By Leslie Fields, Owner of Leslie’s Cleaning Services, Inc. (since 2001), Certified Cleaning Technician and Manufacturer of ONE Cleaning Products
The air inside our homes is 2 to 5 times more polluted than the air outside. As the owner of a cleaning company that focuses on creating healthier environments, I am very aware of the impact cleaning products can have on a space. But did you know the average household contains approximately 62 toxic chemicals? Ingredients in common household products have been linked to asthma, cancer, reproductive disorders, hormone disruption and neurotoxicity.
Here is a list of some toxic products to avoid:
- Air fresheners: Most air fresheners mask odors with a synthetic fragrance or numb your sense of smell with chemical anesthetics. Aerosol air fresheners spew out tiny droplets of chemicals that are easily inhaled into the lungs. Instead, ventilate well and choose natural deodorizers, such as zeolite, essential oils or baking soda, which contain minerals that absorb odors.
- Drain, oven, and toilet cleaners: Lye and acids found in these cleaners are very harmful to your lungs and skin. Instead,de-grease and deodorize sink and drains with 1/2 c of baking soda followed by one cup of vinegar; leave 15 minutes; rinse with hot water. This can also be used prior to scrubbing your toilet bowl. Prevent clogged drains by using hair and food traps
- Canned food: Food cans are lined with an epoxy resin that contains bisphenol-A (BPA). BPA has been linked to hormone disruption, obesity, heart disease, and much more. Opt for fresh, frozen, dried or jarred foods.
- Dry-cleaning: Perchloroethylene, has been linked to cancer, nervous system, kidney, liver and reproductive disorders. EPA studies found that people who visited a dry-cleaning shop showed twice as much perchloroethylene in their breath. EPA also found that levels of perchloroethylene remained elevated in a home for as long as one week after placing newly dry-cleaned clothes in a closet. Remove the dry cleaning bags before hanging in your closet. Try wet-cleaning, CO2 technology, or even hand-washing.
- Bottled water: Bottled water can be even more contaminated than tap water. In fact, some bottled water is tap water packaged in plastic that leaches chemicals into the water. From manufacture to disposal, bottled water creates an enormous amount of pollution – making our water even less drinkable. Invest in a reusable stainless steel water bottle and a water filter.
- Perfumes: Fragrances can consist of hundreds of chemicals. Among the chemicals of concern is diethyl phthalate (DEP) that is absorbed through the skin and can accumulate in human fat tissue. Phthalates are suspected carcinogens and hormone disruptors that are increasingly being linked to reproductive disorders.
- Oil-based paints and finishes: There are 300 toxic chemicals and 150 carcinogens potentially present in oil-based paint. Look for water-based options – ideally those that are low, or no, VOC. You could also explore natural finishes like milk paint and vegetable or wax-based wood finishes.
- Don’t use products made with triclosan, an antimicrobial. Triclosan has been linked to increased allergen sensitivity and disruption of thyroid function even at low levels.
Making a few easy changes can have a huge impact on the quality of your home air and thus the quality of your family’s health and well being!