Published on October 4th, 2012 | by Lisa Roggow0
Keep Out of Reach of Children
We are in an age of “Advertisement Driven Super Consumption.” Collectively as consumers, we are spending millions of dollars each year on chemical products for cleaning – everything from our toilets to our windows to our floors. With a competition-coerced market, products have to be packaged prettier, smell sweeter and work better than the competition.
We pile the industrial strength bottle of whatever next to the super fighting, newly improved bottle of whichever onto the top shelf of the locked cleaning cabinet to keep it out of reach of our children. Lets face it; we can read the label and don’t want their hands anywhere near it.
As consumers, we believe if our children don’t ingest these products they will not be harmed by them; not realizing the most common methods of exposure is through the skin and respiratory tract.
Children are frequently in contact with the chemical residues housecleaning products leave behind, by crawling, lying and sitting on the freshly cleaned floor or eating from the freshly washed highchair tray.
Pound for pound, children’s exposure levels are higher than adults because, although the amount of chemicals in an exposure remains equal, children’s bodies are smaller so the concentration is stronger. Their tiny immune systems are still developing, making children the highest risk population for chemical exposures through cleaning products.
For many of these same reasons, pets may also be at risk. Other populations with a pronounced risk are cancer survivors, the elderly, asthma and allergy sufferers and those with compromised immune systems.
Research points to the toxic effects of not only active but also inactive ingredients posing hazards that can affect the central nervous system, reproductive systems and other vital bodily systems.
Consumers often don’t have the time or know where to go to find important information about the products they use. To make matters worse, the information is often presented in highly scientific language that may be difficult to interpret.
Lets simplify. Three essential categories into which most of the hazardous ingredients in household cleaning products are:
1. Carcinogens– Carcinogens cause cancer and/or promote cancer’s growth.
2. Endocrine disruptors – Endocrine disruptors mimic human hormones, confusing the body with false signals. Exposure to endocrine disruptors can lead to numerous health concerns including reproductive, developmental, growth and behavior problems. Endocrine disruptors have been linked to reduced fertility, premature puberty, miscarriage, menstrual problems, challenged immune systems, abnormal prostate size, ADHD, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and certain cancers.
3. Neurotoxins – Neurotoxins alter neurons, affecting brain activity, causing a range of problems from headaches to loss of intellect.
Cleaning products are required by law to include label warnings if harmful ingredients are included. From safest to most dangerous, the warning signals are:
|Signal Word||Toxicity if swallowed, inhaled or absorbed through the skin*|
|Caution||One ounce to a pint may be harmful or fatal|
|Warning||One teaspoon to one ounce may be harmful or fatal|
|Danger||One taste to one teaspoon is fatal|
*for a 180-pound male
It may seem as if there is no product safe enough. Don’t worry, there are some very easy steps that can be taken to not only clean the home, but make it much safer place to call home.
Read the labels but don’t be fooled. The use of the word “green” in packaging does not always mean it passes the standard of an eco friendly alternative. Find and purchase cleaning solutions that bear the “Green Seal logo.” Avoid products with fragrances in general. A clean home should smell like nothing at all. Use homemade cleaning solutions made from good, old-fashioned common ingredients such as vinegar, baking soda, washing soda, lemon juice and borax.