Shared from Naked Health
Do you really know what’s under your kitchen sink, on the garage shelf, or stashed away in the bathroom and laundry room? You use these cleaning products all the time, but you may have never considered what’s actually in them, and the effect it might have on your family’s health. Many contain chemicals associated with eye, skin, and respiratory irritation, and some have been linked to asthma, birth defects, and certain cancers.
The American Association of Poison Control Centers reports more than 210,000 calls to poison control centers in 2009 about household products. 125,000 of those calls concerned children under the age of five, who likely found toxic chemicals close at hand in their kitchens and bathrooms.
You might be surprised at some of the worst offenders; these cleaning products contain chemicals and ingredients suspected or known to be health hazards, but they are easily found at every grocery store.
All-purpose cleaners often contain ammonia and chlorine bleach. Ammonia can cause severe eye irritation, headaches and lung damage. At higher concentrations, ammonia exposure can leave chemical burns or cause severe damage to eyes and respiratory tract. Bleach can be fatal if swallowed by children or pets, and combining ammonia and chlorine bleach can create ammonia gas, which can be fatal if inhaled.
Ammonia is also extremely poisonous to fish and other aquatic life, even in small amounts. That means that any ammonia you wash down the drain could potentially contribute to the poisoning of your water supply.
Another potentially harmful product that may surprise you: air fresheners. Although the spray-type products are made to to be released into the air in your home, many contain extremely toxic chemicals that can aggravate respiratory problems like asthma. Some also contain phthalates, which have been shown to cause damage to the reproductive and endocrine systems, as well as being linked to some cancers and birth defects. Since the U.S. government doesn’t require companies to disclose the ingredients in these type of products, the toxins may not even be listed on the container.
Para-dichlorobenzene (p-DCB) is a chemical is found in solid products, like air fresheners, mothballs, and deodorizers for toilets and trashcans. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has classified p-DCB as a possible carcinogen; limited exposure can cause eye irritation and swelling, headaches, and nausea. It’s been shown to cause kidney and liver damage in animals.
Many antibacterial soaps, body washes, and cosmetic products contain triclosan, which has been found to negatively impact hormone regulation in animals. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is currently reviewing whether the chemical is safe for human use. While the evidence isn’t conclusive yet, the FDA does not that there is no proof that cleaning products with triclosan provide any benefit over washing with regular soap and water. Additionally, there is some evidence to suggest that triclosan contributes to making bacteria resistant to antibiotics.
Dibutyl phthalate, common in nail products and some makeup, is known to cause birth defects. It’s frequently detected in human blood and urine, which indicates high exposure among the U.S. population. Granted you’re not drinking your nail polish (at least, we hope not) but does this even sound like something you want in your house? It may also have endocrine-disrupting effects, may cause neurotoxicity, and is harmful to the reproductive system.
Acrylic acid is found in some surface and upholstery spray cleaners. This chemical compound severely irritating to the skin and respiratory tract, with the potential to produce chemical burns, and potentially harmful to a fetus if inhaled by a pregnant woman. If it got in your eyes it could cause serious injury, even permanent loss of vision.
Remember that companies advertising non-toxic cleaning products are not subject to even the somewhat lax rules food products are regarding their advertising claims. “Fresh,” “pure,” “natural,” and even “non-toxic” have no official definition; these claims aren’t regulated by any federal or state agency. It’s up to the consumer, unfortunately, to police what is under their own kitchen sink.
Time to think Green? and live life longer!