The Real Dirt on Clean
Are you living in a healthy home?
You 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.
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 bleach is the #1 household chemical involved
- Organic pollutants, found in many common cleaners and
even air fresheners, are 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 have been linked to
increasing the risk of your kids developing asthma, the most common serious 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).
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
Chemical ingredients to look out for: