If you’re like me, when kids came into your world you wanted everything in your home to be as clean as possible. You probably went to great lengths to disinfect everything because you wanted your child to live in the cleanest environment. And you may have even safely assumed that as long as the cleaning supplies you were using weren’t bothering you, they weren’t bothering your baby either. Sadly, that’s not true.
Here are 4 of the most toxic ingredients that are found in almost every popular cleaning product:
Formaldehyde: this is a colorless gas found in many household products (including personal care products that are marketed to children). At the very least, it can cause watery eyes, eye and/or throat irritation and nausea. It’s especially harmful to asthma sufferers. Some people have suffered from skin rashes and other severe allergic reactions. According to the EPA, formaldehyde has been proven to cause cancer is animals and is strongly suspected of cancer in humans. Unfortunately, manufacturers are not required to list this as an ingredient.
O-Phenylphenol: this ingredient is found mainly in disinfecting wipes. This ingredient appears on California’s Hazardous Chemical List. While more and more companies are moving away from inclusion of this agent, it pays to read the labels and ensure that your product does not include it. This dangerous ingredient has been shown to cause damage to the heart, lungs and kidneys.
Benzene: this ingredient is a solvent that has been shown to cause tremors and attack the bone marrow. This means that those who are exposed are at higher risk for leukemia.
Several studies have shown that these ingredients are toxic due to inhalation. However, the gasses that are present during the cleaning process evaporate and then redeposit themselves mainly on furniture and soft objects like pillows, blankets, stuffed animals and soft toys.
Children spend a majority of their days putting objects into their mouths. Therefore, they are taking in far more toxins than adults in the first place, even though adults are using the products directly. In addition, adults have the ability to excrete toxins or store them in fat cells. They also have immune systems that help protect against any potential side effects.
Children don’t yet have the ability to excrete toxins or store them away in their fat cells. And because their immune systems are not yet fully developed, they are at greater risk for the inevitable side effects. It’s important to note as well that expectant mothers who are exposed to these toxins are storing them in their fat cells. And those fat cells are being utilized by the unborn baby for nourishment.
But not all “green” cleaners are created equal. Some of the big box companies are using words like “green” or “natural” on their labels as marketing ploys. As a responsible consumer, it is important that you read labels or create your own healthy alternatives. Because believe it or not, it is possible to have a home that is clean and toxin free.