chemical cleaners

A naturally clean home is a healthy home...Your home is where your loved ones are. It's where you go to retreat after a long day at work. Of course you want to create a clean, comfortable, relaxing and safe environment there.

Did you know that the products you may be using to clean your home can have a profound effect on your families health and well being?

While people understand the importance of cleaning with regard to appearance, they are often unaware of how a clean home affects their health. A clean bathroom and kitchen are two areas that we commonly think of as needing to be clean for health reasons. However, there are other issues within the home that can cause physical harm to your body. Also, the very chemical cleaners you use to clean can have an adverse affect on you.

Poor indoor air quality has been proven to be a cause of health problems. Allergies to dust and mold are common, and can lead to potentially serious conditions. Most traditional cleaning chemicals are toxic, and can cause allergic reactions as well. These can range from minor annoyances to potentially life-threatening. Also, some chemicals are actually poisonous or capable of causing chemical burns. These chemicals can also enter the environment, affecting our water supply. Read about the dangers of store bought chemical cleaners below.



A Word About the Dangers of Chemical Cleaners...

A great many of the household cleaning products we rely on to keep our homes looking their best can be down-right toxic to our bodies. It’s natural to assume the rows of cleaning products that line the shelves of our most-frequently-shopped-stores are perfectly safe for daily use…quite simply because they’re there, but government regulations will typically allow for a chemical to be used until it is proven beyond a doubt to be dangerous to the public. In the year 2013 alone, everyday household cleaning products were responsible for nearly 8% of all toxic exposures reported to the U.S. Poison Control Center.

You deserve to know what is in the products you are using to clean your home....

The Environmental Working Group Hall of Shame- Don't Let the Product Companies Dirty Your Home!

Most household cleaners contain toxic chemicals. Ammonia, Formaldehyde, Phthalates, Benzalkonium Chlorid, and 2-butoxyethanol, are among them. Oven cleaners are one of the most toxic products people use. They contain lye and ammonia.

The chemical companies spend billions of dollars each year brainwashing us. Ninety-one percent of the population applies 300-million pounds of these poisons annually, often indoors. 

The government acknowledges that these cleaning products are hazardous, but regulation only requires labels to indicate if they are: combustible, corrosive, poison, caution, etc. They are not required to expose the full ingredient list.

What's In That Can of Lemon Pledge? - Butane, Propane, Isobutane, Silicones. Do you really want to clean with gases?

That Bottle Of Windex Will Shine Your Glass But What Is It Doing To You? - Some of the ingredients in Windex are Propylene Glycol, Isopropanol, Ethylene Glycol n-hexyl Ether ,Monoethanolamine, Ammonium Hydroxide.

How About That Room Deodorizer? - The toxic chemical found in room deodorizers is found in the blood of 95% of children and adults.


Some of the most toxic cleaning products on the market, according to Environmental Working Group

  • Simple Green Concentrated All-Purpose Cleaner—This product is anything but green. It contains 2-butoxyethanol, a solvent that soaks through the skin and damages red blood cells; even more dangerous is that some people miss the fine print and don't dilute it.

  • Citra-Solv Cleaner & Degreaser—Orange may seem natural, but these sprays contain d-limonene, which can react with ozone in the air to form tiny harmful lung-penetrating particles and the known carcinogen formaldehyde.

  • Clorox, Fantastik, Febreze, Formula 409, Mr. Clean, and Spic and Span— EWG says many sprays sold under these brand names contain quaternary ammonium compounds or ethanolamine, compounds that can cause or trigger asthma.

  • Spic and Span Multi-Surface and Floor Cleaner—California is more strict when it comes to toxic compounds, and it's put a ban on nonylphenol ethoxylate, an ingredient in this floor cleaner that is toxic to the environment and disrupts the hormonal system.

  • Mop & Glo Multi-Surface Floor Cleaner—Contains high concentrations of a substance that the United Nations says is "suspected of damaging the unborn child."

  • Lysol Disinfectant Power Toilet Bowl Cleaner with Lime & Rust Remover—Sure, this will kill germs in your toilet bowl…but it could also kill you or your pet if it's swallowed. The acid in the cleaner can also cause irreversible eye damage.

  • Scrubbing Bubbles Antibacterial Bathroom Cleaner & Extend-a-Clean Mega Shower Foamer—These lung-inflaming products contain 10 percent DEGBE, a solvent banned in the European Union at concentrations above 3 percent.

  • Glade Air Freshener Sprays—Air fresheners and other cleaning products often contain addictive additives that can be gateway drugs. That can be fatal if you're inhaling some Glade products. EWG says Wick automatic air fresheners and old English furniture polish carry the same warning.

Avoid any kind of air freshener or deodorizer that contains synthetic fragrances. “These products do not clean or disinfect the air, but they do add hazardous chemicals to the air we breathe"  Anne Steinemann, PhD, a University of Washington.


Toxins in Your Home:

Eliminating the Toxic Mixture

By Edward R Close, PhD, PE

and Jacquelyn A Close, RA

A 1985 EPA report concluded that the toxic chemicals in household cleaners are three times more likely to cause cancer than outdoor air pollution. Also, a report by the Consumer Product Safety Commission on chemicals commonly found in homes identified 150 that have been linked to allergies, birth defects, cancer and psychological abnormalities. With windows sealed shut in the winter to conserve heat and save energy, and in the summer to hold in the cool air-conditioned air, these toxins build up to higher and higher levels.

Household cleaning products are among the most toxic substances we encounter daily. In one study conducted over a 15-year period, women who cleaned their own homes had a 54% higher death rate from cancer than women who did not. The study concluded that the increased death rate was due to daily exposure to hazardous chemicals found in ordinary household products. In addition to their inherent toxicity, these products also create tons of toxic waste which is disposed of in the environment in the form of air and water pollution and solid toxic waste.


Articles on the Toxins in Chemical Cleaners and Things You Can Do To Improve the Health of Your Home

Chemical Products and Asthma

Hazardous ingredients in common cleaning and maintenance products.

The Dirt on Cleaning Product Companies

Disinfectant Overkill

Household Cleaning Products: What Every Woman Should Know

What’s That Smell? Chemicals of Concern Commonly Found in Fragrance Used in Cleaning Products

Toxic Chemicals: The Cost to Our Health

Get Rid of Toxic Dust Build-Up

Go Shoeless in the House   

Cleaning for Home Health...The Plain Facts!


The article below is from Dr. Gideon Koren. He is a pediatrician, pharmacologist and toxicologist.

When the air is tested in parts of a house where cleaners are stored, it is measuring volatile organic compounds (VOCs). The meter won't tell you how strong or harmful the chemical particles might be. It will provide clues as to how many particles there are.

'Can always smell the cleaning products'

"You can always smell those cleaners even though they’re all tightly sealed."

Everywhere the cleaning products are kept, the readings jump. The average home normally reads about 50 parts per billion.

We asked to have tested three products that are often advertised on television: Pledge, Clorox Wipes and Lysol Disinfecting Spray.

Pledge registered 273 ppb. Anything over 500 could be a problem for people with sensitivities.

The Clorox Wipes came in at more than 1,000 ppb. The Lysol Disinfecting Spray was much higher — around 1,200 parts per million, or 1,000 times higher than the Clorox.


Young children especially vulnerable

Koren says young children are especially vulnerable, partly because of exposure. Everything goes in their mouths and they virtually live on the floor. And young kids are more sensitive because they are still developing the basic body systems: the brain, internal organs, respiratory and immune systems are not fully developed until adolescence.

Koren and his researcher are studying the babies of women who were exposed to chemical solvents in the workplace. They're finding vision problems.

"Vision is one of the functions of the human brain, so it means that these chemicals find themselves through the mum, through the umbilical cord, into the baby, into the developing brain, and damaging functions there, and the baby is born already with a problem," Koren said.

Dr. Virginia Salares specialized in indoor air quality. We asked her what's in some of the products being marketed to young families. One product we looked at — Lysol Anti-bacterial Action Spray — lists ethanol 79 per cent. Not just any ethanol, Salares, says. It's denatured ethanol.

Salares has put together a book for us, full of data sheets which lists the hazards of specific chemicals in the workplace. Here's what she discovered about denatured ethanol:

"May cause irritation of the eyes and mucous membranes, may cause central nervous system depression if inhaled or ingested."

There's also alkyl dimethyl benzyl ammonium chloride — a pesticide.

The ads suggest you can spray this every day, where kids are playing. Salares says that's something parents should think about.

"Do they want to spray the air people are breathing? Or that kids with toys or surfaces that children are touching, do they want them sprayed?"

Clorox Disinfecting Wipes lists two ingredients: dimethyl benzyl ammonia chloride .145 per cent and dimethyl ethyl benzyl ammonia chloride. Again, more pesticides.


If you can't pronounce it, should you use it?

"If you find that it has ingredients, which is a chemical you can’t even pronounce, you don’t know what it is, you don’t know how it can affect you. I think it’s about time you think, should I be using this?" Salares said.

The other product we looked at was Pledge. It doesn't list any ingredients at all. But Salares has looked into it.

"It has silicones…and it has butane gas…and propane."

And in glass cleaners?

"Some of them have what are called glycol ethers. and there’s concern over these products for workers who have been exposed occupationally. They have been seeing reproductive effects. In the semi-conductor industry they are being phased out," Salares said.



A Word About Germs...

The germiest places in your spaces!

I found this article on Today MSNBC and thought it was really great since a lot of people don't realize all the places that carry so many germs. I also added a few of my own.

Sure, there are outbreaks of microbes and viruses across the country, but some of these germs are lurking where you least expect them. Health magazine senior editor Frances Largeman-Roth pinpoints the 12 germiest places you’re likely to encounter during an average day and devises ways for you to keep clean. After all, the fight is in your hands. Literally. Eighty percent of infections are spread through hand contact. So wash up, people, and get ready to wage a bit of germ warfare of your own:

1. Your kitchen sink Kitchen sinks are dirtier than most bathrooms. There are typically more than 500,000 bacteria per square inch in the drain alone. Plus your sponge, basin and faucet handles are crawling with bacteria as well.

2. Airplane bathrooms It may not be a shock that there are a huge number of germs in most public bathrooms, but experts agree the cramped and overused ones on airplanes are the worst. There are often traces of E. coli or fecal bacteria on the faucets and door handles because it’s hard to wash hands in the tiny sinks. And the volcanic flush of the commode tends to spew particles into the air, coating the floor and walls with whatever had been swirling around in it.

3. A load of wet laundry Any time you transfer underwear from the washer to the dryer, you’re getting E. coli on your hands. Just one soiled undergarment can spread bacteria to the whole load and machine.

4. Public drinking fountains Drinking fountains are bound to be germy, but school fountains are the worst, with anywhere from 62,000 to 2.7 million bacteria per square inch on the spigot.

5. Shopping cart handles Saliva, bacteria and fecal matter are just a few of the substances found on shopping cart handles. Cart handles rank high on the yuck scale because they’re handled by dozens of people every day and, of course, raw food carries nasty pathogens. 

6. ATM's If you’re not careful, you might pick up more than quick cash from your local ATM. These buttons have more gunk on them than most public-bathroom doorknobs! ATMs aren’t frequently cleaned, and are regularly touched — a perfect combination for a lot of germs. 

7. Your handbag Recent studies found that most women’s purses had tens of thousands of bacteria on the bottom and a few were overrun with millions. Another study found bugs like pseudomonas (which can cause eye infections) and skin-infection-causing staphylococcus bacteria, as well as salmonella and E. coli.

8. Playgrounds Children tend to ooze bodily fluids and then spread them around. When researchers sampled playgrounds, they found blood, mucus, saliva and urine. Pair those findings with the fact that children put their fingers in their mouths and noses more than the rest of us, and it’s easy to understand why Junior (and maybe his mom or dad) has the sniffles.

9. Mats and Machines at Healthclubs Antibiotic-resistant staphylococcus has been found on yoga mats and cardio and resistance machines. At high schools, antibiotic-resistant-staph infections have been transmitted through wrestling mats. The same thing could happen at health clubs.

10. Your bathtub Shocking, but true: The place you go to get clean is quite dirty. A recent study found staphylococcus bacteria, a common cause of serious skin infections, in 26 percent of the tubs tested, as compared with just 6 percent of garbage cans. Tubs typically had more than 100,000 bacteria per square inch! You’re washing germs and viruses off your body and the tub is a fairly moist environment, so bacteria can grow. 

11. Your office phone This is enough to make you dial 911: Office phones often have more than 25,000 germs per square inch, and your desk, computer keyboard and mouse aren’t far behind. Phones, including cell phones, can be pretty gross because they get coated with germs from your mouth and hands.

12. The hotel-room remote control What’s the first thing you do when you settle in at a hotel? You grab the remote control and switch on the TV — you, and the hundreds of other guests who’ve stayed there. How dirty is it? A recent study tested various surfaces for the cold virus after a group of sick people had stayed overnight and found the virus on the remote, door handles, light switches, pens and faucet handles.

13. Shower Heads Experts say there is evidence linking showers to NTM.  A study headed by professor Norman Pace at UC Boulder found that 30 percent of shower heads harbor significant levels of disease-causing bacteria. "You can find this bacteria in shower heads and faucets," said Dr. Carol Fichtenbaum of the Infectious Disease Center at UC Health. NTM is a waterborne bacteria. To help prevent the problem experts suggest removing and soaking shower heads in a germ-killing cleaning agent. You can also increase the temperature in your water heater to 140 degrees to kill harmful bacteria.

A Few of My Own: Gas Pumps, Computer Mouse, Pens you use in Stores to Sign for your Credit Card Purchase, Home Remote Controls, Toilet Handles, Money, Cutting Boards, Cell Phones.

So what can you do to protect yourself?

  • Carry a bottle of sanitizer in your car and a small bottle in your purse

  • Use sanitizer after pumping gas, handling money, signing for card purchases, handling doors, before eating in a restaurant

  • Before handling a shopping cart at the store, wipe handle with disinfecting cloth

  • Soak a paper towel with lemon oil and use on bathroom fixtures and toilet seats

  • Mix 12 drops of lemon oil in a spray bottle with water and spray your home

  • Use the lemon oil mixture to clean your counter tops

  • Of course, hand washing is the single best defense against germs!






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