ou know that good, healthy feeling you get when you’ve just cleaned house? Sorry to spoil it, but you may have just made your home dirtier.
The real dirt on clean.
Think of it this way. You wouldn’t let your kids play with toxic chemicals, so why would you let the baby crawl over a floor that’s just been wiped with them? That’s much more dangerous than the
orange juice that was just there. How dangerous? Just take a look at these statistics.
- Over 90% of poison exposures happen at home.
- Common chlorine bleach is the #1 household chemical involved in poisoning.
- Organic pollutants, found in many common cleaners and even air fresheners, are found at levels 2 to 5 times higher inside your home than out.
- A person who spends 15 minutes cleaning scale off shower walls could inhale three times the “acute one-hour exposure limit” for glycol ether-containing products set by the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment.
- Common cleaners give off fumes that can potentially increase the risk of kids developing asthma, the most common chronic childhood disease.
- 1 in 13 school-aged children has asthma. Rates in children under five have increased more than 160% from 1980 – 1994.
- Children are highly vulnerable to chemical toxicants. Pound for pound of body weight, children drink more water, eat more food, and breathe more air than adults. The implication of this is that children will have substantially heavier exposures than adults to any toxicants that are present in water, food, or air.
- If your home is anything like the average U.S. home, you generate more than 20 pounds of household hazardous waste each year (the EPA designates toilet cleaners, tub and tile cleaners, oven cleaners, and bleach as hazardous waste).
4 simple ways to Get Clean
Your home should be the safest, healthiest, cleanest place in the whole world.
So we’ve put together some pretty easy things you can do to make your family safer and your home healthier. And, as it turns out, what’s good for your home is good for the earth and everyone else on it, too. So let’s make our homes healthy. Let’s clean our hearts out. Let’s Get Clean.
1. Get the dirt. Educate yourself about what you bring into your home at www.householdproducts.nlm.nih.gov/products.htm
2. Have a clean-for-all. Put on the gloves and get rid of the nasty stuff in your home. Responsibly, of course. Your local waste collection service has guidelines for proper household hazardous waste disposal, as well as collection sites for things like paint, batteries, and cleaners. Whatever you do, please don’t toss this stuff in the garbage.
3. Welcome healthy into your home. Commit to carefully considering everything that crosses your doorstep. Here are some safe, healthy things to have in your home:
- Cleaners that are truly cleaner. Get Clean offers product choices that are: nontoxic, natural, biodegradable, concentrated, and hypoallergenic. To learn more, please visit www.vitaminrepresentative.com.
- Fresh air. Open your windows to reduce indoor air pollution.
- Essential oils. Use these instead of air fresheners.
- Plants. Besides being nice to look at, they can absorb harmful gases and help clean the air.
- Organic cotton bedding. Avoid standard bedding treated with chemicals.
- Floors made of recycled and renewable resources.
- Healthier paint. That new paint smell can be as nasty as it smells. Choose low VOC paint instead.
4. Clean up our collective home. Make the earth healthier for all of us who call it home by using these things in yours:
- Compact fluorescent lighting. They last a whole lot longer. Energy Star-rated appliances. Save money and energy.
- A low-flush toilet. Replace the largest user of water in your house. Ultra low flushers cut water use by one-fifth.
- Low-flow showerheads. Same pressure. Less water.
- Your flicker finger. Turn off lights and appliances when you’re not using them.
- Gray water system. Install one to recycle used household water for your lawn.
- Tankless water heater. Save money, energy, and space in the broom closet. Use it to store your new Get Clean Starter Kit.
To find out what’s lurking on your shelves, go to the National Institutes of Health Library of Medicine Household Products Database. You can search almost any brand of cleaner you use, find out what’s in it, and uncover its links to health effects. Or search by chemical ingredients (see list below for some examples) and discover what brands contain it. The information may shock you.
Chemical ingredients to look out for:
- Sodium hydroxide
- Hydrochloric acid
- Butyl cellosolve (2-Butoxyethanol)
- Bleach (sodium hypochlorite)
- Sulfamic acid
- Petroleum distillates
- Sulfuric acid
- Lye (potassium hydroxide)
This may seem like a lot to take in, and you may feel like it would be really hard to change. Don’t worry… you don’t necessarily have to do everything all at once. Start by simply making better choices when you shop. Before you know it, you’ll have a healthier home.