You know that seemingly good, fresh scent you smell when you are cleaning your home? Sorry to spoil it, but it's not "rain," a "mountain breeze," or "spring." Those cleaners are loaded with harmful chemicals that actually make your home dirtier.
Think of it this way. You wouldn't let your kids play with toxic chemicals, so why would you let the baby crawl over a floor that has just been wiped with them?
That's much more dangerous than the orange juice that was just there. How dangerous? Just take a look at these statistics. Over 90% of poison exposures happen at home. Common chlorine bleach is the #1 household chemical involved in poisoning.
Organic pollutants, found in many common cleaners and even air fresheners, are found at levels 2 to 5 times higher inside your home than out. A person who spends 15 minutes cleaning scale off shower walls could inhale three times the "acute one-hour exposure limit" for glycol ether-containing products set by the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment.
Common cleaners give off fumes that can potentially increase the risk of kids developing asthma, the most common chronic childhood disease. One in 13 school-aged children has asthma. Rates in children under five have increased more than 160% from 1980-2004. Children are highly vulnerable to chemical toxicants.
Pound for pound of body weight, children drink more water, eat more food, and breathe more air than adults. The implication of this is that children will have substantially heavier exposures than adults to any toxicants that are present in water, food, or air.
If your home is anything like the average U.S. home, you generate more than 20 pounds of household hazardous waste each year (the EPA designates toilet cleaners, tub and tile cleaners, oven cleaners, and bleach as hazardous waste). To find out what's lurking on your shelves, go to the National Institutes of Health Library of Medicine Household Products Database.
You can search almost any brand of cleaner you use, find out what's in it, and uncover its links to health effects. Or search by chemical ingredients (see list below for some examples) and discover what brands contain it. The information may shock you.
Here is how to keep your home impeccably clean, and safe. Get the dirt, educate yourself about what you bring into your home. Have a clean-for-all. Put on the gloves and get rid of the nasty stuff in your home. Responsibly, of course.
Your local waste collection service has guidelines for proper household hazardous waste disposal, as well as collection sites for things like paint, batteries, and cleaners. Whatever you do, please don't toss this stuff in the garbage.
Welcome healthy into your home. Commit to carefully considering everything that crosses your doorstep. Here are some safe, healthy things to have in your home:
* Cleaners that are truly cleaner because they are nontoxic, natural, biodegradable, concentrated, and hypoallergenic. * Fresh air. Open your windows to reduce indoor air pollution. * Essential oils. Use these instead of air fresheners. * Plants. Besides being nice to look at, they can absorb harmful gases and help clean the air. * Organic cotton bedding. Avoid standard bedding treated with chemicals. * Floors made of recycled and renewable resources. * Healthier paint. That new paint smell can be as nasty as it smells. Choose low VOC paint instead.
Clean up our collective home. Make the earth healthier for all of us who call it home by using these things in yours: Compact fluorescent lighting. They last a whole lot longer. Energy Star-rated appliances. Save money and energy.
A low-flush toilet. Replace the largest user of water in your house. Ultra low flushers cut water use by one-fifth. Low-flow shower heads. Same pressure. Less water.
Your flicker finger. Turn off lights and appliances when you're not using them. Gray water system. Install one to recycle used household water for your lawn. Tankless water heater. Save money, energy, and space in the broom closet.
Do your research and take action. Get your home as clean and as safe as possible for you, your family, and your planet.