The Hazards of Conventional Cleaning Products

It’s no secret that many conventional cleaning products you use around your home are extremely dangerous. There’s a reason they come affixed with detailed warning labels for use.

Were someone to accidentally mix one product with something else and create lethal fumes, if a child were to ingest or inhale it, or if an adverse physical reaction occurs–these manufacturers have to protect themselves against the ever potential threat of a lawsuit…because they already KNOW their product is dangerous!

Protect Your Health: Know the Dangers of Conventional Cleaning Products

As an educated, conscious consumer it’s important that you understand why these warning labels exist and the impact using these products will have on your health and the health of your family, pets, and children.

According to an article posted via the Organic Consumer’s Association:

 

Cleaning ingredients vary in the type of health hazard they pose. Some cause acute, or immediate, hazards such as skin or respiratory irritation, watery eyes, or chemical burns, while others are associated with chronic, or long-term, effects such as cancer.

The most acutely dangerous cleaning products are corrosive drain cleaners, oven cleaners, and acidic toilet bowl cleaners, according to Philip Dickey of the Washington Toxics Coalition. Corrosive chemicals can cause severe burns on eyes, skin and, if ingested, on the throat and esophagus. Ingredients with high acute toxicity include chlorine bleach and ammonia, which produce fumes that are highly irritating to eyes, nose, throat and lungs, and should not be used by people with asthma or lung or heart problems. These two chemicals pose an added threat in that they can react with each other or other chemicals to form lung-damaging gases. Combining products that contain chlorine and ammonia or ammonia and lye (in some oven cleaners) produces chloramine gases, while chlorine combined with acids (commonly used in toilet bowl cleaners) forms toxic chlorine gas.

Click to continue reading the full article How Toxic Are Your Household Cleaning Supplies, via The Organic Consumers Association.

 

An article found on GreenCleanCertified.com goes even further to mention three essential categories into which most of the hazardous ingredients in household cleaning products fall:

1. Carcinogens – Carcinogens cause cancer and/or promote cancer’s growth.

2. Endocrine Disruptors – Endocrine disruptors mimic human hormones, confusing the body with false signals.  Exposure to endocrine disruptors can lead to numerous health concerns including reproductive, developmental, growth and behavior problems. Endocrine disruptors have been linked to reduced fertility, premature puberty, miscarriage, menstrual problems, challenged immune systems, abnormal prostate size, ADHD, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and certain cancers.
3. Neurotoxins –Neurotoxins alter neurons, affecting brain activity, causing a range of problems from headaches to loss of intellect

Click to continue reading Household Cleaning Products May do More Harm than Good via GreenCleanCertified.com


Unfortunately I have had first hand experience with the affects of endocrine disruptors and neurotoxins.

For years I’ve suffered with a compromised immune system, fibromyalgia, depression, and most recently PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome) which resulted in premature menopause. All of this has been reason enough for me to start questioning the safety of the products I use.

Further research on the toxicity of conventional cleaning products resulted in a more specific list of chemicals and their sources to specifically avoid

(via Gaiam.com):

  • Chlorinated phenols found in toilet bowl cleaners are toxic to respiratory and circulatory systems.
  • Diethylene glycol found in window cleaners depresses the nervous system.
  • Phenols found in disinfectants are toxic to respiratory and circulatory systems.
  • Nonylphenol ethoxylate, a common surfactant (detergent) found in laundry detergents and all-purpose cleaners, is banned in Europe; it has been shown to biodegradeslowly into even more toxic compounds.
  • Formaldehyde found in spray and wick deodorizers is a respiratory irritant and suspected carcinogen.
  • Petroleum solvents in floor cleaners damage mucous membranes.
  • Perchloroethylene, a spot remover, causes liver and kidney damage.
  • Butyl cellosolve, common in all-purpose, window and other types of cleaners, damages bone marrow, the nervous system, kidneys and the liver. The list could fill a book. And it’s a book that would include thousands of other chemicals — some so dangerous that they’re found on lists of chemicals associated with Superfund toxic waste sites and in the toxins section of the U.S. Clean Air and Water Acts.

Click to read the full article, 8 Household Cleaning Agents to Avoid on Gaiam.com

 

For more information on specific consumer products and resources for creating a healthier home check out these other useful research links for more information:

  • scorecard.org – for more information on pollution sources in your community
  • toxnet.nlm.nih.gov – a resource for toxicology data, hazardous chemicals, environmental health, and toxic releases.
  • householdproducts.nlm.nih.gov – an easy to search resource for health & safety information on many household products.
  • ewg.org – find health & safety data on over 69,000 products on EWG’s Skin Deep cosmetics database
  • healthychild.org – visit this site for more resources on creating a healthy home environment for your children!
  • lowimpactliving.com – check out their site for more resources on a lighter footprint on our planet.
  • healthyhouseinstitute.com – the resource for a better, safer indoor environment.
  • greenseal.org – they develop life cycle-based sustainability standards for products, services and companies and offer third-party certification for those that meet the criteria in the standard.

 

Ready to make the switch to healthier cleaning products?

Click here for part 2 of this post: 4 Non-toxic Cleaning Solutions

4 non-toxic cleaning solutions

Darcey Rojas is the founder of The Compassionate Home. She is a Holistic Designer, Certified Design Psychology Coach, and Green Design Center Trade Partner dedicated to creating positive home environments that heal mind, body, and soul, strengthen family relationships, and nurture our true potential. Her approach to conscious home and lifestyle design involves designing spaces that meet our needs, encourage good habits, bring us closer to our loved ones, and support our health and wellbeing on a mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual level.

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