Consider the many household cleaning products you use and become exposed to every day, including products to clean windows, countertops, toilets, furniture, and more. These products often contain more toxic chemicals than you might imagine. Over 80,000 chemicals have been registered in America, and every year about 2,000 new ones appear in numerous products you use every day, including cleaning products.
Toxic Ingredients in Your Household Cleaning Products“Environmental toxins abound,” says Mark Hyman, MD, in The Blood Sugar Solution. “These contribute to weight gain, obesity, and diabetes. We have to worry about not only what we eat but also the burden of plastics, metals, and pollutants that have been shown to poison and slow our metabolism and lead to weight gain.”
Their many potentially problematic ingredients include fragrances as well as ingredients like the carcinogens formaldehyde and chloroform, which research shows can contribute to problems including cancer. Others, like polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), were banned by most countries several decades ago, yet their lingering effects continue to accumulate in our environment and our bodies.
Oftentimes, manufacturers spend time and money to conceal dangerous ingredients as safe or innocuous. That proves especially true with household cleaners, many of which contain ingredients that have not been thoroughly tested.
“Government agencies and independent research institutions have not adequately evaluated the safety of numerous substances found in cleaning products,” says the Environmental Working Group (EWG).
How Toxins Impact Your HealthThese toxins impact your body acutely and cumulatively. If you spill oven cleaner onto your skin, the acute burn can feel like misery and potentially warrant an emergency room visit, but it isn’t usually life-threatening. More damaging is the “silent” buildup of toxins that accumulate over time in your body, which wreak havoc in ways you may not realize.
“You may not notice the exposure, but over time, you can measure the synthetic chemicals in your blood, urine, and hair to determine what has entered your body from the environment,” says Sara Gottfried, MD, in Younger. “Sometimes the original toxin is the worst part. Other times, it’s the toxin’s metabolites, substances produced when your liver chemically alters the original toxic compound into even worse chemicals.”
Gottfried says these bathroom, laundry room, and kitchen chemicals “bind to your hormone receptors, bio-accumulate, and cause an assortment of health symptoms.” Among those problems, says the EWG, include cancer, allergies, reproductive abilities, accidents like burns and poisoning, and asthma.
“It is surprisingly easy to minimize the effect of these toxins in our day-to-day life by doing a little research and switching some of your old, toxic products for new, healthier versions,” says Gottfried.
Going Green: How to Minimize Toxins in Household CleanersAmong its benefits, Justine Harrington notes in an article about green cleaning products that switching can influence your children. Green cleaning products promote better health and are also a starting point for discussing environmentalism and the impact everyday products create.
One great source is the EWG’s Guide to Healthy Cleaning, which lets you research over 2,500 products to find your greenest choices, decode technical ingredients, manufacturer updates, and more. Looking for green, organic, or environmental friendlier cleaning products is great, but take that one step further: employ a do-it-yourself mentality and make your own household cleaners.
You’ll save money and make a more positive environmental impact. You’ll also improve your health since these products contain fewer toxic chemicals.
“One of the biggest misconceptions about green living is that it’s wildly expensive, time-consuming, or difficult to achieve,” writes Harrington. “This simply isn’t the case — rather, using renewable resources can actually be more cost-effective than not!”
Ways to Replace Toxic Household CleanersEverything from the air you breathe to the food you eat to the products you clean your house with can create a toxic overload. But you have more control than you might realize to minimize your toxic load, and optimizing cleaning products is a great place to start. If you’re ready to “green up” your household cleaning products, we have some amazing low-toxic alternatives that are simple, affordable, and will leave your house sparkling.
Natural Alternatives to Bathroom Cleaners
General cleaner: Mix one cup white vinegar and cup water in a spray bottle. Spray and wipe. The odor will evaporate when it is dry. To remove stubborn marks, warm the mixture first. White vinegar can kill up to 92 percent of bacteria.
ConclusionMaking these simple changes in the way you clean will dramatically minimize your daily toxin exposure. Ultimately, you have a say in purchasing household cleaners.
These and other homemade alternatives to potentially toxic household cleaning products can minimize your toxic load while saving you money and potentially your health.
Manufacturers spend big money to make cleaning products look “green,” organic, environmentally friendly, or otherwise safe when they actually contain potentially harmful chemical ingredients. Just like with food, don’t go by what the front label says; flip the product around and read its ingredients.
Chiropractor @Main Health Solutions Meridian