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The Dirt On Toxic Chemicals In Your Household Cleaning Products

We assume they are safe. But in fact, many popular household cleaners are dangerously toxic. Learn about some of the scariest substances hiding in your home and how to replace them with safer, more natural options that really work better.

We buy these products to fight germs, streaks, stains and odours to keep our homes sparkling clean and even to wash ourselves - body, hair, teeth etc. Cleaning is supposed to be about maintaining a healthy home, yet some everyday household cleaning products contain chemicals that can harm human health and our precious environment.

What a mess!

Most of us use cleaning products to clean about the house, the car and our yards, they linger in the air and we breathe them in. Researchers in the U.S.A. have identified 133 unique volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emitted from a small sample of consumer products, including six cleaning products. Each product tested emitted between 1-8 chemicals classified a toxic or hazardous under U.S. federal laws. The air inside our homes is often times more polluted than the air outside, by a cocktail of chemicals from everything from the carpet, furniture, cabinets, paint on the walls, fridge, clothing etc. To clear most of these from the air, this can be achieved by using a high quality air purifier/ioniser like the LightAir Ionflow model we use in our home. It is made in Sweden and is very effective! You soon see what would have normally have been breathed into the lungs of everyone in your family, when you clean the collector. See this short video on how it works to purify the air inside your home.

Chemicals in cleaning products can also enter our bodies by absorption through our skin or through ingestion of household dust and chemical residues left on dishes and cutlery. And when cleaning products are flushed down the drain, they can have a serious impact on aquatic ecosystems.

Nobody can avoid exposure to toxic chemicals altogether, but it is possible to significantly reduce it. Listed below are several of the worst chemicals that are found in general cleaning products that you buy from your local supermarkets.

  • Ammonia

Found in window cleaners, drain cleaners, toilet cleaners, oven cleaners, stainless steel cleaners, car polish and all-purpose cleaners. The vapours may irritate the skin, eyes, throat and lungs. People with asthma may be particularly sensitive to the effects of breathing ammonia. It can also cause kidney and liver damage. While ammonia also occurs naturally, the use of cleaning products containing this substance can result in higher levels of exposure to vapours than natural sources. If it is mixed with products containing chlorine bleach (sodium hypochlorite), a highly poisonous gas is formed.

  • Triclosan

Found in dish soaps and disinfectants, as well as a wide range of other household products. Look for it listed as an "active ingredient" in antibacterial products which are very popular today. I have seen them at the checkouts in supermarkets, medical receptions, and at the gym. Triclosan is a toxic and suspected endocrine disrupter that can mimic or interfere with the function of hormones. The European Union classifies triclosan as irritating to the skin and eyes, and as very toxic to aquatic organisms, noting that it may cause long-term adverse effects in the aquatic environment. The Canadian Medical Association has called for a ban on antibacterial consumer products.

  • Phosphates

Found in dishwasher detergents, laundry detergents, and bathroom cleaners. Function as a fertiliser in water. High concentrations of phosphates in bodies of water can promote harmful algal blooms and increase in weed growth. This can cause oxygen levels in water to decline, potentially killing fish. Certain algae blooms produce chemicals that are toxic to animals and people who drink the water. Always look for Phosphate-free brands.

  • Quaternary Ammonium Compounds (Quats)

Found in bathroom cleaning products, all-purpose cleaners, fabric softeners and degreasers. Quats are known to cause occupational asthma in cleaning workers and preliminary evidence indicates they may cause adverse genetic and reproductive effects. Chemicals in this class are persistent in the environment an toxic to aquatic organisms.

Despite the numerous health concerns, cleaning product labels often do not give consumers enough information about their ingredients to allow people to make informed decisions on which ones are safer and which ones may harm their health.

If the bottle has a child proof cap... leave it on the shelf!

We recently detoxed our complete household and substituted many products with a range of safer, green & eco-friendly options that catered everything from laundry, floors, surface, bathroom, kitchen, personal care like body wash & soap, haircare, toothpaste, moisturisers, and even the dog shampoo!

Thank you.

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