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Green Home, Healthy Home

February 19, 2011

I read somewhere that the average home has between 25-50 pounds of cleaning products at any given time. The typical home has many different cleaning products each that claim to tackle a specific task with ease: Disinfectants, window cleaners, bathroom cleaners, floor cleaners, furniture polish, oven cleaners, dish soaps, and laundry detergents. What many people don’t know is that along with their “superb” cleaning ability, each product contains a host of ingredients that do more than just clean. A majority of these products contain toxic chemicals that not only have adverse effects on human health; they can harm animals and pollute the environment as well.

Here are a few of the chemicals you might see in your average household cleaning products: ammonia, chlorine, benzene, silica, triclosan, synthetic fragrance (parfum), 2-butoxyethanol/ ethylene glycol butyl ether, 1,4 dichlorobenzene (1,4 DCB), ethoxylated nonyl phenols (NPEs) trisodium nitrilotriacetate (NTA). These chemicals are hormone disruptors, carcinogens, reproductive toxins, respiratory irritants and neurotoxins. Health risks associated with using such chemicals range from allergic reactions, asthma and other respiratory issues, to neurological disorders, poisonings, cancer, and even death. To add insult to injury, we flush most of these products down the drain and into our wastewater systems where they eventually come in contact with wildlife, and even find their way into our drinking water & air.

Conventional cleaning products are, simply put, a bad idea. We don’t have to use them though. Using simple ingredients from around the house, we can effectively and safely clean our homes. I have been using natural cleaning products for over 2 years now, and my home has never been healthier. We don’t use products that claim to kill bacteria, and yet we manage to stay healthy! Hmmm…

Over a series of posts, I’ll be sharing my household cleaning routines with you. I still try new products from time to time, and I’ll be sure to share any updates or product recommendations with you as needed.  My first post in this series, the bathroom, will follow.

For more on toxic cleaning chemicals: Environmental Working Group

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