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Natural Cleaning Products

Use Natural Cleaning Products to reduce the Toxic Risk around your home

Maybe you live in a nice house smelling of alpine meadows with a sparkling bathroom, lovely clean and polished surfaces.

What if someone were to come into your lovely shining home and mix up a cocktail of unknown chemicals for you and your family to distribute around the house. Would you allow it? Of course not. You wouldn't want potentially poisonous chemicals around your house to pose a risk of contamination to the air you breath or to what your family eat and drink.

Disturbingly however, they may already be there.

Brought into your home as unseen and unlabelled additives in many of the cleaning products that are commonly available to keep your house sparkling clean.

You may think that the ingredients in household products are safe having been tested by the authorities and cleared for use because they are known to pose no threat. Sadly, nothing could be further from the truth.

In reality many hazardous chemicals are added to consumer goods. Some of these are known to be hazardous, but current legislation allows for their continued use. This is because the regulations work on 'safe limits' of exposure for individual products. The weaknesses of this approach are that they do not add up accumulated doses from multiple sources of exposure, and neither do they take into account the effect on children and unborn infants, the dosages allowed being based on adult tolerance levels.

A study by the European Environment Agency carried out in 1998 noted that ''widespread exposures to low levels of chemicals may be causing harm, possibly irreversibly, particularly to sensitive groups such as children and pregnant women..''

Consider some of these common types of household cleaning product and what threat they may carry.

Air Fresheners
Many of these products contain formaldehyde and phenol. The former is a known carcinogen and the later can cause skin irritation.

Antibacterial Cleaners
May contain triclosan, which has been connected to liver damage and is readily absorbed through the skin

Carpet and upholstery shampoo
Many contain perchlorethane, which is a carcinogen which damages the liver, kidneys and central nervous system. Ammonium hydroxide may also be present which is a corrosive compound, extremely irritating to the eyes, skin and respiratory system.

Dishwasher detergents
Studies have shown these to be the foremost cause of home poisoning incidents. Most products contain the dry form of chlorine. Scientists and engineers do not handle chlorine without protective clothing. It is extremely dangerous and can very easily be lethal. Indeed, it was the first agent to be used in World War One as a chemical warfare agent.

Dishwashing liquids are labelled 'harmful if swallowed' yet it is used to wash your dishes. Can we be certain that no residues are left on your crockery to be picked up by your food?

Furniture polish
Commonly contain nitrobenzene, which is highly toxic and easily absorbed through the skin. Petroleum distillates may also be present, which are highly flammable and have been linked to skin and lung cancer.

Laundry products.
These present a veritable cocktail of chemicals, including ammonia, phosphourous, naphthalene and phenol along with numerous others. They can all cause irritation to the skin, allergies and sinus problems. Any residue left in your clothes can be absorbed into your body through the skin.

Oven cleaner
These are the most powerful toxic products that you can introduce into your home. They contain ammonia and other chemicals which can irritate the skin, and produce fumes which can attack the respiratory system. Any residue left in your oven may be intensified when you next use it.

Toilet cleaner
These usually contain hydrochloric acid which is highly corrosive, the eyes and skin being particularly vulnerable to attack, and known to be harmful to the liver and kidneys. If mixed with other chemical products, chlorine can be produced which can be fatal in high concentrations.

The above is a brief overview of the possible risks, and it must be stressed that the effects noted for the individual chemicals are for high levels of exposure. However, the point being made by many agencies such as Greenpeace is that the level of exposure in the home is unknown and unmonitored.

What can you do as a householder to minimise the risk to yourself and your family? Well, if you are able, you may want to try talking to your grandmother, as past generations have had to undertake most modern cleaning tasks without the intervention of the chemical industry. For instance, she may have used common salt and baking soda to clean the oven and not risk poisoning anyone.

The easiest way to avoid the risk is to avoid the products. Governments are not going to outlaw the chemicals, and the manufacturers are not going to replace them unless they are forced to do so, either by regulation or by consumer pressure.

There are a growing number of manufacturers who are producing safe products based on natural ingredients that do not present the same threats as the more established and heavily promoted products.

This post first appeared on Home Improvement, please read the originial post: here

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