Every April, we start the age-old process of spring cleaning our houses. Some of us may go into our sheds and other storage sites to take out our patio furniture. The decks need wiping and the grills need scrubbing, but have you ever considered what all the chemicals in your cleaning products can do to your health? The chemicals in these cleaning products damage our skin, cause headaches, lead to irritation of our eyes and airways, and if ingested/inhaled can even lead to death. Take for instance, the warning on a Glade Air Freshener: “Intentional misuse by deliberately concentrating and inhaling the contents can be harmful or fatal.” Yikes! Let’s take a look at some of the common chemicals found in these and other similar cleaning products.
Products such as aerosol sprays, cleansers, air-fresheners, and disinfectants emit what are called volatile organic compounds. VOC’s are emitted as gases from certain solids or liquids. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), concentrations of many VOCs are consistently higher indoors (up to ten times higher) than outdoors. These compounds have been found to have numerous amounts of health effects ranging from eye, nose, and throat irritation to even cancer. Petroleum distillate is a common chemical that you might find in your cleaning products. This hydrocarbon is found in certain furniture polishes, paint solvents, adhesives, and automotive chemicals. One other chemical you should be wary of is phthalates. They are used to stabilize synthetic perfumes, so if a cleaning product says “fragrance” it most likely contains phthalates.
There are many other chemicals found in your household cleaning products than what has been listed here. It is important to read the labels and research whether or not the company is truly using “natural” ingredients. The government only requires companies to list “chemicals of known concern” on their labels. In 2012, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) released their cleaning products hall of shame list which revealed the household cleaning products that are the most dangerous and should be avoided.
Lucky Vitamin is proud to carry various brands of cleaning products that are free of volatile organic compounds, phthalates, petroleum distillate, and other potentially harmful and deadly chemicals. For example, a safer alternative to air fresheners are products such as Aura Cacia aromatherapy mist which only contains water and various essential oils. Also, shop Mrs. Meyers non-aerosol room freshners. This spring time don’t let the fear of what’s in your cleaning aids stop you from making your house sparkle like it should.