Cleaning Products and How They Can Affect Your Health

Each and every day, people around the world are using various cleaning products to keep their homes spick and span, but how many people actually consider what effect using these products has on our health?
Cleaning products, even green and environmentally friendly cleaning products contain hazardous chemicals that are harmful, flammable, corrosive and cause health problems. They can irritate the eyes and throat, cause headaches, dizziness, respiratory problems, burns to the skin and damage to the nervous system, furthermore conditions such as asthma and allergies are often irritated and made worse. Household cleaners have been blamed for and linked to damage to the heart, liver, lungs, kidneys and brains, as well as an increased chance of developing cancer, ADD, chronic fatigue syndrome, Alzheimer’s and multiple sclerosis, amongst other medical conditions.
These dangerous chemicals include volatile organic compounds (VOC’s), ammonia and bleach, these can all be found in the following products:
  • Aerosol sprays, anything like polish, hairspray etc.
  • Air fresheners
  • Bleach
  • Chlorine
  • Detergent
  • Washing up liquid
  • Dry cleaning products
  • Upholstery cleaners
  • Rug and carpet cleaners
  • Oven cleaner
Cleaning products
Very few studies or research has been conducted into the chemicals that are used in cleaning products, instead the ingredients are assumed to be safe for use. As a result of this, we are using chemicals that could actually be causing us harm.
When cleaning chemicals are combined together they can cause a reaction which can prove to be extremely dangerous, for example you can make mustard gas by simply mixing bleach and washing up liquid to produce lethal effects. When chlorine and bleach are combined together and this mixture comes into contact with either ammonia or urine a toxic gas is produced which when inhaled can caused serious injury or death. Chloroform is another problem to consider, this is a carcinogenic toxin that is produced from a mixture of bleach and organic substances and can pollute our food and water supplies.
Other related health issues:
  • Ingesting cleaning products, especially bleach can be fatal, with children and animals this is a real concern.
  • The fumes from cleaning products and the reactions they have when they are combined can cause irreparable damage, even death in some animals and birds.
  • Using cleaning products causes toxins to be produced and released into the environment, this could harm or kill animal living within these environments and poison our water and food supplies.

Safely using cleaning products:
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Cleaning products
  • Ensure there is plenty of ventilation in the area you are cleaning. Open any windows and put extractor fans on.
  • Wear protective clothing, such as rubber gloves to protect the skin on your hands.
  • When mixing cleaning products together, do so in small doses to reduce the amount of gases caused by a reaction of chemicals.
  • Avoid overusing your cleaning products.
  • Make sure you rinse off any cleaning products and allow whatever you have cleaned to dry naturally.
  • If you mix cleaning products together, make sure that they are safe to be combined.
  • Properly read the instructions for use on the cleaning product.
Alternative, home-made cleaning products:
Consider using vinegar and water to clean glass and newspaper to dry it.
Use vinegar or baking powder mixed with water to make an all-purpose cleaner, or stain remover.
Boil some water and add cinnamon and orange peels to make your own air freshener that will freshen your entire home.
You can use warm soapy water as a substitute for a good majority of the cleaning products you will have in your cupboard, washing up liquid is an excellent cleaner.
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