Keeping harmful elements out of reach of the children is insufficient when it comes to exposure. Aside from ingesting chemicals, our bodies are exposed to chemicals and their residue by breathing them in or absorbing them through the single largest organ we all have: Our skin. We tend to think once we have cleaned surfaces they are safe to use, to lay on, to roll around, crawl, sit or sleep on.
Children and toddlers literally live a hand-to-mouth existence wherein the fingers go from surfaces to the mouth and nose. Consider the highchair tray that was just cleaned and the food going from that surface straight into the mouth. The residue from Portland OR house cleaning chemicals is greater for children and animals than that for adults due to their smaller size, fragile or still developing immune systems and their proximity to surfaces adults rarely frequent, such as the floor.
Why Not Just Dilute the Cleaners?
It may make logical sense that diluting off-the-shelf cleaners would reduce the risk of exposure until you take into account the cumulative effects of many chemicals. As these chemicals do not purge easily from the body, even minimal exposure builds up to toxic levels over time. A recent medical study performed in the state of Iowa drew a correlation between cleaning services as an occupation and bladder cancer. The routine use of cleaning solvents in the home predisposes occupants to this form of bio accumulation of chemicals in the body.
Three Main Areas of Concern
Household cleaners, disinfectants and polishes contain both active and inactive ingredients that pose a threat to the body’s central nervous and reproductive systems. Most of these hazardous ingredients fall into three essential categories, which are:
- Carcinogens, or cancer causing agents
- Endocrine disrupters, which mimic human hormones sending false signals that confuse the body
- Neuro toxins, which alter the neurons in the brain, the signals that send instructions to the body
Some of the health concerns from exposure to household cleaning chemicals include:
Abnormal prostate size
Compromised immune systems
Certain other cancers
Some of the chemicals to be careful to avoid are:
Pesticides, alkylphenol ethoxylates (APEs), which are surfactants that help spread cleaning solutions more easily and to penetrate solids
Formaldehyde, found in many disinfectants
Organochlorines, such as those found in pesticides, degreasers, detergents and bleaches
Styrene, found on most plastics and Styrofoam
Phthalates, found in plastics and known to penetrate the skin
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), which are gas emitters present in air fresheners, disinfectants and deodorizers
Industrial strength products may be fine for industries, but the household has no need for such powerful toxins. Research the Internet for organic household cleaners and learn to identify the risky elements contained in off-the-shelf commercial consumer goods. You may find there are plenty of choices that do as good a job, if not better, without posing a threat to your home and family.