Cleaner Cleaners: The Hazards of Household Cleaning Products

Cleaner Cleaners: The Hazards of Household Cleaning Products

Jul 19th 2017

You clean you home to rid it of dirt, bacteria, and grime — but what if the cleaning products you are using are causing your family more harm than a dirty house would? Nearly all cleaning products found at your local grocery store are full of harmful chemicals and toxins which are hazardous to your health and can have long-term side effects.

There are 298 environmental chemicals that are currently being evaluated by the Center of Disease Control, and 88 of those chemicals have been added since 2009. The average American household has about 62 of these toxic chemicals in cupboards or under their sinks. They are present on your floors, your toilet, your sofa, and your countertops not because they floated there somehow, but because we deliberately put them there to get things “clean.” Your skin to absorbs these toxins when you come into direct contact with them, and allows them to enter your bloodstream.

The heavy-duty cleaners you use to clean your oven are amplified when you heat them to high temperatures and then open the oven door. This then exposes your entire home to high levels of toxicity. The synthetic scent in Pinesol and other cleaners with the word “fragrance” in their ingredient list has long-term effects on your lungs when inhaled. This is because the ingredient “fragrance” can actually be made up of hundreds of chemicals in combination, chemicals not listed anywhere on the bottle. In fact, only 7 percent of the cleaning products on the market list all of their ingredients on the label.

Make sure to avoid products that have these things in their ingredient list:

  • Phthalates (aka fragrance)
  • Perchloroethylene
  • Bisphenol A (BPA)
  • Triclosan
  • Quaternary Ammonium Compounds
  • 2-Butoxyethanol
  • Ammonia
  • Chlorine
  • Sodium hydroxide

The danger of using these items is the danger inherent in the chronic exposure to these endocrine-disrupting chemicals. They have been directly linked to cancer, neurotoxicity, hormone disruption, reproductive disorders, and asthma. A study by the Environmental Working Group found that 53 percent of the cleaning products that they reviewed contained ingredients considered harmful to human lungs.

The danger is present in more ways than just toxicity from everyday use. If you have small children or pets, the danger of keeping these chemically loaded household cleaners in your home can be fatal. Most cleaning products clearly indicate that they “may be lethal if swallowed.” The colorful bottles can be appealing to children, and if they are not sealed properly can be easily consumed.

Does your dog get in the trash? They can accidentally eat bleach-soaked wipes or paper towels used to clean the bathroom or kitchen, which can make them terribly ill or even be fatal.

The companies that produce toxic cleaning products say that small amounts of exposure to the active ingredients have not proven to have long-term effects on the human body. However, they do recognize that there are some possible immediate reactions. Acute exposure can cause skin irritation, headaches from inhalation, and dizziness. What do you think that product is doing to your body over a longer period of time? Every time that you use it, you are exposing yourself to more chemicals and toxins than your body can possibly filter out before they cause health issues.

Beware of “green” cleaning products as well. Read the list of ingredients and make sure you can pronounce the names of all of the items listed on the bottle. Many companies recognize the need to market their items as cleaner, safer and more sustainable to the public now that consumers are more aware of the dangers they present and their effect on the environment. Sadly, the ingredient lists of the original product and the “greener” product do not often differ much.

Rather than having to grieve the loss of a loved one due to toxic levels of exposure, change your cleaning habits. The products you use in your home shouldn’t require you to use gloves and a face mask. It is best to stick with basic, natural cleaning solutions to get the job done.

  • Use a simple mixture of vinegar, baking soda and essential oils diluted with water to clean the surfaces of your home.
  • For natural antimicrobial effects, add tea tree oil to use for your bathroom cleaning needs.
  • Lemon juice is great for removing stains and leaves the room smelling fresh and clean.

You can still get your home clean and leave things smelling fresh without exposing your family to hazardous toxins. Pay attention to ingredients, and avoid chemicals that can be harmful. Remove these toxic cleaners from your home as soon as possible.