Sparkle & Smile

Blog for Cleaner and Healthier Homes

Healthy Body

Avoiding Asthma and Allergy Irritants

Delicate membranes line the inner surface of the nose, windpipe and lungs. Some of us are more sensitive than others when inhaling things contained in the air.  There is some evidence suggesting a link between certain chemicals found in some household cleaning products and breathing ability.

The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences did a study of almost one thousand adults, showing a link between a chemical called 1,4 DCB (dichlorobenzene) and lung function. Those who had the highest levels of this chemical in their blood had worse lung function. 1,4 DCB is a white solid with a scent similar to mothballs, used in some room deodorizers, toilet bowl blocks, and for moth control. It may be surprising to hear that ingredients from solid and liquid cleaners can actually get inside our bodies. Yet, many liquids and even some solids give off vapors that we inhale, and some of these substances actually enter our body tissues.

Use your own nose to select cleaning products without harsh scents. When possible, choose simple, natural products whose labels do not carry serious hazard warnings.  Plain soap, water, salt, baking soda, vinegar, and lemon juice, along with a little elbow grease and a scrubbing sponge, can take care of many routine cleaning tasks. Follow the instructions on cleaning products and make sure the lids and caps are tightly closed when not in use. There is no replacement for good ventilation, so air out the house as weather permits, and use exhaust fans when cooking.

For more information on healthy green cleaning and green living, please log on to and  For more information on “Household Cleaning Products and Breast Cancer”, please watch our video at

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