Most people don’t realize that fresh-scented chemical cleaners may be doing them more harm than good. Most cleaning products today contain Volatile Organic Compounds, or VOCs, which, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, have been found to cause harm to the human body and the environment.
Short term effects of using toxic household cleaners may be nose, eye, and skin irritation, especially when using them in a poorly ventilated area. The EPA states that using these products over a long period of time can have a more serious impact on human health.
A study published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, stated that the use of household cleaners containing certain VOC’s resulted in an increased risk of developing asthma. Another recent study suggested other cleaning sprays can reduce lung function by up to 4%.
Toxic household cleaners also affect our aquatic environment. When tested, 70% of stream water contained products of detergents, while 66% contained disinfectant chemicals. Volatile Organic Compounds are also known to feed algae, causing a massive algae overgrowth which robs the aquatic ecosystem of oxygen, starving the fish and other wildlife of the oxygen they need to survive.
Making your own cleaning products using natural ingredients like baking soda, vinegar, and lemons can help keep your family healthier and free of non-toxic chemicals. These natural products have a multitude of uses around your home.
Baking soda can be used to clean countertops and ovens, while vinegar can be used to clean windows and laundry. Lemon juice can be poured down your drains to eliminate odors, or it can be added to a vinegar cleaning solution to cover the smell of the vinegar.
Some consumers prefer to buy green cleaning products. These products claim to use natural ingredients which are better for the environment and better for human health. Make sure the product has the Green Seal approval.
Avoid toxic disinfectants, sprays, and moth repellants, as these products may contain hazardous VOC’s. Look for products that display the ingredients on the label, as cleaning product manufacturers are not required to list toxic chemicals. If they are not afraid to list their ingredients, they may be better for human health.