Many of the cleaners that you might use on an everyday basis contain toxic chemicals which can lead to short term problems like eye and skin irritation, as well as long term problems like asthma, birth defects, and cancer
When you think of the happy children and smiling mothers in cleaning product commercials, can you imagine those children and mothers breathing in the same fumes that come from the very product they are trying to advertise? Many of the cleaners that you might use on an everyday basis contain toxic chemicals which can lead to short term problems like eye and skin irritation, as well as long term problems like asthma, birth defects, and cancer.
Whether the cleaning chemical affects everyone the same or just an individual with a specific allergy, cleaning chemicals have been known to cause itchy, red, inflamed, or burning skin. Obviously cleaning products weren’t designed to be applied directly to the skin, but the accidental slip-up can result in discomfort and sometimes even excruciatingly painful skin problems. Avoid contact of the skin with cleaning products by wearing protective gloves when you use them.
Asthma is a growing problem, and is getting worse with the lack of understanding about how household cleaners can contribute to it. Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are fumes that can cause inflammation of the lungs and difficulty breathing and are found in cleaning products, nail polish remover, paint, polishes, furnishings, scented candles, and even room fresheners. Asthma can affect the body in two ways: someone can develop asthma when his or her immune system sees the chemical as something foreign, or someone’s asthma can worsen with the contact of the chemicals.
Although it is generally agreed that breathing the VOCs from cleaning chemicals can cause asthma, the lack of exposure to microbes and infections at a young age can cause the immune system to be more susceptible to asthma. This is called the hygiene hypothesis, according to Society of Toxicology. Reduce the use of cleaning chemicals by cleaning with natural cleaning products, like water, soap, steam vapor, vinegar, baking soda, and elbow grease – but watch out for products that claim to be “green,” because they often have harmful chemicals in them. Read the labels!
One problem with cleaning chemicals you may not know about is that they have been linked to reproductive problems such as infertility, menstrual changes, reproductive organ cancers, miscarriages, premature births, and changes in onset of puberty. Thanks to a study conducted in France and reported by Environmental Health News, “pregnant women with regular exposure to solvents at work were more likely to have a baby born with an oral cleft birth defect than pregnant women without regular exposure to chemical solvents.” Cleaning chemicals contain reproductive toxins and hormone disruptors, and can cause serious harm to both woman and child.
Anything scented, especially candles and air fresheners, are known to release carcinogens, or cancer-inducing chemicals such as formaldehyde and naphthalene. If you still want candles, stick with beeswax candles only. And if you need to get stains out, use vinegar for juice stains, ice for stuck gum, isopropyl alcohol and peroxide for grease stains, and milk, white wine, or club soda mixed with peroxide for red wine stains.
So why is it so easy for just anyone to walk into a grocery store and purchase one of these cleaning products? There are no legal requirements for labels on cleaning products, which means that the companies that make the cleaning products can leave out important health consequences. Because of this lack of health information from the cleaning product companies, consumers are often left in the dark about which products they should avoid, oftentimes buying the product that causes the most harm.