Green Living QA: What Are The Most Common, Toxic Things People Do In Their Homes?
06/12/2012 | 11:51 AM
What would you say is one of the most common and most toxic things people do in their homes?
It may seem surprising, but using the everyday tried and true products to clean our homes is a terribly toxic thing to do. Researchers around the world are now finding links between the increase in asthma and allergies and household cleansers. In Great Britain, for example, researchers have found a clear association between childhood asthma and wheezing and the frequent use of bleach, disinfectants, and air fresheners. Children were twice as likely to develop breathing problems if their mother/father regularly used these products. Researchers say just spraying a cleaner once a week can trigger an attack and the risk increased the more that the sprays were used. According to the Center of Disease Control (CDC), asthma is the number one reason for school absenteeism in America and more children suffer from it than any other chronic disease.
If you're reading labels expecting to get the whole picture, know that they provide only limited information. Read the label on most conventional cleaners and you'll see that "inert ingredients" can make up over 90 percent of the product's volume. Now, the word "inert" doesn't mean inactive or neutral as you might believe. The EPA categorized "inert" ingredients as causing long-term health damage and harm to the environment. These ingredients include solvents, dispersal agents, dyes and fragrances, some of which can pollute the air and water. If you look closely you will also find the words "Hazardous to Humans and Domestic Animals." Whey would we want to use these products when there are safe alternatives on store shelves?
- Use your nose. If a product smells strong and makes your eyes water, you can bet there's some nasty chemical stuff in the bottle. Remember, cleansers can emit fumes (even while stored) and can affect your home's air quality.
- Be wary of products that make cleaning too easy. If you don't need to scrub at least a little bit, you should question why.
- Make your own. Try hydrogen peroxide, vinegar and baking soda as alternatives. You can find recipes in my book "Super Natural Home."
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