Some of us are more health conscious than others. Those who are, tend to focus on their consumption of food, drinks, and exercise regimes. But what are we doing to control our environments, mainly in our homes? What about the dangerous chemicals in the home?
Many of us are unaware of the dangerous chemicals we use in our homes. But the fact of the matter is there are dangerous chemicals in household products. We clean our kitchens with these products: dish washing detergents (both hand and automatic dishwashers), sink cleaners, floor cleaners, counter top disinfectants and oven cleaners. We scrub our bathrooms with: cleansers, bathtub and tile cleaners, toilet bowl cleaners, and we clean our medicine cabinet mirrors with window cleaner. We shampoo our carpets, scrub our walls and clean our windows, all with chemicals. We don’t think twice about it! But we need to be aware that there are dangerous chemicals in everyday products and of the dangers in household chemicals.
The core of the issue
According to environmental experts, there is an average of sixty-two (62) toxic chemicals in most homes that we are exposed to on a regular basis. This includes phthalates in synthetic fragrances to the noxious fumes in oven cleaners. These ingredients are linked to asthma, cancer, reproductive disorders, neurotoxicity (adverse effects on the nervous system) and hormone disruption. This is the result of dangerous chemicals in the home.
There are chemicals in our products that are banned in Europe because of their toxicity. However, in the US, there’s no federal regulation of chemicals in household products. In terms of household cleaners, neither ingredients nor products must meet any sort of safety standard, nor is any testing data or notification required before bringing a product to market, according to scientists at a well-known activist group.
Producers of these products contend that in small amounts these toxic ingredients aren’t likely to be a problem. However, when we’re exposed to them routinely, and in combinations that haven’t been studied, it’s impossible to accurately gauge the risks. While a few products cause immediate reactions from acute exposure (e.g. headaches from fumes, skin burns from accidental contact), different problems arise with repeated contact. Chronic exposure adds to the body’s toxic burden. That term represents the number of chemicals stored in body tissues at a given time. This toxic body burden is the major worry in relation to toxic chemicals in the home.
While no one can avoid exposure to toxic chemicals totally, the danger is daily, weekly, chronic exposure over a lifetime. While it is true to be exposed to a chemical for an insignificant number of times wouldn’t cause harm, over time some chemicals build up enough or cause enough harm in your body to trigger a disease consequence. The body burden concept sheds light on the fact that pollution is not just accumulating in our air and water it’s also accumulating in us!
The dangerous chemicals in household products
Next we’ll take a look at some of the greatest toxic ingredients found in common household products.
Many fragranced household products, such as air fresheners, dish soap, even toilet paper contain phthalates. You probably won’t see the word on a label. However, if you see the word fragrance, phthalates are probably present.
Phthalates are known endocrine disruptors. Men with higher concentrations in their blood had correspondingly reduced sperm counts. Although exposure to phthalates mainly occurs through inhalation, it can also happen through skin contact with scented soaps, which is a significant problem. The skin has no safeguards against toxins as the digestive system. Therefore, absorbed chemicals go straight to organs. [Nice!]
This chemical is contained in dry-cleaning solutions, spot removers, and carpet and upholstery cleaners.
Perc is a Neurotoxin and the EPA classifies it as a possible carcinogen as well. People exposed to perc continually such as those who live in residential buildings where dry cleaners are located have reported dizziness, loss of coordination and other symptoms. In fact, the EPA has ordered a phase-out of perc machines in residential buildings by 2020. California plans to eliminate all use of perc by 2023. It is most often exposed through inhalation. The odor on clothes when they return from the dry cleaner is a sure sign and also the fumes that linger after cleaning carpets. We all have to use the dry cleaner to one extent or another. It’s best to remove the plastic cover and allow items to air out before using them.
This one is found in most liquid dish washing detergents and hand soaps labeled “antibacterial.”
Triclosan is an aggressive antibacterial agent that can promote the growth of drug-resistant bacteria. There no evidence that it makes us healthier or safer. The concern is overusing these antibacterial chemicals — that’s how microbes develop resistance. Other studies have now found dangerous concentrations of triclosan in rivers and streams, where it is toxic to algae. It is a probable carcinogen and is being investigated whether it may also disrupt endocrine (hormonal) function.
Quarternary Ammonium Compounds, or “QUATS”
These gems are usually found in fabric softener liquids and sheets, and most household cleaners labeled “antibacterial.”
Quats are another type of antimicrobial. Therefore, they pose the same problem as triclosan by helping breed antibiotic-resistant bacteria. They’re also a skin irritant. A study of contact dermatitis found quats to be one of the leading causes. They are also suspected as a cause for respiratory disorders: There’s evidence that even healthy people who are exposed to quats on a regular basis develop asthma as a result. [Nice!]
You’ll find these in window, kitchen and multipurpose cleaners.
2-butoxyethanol is the key ingredient in many window cleaners and gives them their characteristic sweet smell (all that’s sweet isn’t sugar). It belongs in the category of “glycol ethers,” a set of powerful solvents that don’t mess around. Law does not require 2-butoxyethanol to be listed on a product’s label In addition to causing sore throats when inhaled, at high levels glycol ethers can also contribute to narcosis, pulmonary edema, and severe liver and kidney damage. Although there is a standard on 2-butoxyethanol for workplace safety, if we’re cleaning our homes in a confined area, such as an unventilated bathroom, we can actually end up getting this chemical in the air at levels that are higher than workplace safety standards. [Watch out!]
Commonly found in: polishing agents for bathroom fixtures, sinks and jewelry; also in glass cleaners.
Since ammonia evaporates and doesn’t leave streaks, it’s another common ingredient in commercial window cleaners. But there’s a price for the sparkle. Ammonia is a powerful irritant. Its effects are immediate. Those most affected are those who have asthma, and the elderly with lung issues and respiratory problems. It’s almost always inhaled. Those who get a lot of ammonia exposure, like housekeepers, will often develop chronic bronchitis and asthma. I once inhaled a little more ammonia than I should have while doing a household chore and I developed one of the nastiest colds ever. Ammonia can also create a horribly smelling, poisonous gas if it’s mixed with bleach.
Scouring powders, toilet bowl cleaners, mildew removers, laundry whitener, household tap water is where this chemical resides.
There are many avenues of exposure with chlorine. We’re getting exposed through fumes and possibly through skin when we clean with it, but because it’s also in city water to get rid of bacteria, we’re also getting exposed when you take a shower or bath. The health risks from chlorine can be acute as well as chronic; it’s a respiratory irritant at an acute level. But the chronic effects are what people don’t realize: It can be a serious thyroid disrupter.
This scary one is mainly found in oven cleaners and drain openers.
Commonly known as lye, sodium hydroxide is extremely corrosive. If it touches your skin or gets into your eyes, it can cause severe burns. Routes of exposure are skin contact and inhalation. Inhaling sodium hydroxide cuts your breath and can cause a sore throat that lasts for days.
How to avoid exposure
Wellness begins at home!
The best way to avoid being exposed to all the above toxins is to avoid them altogether. It’s a good idea to get these toxins out of our homes. This is best achieved by getting involved into today’s wellness movement. Wellness changes our environment to a proactive one instead of a reactive one. In my post/article https://universal-health-products.com/protecting-our-home-environment/ I detail alternatives to the common chemicals that we’re exposed to.
The most convenient way to accomplish this is through a comprehensive wellness company that offers a host of chemical and preservative free products. These range from household cleaners to delicious and nutritional smoothies!
For information on the best on-line wellness companies in North America featuring chemical free household products , send your request via email to firstname.lastname@example.org
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