such as cancer.
The most acutely dangerous cleaning products are corrosive drain cleaners, oven cleaners, and acidic toilet bowl cleaners, according to Philip Dickey of the Washington Toxics Coalition. Corrosive chemicals can cause severe burns on eyes, skin and, if ingested, on the throat and esophagus.
Besides being hazardous for our health, household cleaners are also very bad for the environment. Many of the chemicals in household cleaners are toxic to the environment. One of them is a class of chemicals called alkylphenol ethoxylates (APEs). APEs are synthetic surfactants used in some detergents and cleaning products. “APEs are made from and break down into alkylphenols.” “APEs and alkylphenols, such as nonylphenol and octylphenol, have been found in sewage sludge” (source: sourcewatch.org). Researchers believe that nonylphenol and octylphenol are hormone disruptors because they have been shown to mimic the hormone estrogen. Studies have shown that fishes living in water with high levels of these two chemicals have reproductive problems.
Alternative household cleaners
- Baking soda, vinegar, borax and mild dish detergent are great for cleaning purposes.
- Vinegar with warm water is great for cleaning vinyl flooring.
- Lemon juice is great for removing grease on stoves.