Toxicity is not just a result of the food industry. Sure, keeping your household free of toxins starts with food: buying organic, reading labels, avoiding processed foods, and eating clean. Avoiding chemicals in food, from additives to pesticides is a great start, but we live in a toxic world, and not surprisingly there are toxins hiding everywhere, including in the products you use to clean your home, your clothes, and your dishes.
The chemicals you use to remove food waste from dishes, dirt from clothes, and even odors from the air are packed with toxic substances that not only can be harmful, but have been linked to many forms of chronic disease.
Many of the most trusted brands of soap contain a surprise ingredient: formaldehyde. This toxic chemical has been linked to allergies and asthma. Not to mention an ingredient we will go into in more detail in a moment: fragrance.
Scented laundry detergents and dryer sheets can give off up to 25 volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) when heated and 7 f those are classified as hazardous air pollutants, resulting in interior and exterior air pollution.
Smelly dog, or worse, teenager? You may want to re-think those spray air fresheners. Not only do many contain formaldehyde and phenol, but they actually interfere with your body’s ability to smell with a nerve deadening agent, or by coating your nasal passages with oil.
Phenol can harm your skin if it comes into direct contact, causing you to break out in a rash, and again these contain generic ingredients simply called fragrances which can be extremely harmful.
Be careful with these. That chlorine bleach that is so good at doing that oh-so-nasty job of cleaning up after everyone’s business releases harmful chlorine gas when you really getting down there and scrubbing. This is bad for your lungs and your circulatory system.
These also make one of the toughest jobs in the house easier, especially after mom overflowed her world famous meatloaf all over the bottom of the oven. However, corrosive alkalis release toxic gasses especially when heated as is often required to activate them. Many brands contain warnings about inhaling vapors and skin contact.
This product contains waxes, oils, and organic solvents that contain hydrocarbons. While they make your furniture shine and add a glow to the wooden furniture in your home, they are extremely poisonous. If it comes in contact with your eyes, you can go blind and if you inhale or ingest it you may find yourself in a coma.
Ammonia. Enough said. Ammonia can be extremely toxic, and breathing it in is never a good idea. Neither is inhaling isopropyl alcohol more commonly known as rubbing alcohol.
This doesn’t mean that all window cleaners are bad. Some are made with less toxic ingredients, and if you use them carefully in a well ventilated area you will be okay. But prolonged exposure in enclosed areas can be really harmful to your health.
Any cleaner or other household item that contains the word “fragrance” on the list of ingredients should be suspect. Fragrance is pretty much a self-regulating industry and there are over 3,00 chemicals included in that single word. The lack of regulation means that any “fragrance” contains not one chemical, but a cocktail of several potentially toxic substances.
As an example, a Glade Plug In has an astonishing 80 chemicals in the ingredient “fragrance.” Not only do you not know what these chemicals are, you don’t know how they will react to the other chemicals in the “cocktail” especially when heated.
These fragrances are in hand soaps, body soap, shampoo, perfume, and countless other common household items.
So what do you do about it? Well you have choices.
Make Your Own Cleaners
Get the right kind of “clean” ingredients and make your own cleaning compounds. There are recipes on the internet and many natural food or health food stores will have less common ingredients on hand.
Those same stores will have cleansers and soaps that are free of fragrance, toxic chemicals, and contain natural compounds that still do a great job of cleaning your home, clothing, and even your body.
When we talk about detox we usually talk about food and diet. There is more to detoxing your home, and that includes your environment and the chemicals you use to clean it. Pay attention to ingredients, and know that there are hidden toxins everywhere.