Green Living, Health

Is Your Home Toxic?

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Does Your Cleaning Routine Produce Toxic Results?

The toxic chemicals found in everyday household products can be absorbed through the skin and may lead to liver toxicity, cancer or disorders of the nervous system. According to the National Research Council, of the chemicals used daily in American homes, 80% lack detailed toxic information, less than 20% have been tested for acute effects and surprisingly, less than 10% have been tested for chronic health damages and/or risks. Children may be the most vulnerable to these health risks since they often play on the floor and frequently touch their mouths and noses. Silent Spring Institute found concentrations of toxic chemicals in homes that have been linked to elevated cancer risk, 200 to 500 times higher than the concentrations found outside. The same study also found 55% higher breast cancer rates for women who worked inside the home rather than those who had jobs outside of the home.

Toxic Cleaning Products

Furniture Polish– contain petroleum distillates, which are highly flammable and can cause skin and lung cancer. They contain nitrobenzene, which is easily absorbed through the skin and extremely toxic.

Air Fresheners interfere with your ability to smell by releasing nerve-deadening agents or coating nasal passages with an oily film, usually methoxychlor, a pesticide that accumulates in fat cells. Known toxic chemicals found in an air freshener are formaldehyde, a highly toxic, known carcinogen, and phenol. When phenol touches your skin it can cause it to swell, burn, peel, and break out in hives.

Antibacterial products, including some hand sanitizers and cleaning products may contain triclosan, which is absorbed through the skin. Triclosan a chemical found in antibacterial & cosmetic products many people use daily, often multiple times.  Products like hand soaphand sanitizer, deodorant, and mouthwash all potentially contain it. A recent study conducted by UC Davis & the University of Colorado found that triclosan hinders muscle contractions at a cellular level, which is potentially very dangerous for those who already have heart problems.  When tested on mice, researchers found that the mice had a 25% reduction in heart function within 20 minutes of being exposed to the chemical.

Automatic Dishwasher Detergents contain chlorine in a dry form that is highly concentrated. One of the top causes of household poisoning is dishwasher detergent. Many conventional dishwasher detergents contain coal tar-based colors, artificial fragrance and Qutemium-15 an eye and skin irritant which releases formaldehyde.

Oven cleaner is one of the most toxic products people use. They often contain lye and ammonia, which can eat away at the skin, and the fumes linger and affect the respiratory system. Then there is the residue that is intensified the next time you turn your oven on. Use vinegar, sea salt, and baking soda instead.

Mildew remover contains formaldehyde which is carcinogenic in addition to the other toxins found in phenol, kerosene, chlorine, and fungicides.

Laundry detergents contain phosphorus, enzymes, ammonia, naphthalene, phenol, and countless other chemicals. The residue left on clothes and linens may be absorbed through the skin and can cause rashes, itching, allergies, and respiratory problems.

Natural Alternatives

  • Vinegar- Cuts grease, removes mildew, can be mixed with water for an effective window cleaner. Can also replace toxic fabric softener.
  • Baking soda- is a natural deodorizer and a mild abrasive.
  • Olive oil-can be used for polishing furniture
  • Castile soap– an all-natural soap, without harsh chemicals that has many applications and is available in liquid or bar form
  • Hydrogen Peroxide– kills odor causing bacteria and can be used for stain removal.

For additional information and cleaning green product recipes laundry detergent, all-purpose deodorizer, and furniture polish, visit http://

©Ellice Campbell 2013

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One thought on “Is Your Home Toxic?

  1. Pingback: Hand Sanitizer Demand

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