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Are Your Cleaning Chemicals Killing You?

We are aiming to include more items on total family health.  Eating healthy, drinking plenty of water, getting outdoor exercise and many of our blogs and articles cover a wide range of topics.  Allergies and breathing problems, asthma, or even more severe problems are a concern for many today.  While our air may be cleaner than several years ago, these family health challenges continue to increase.

For several decades we have been made aware of the need to be conscious of things we use and things we do that may harm the universe or make our surroundings less pleasant to live in.  Gone are the black smoke belching smokestacks of the industrial areas.  Our streams and lakes are becoming cleaner.  We recycle glass, aluminum, tin, many plastics, and newspapers in recycling centers or at the curb in many states.  Several other items are either sit in bins for curbside pick-up or are also taken to recycling facilities. We have choices for cleaning products that are bio-degradable. There are many ways we have found to help us have cleaner healthier air and water, smaller and fewer landfills, and to conserve our resources.

But, if you are really concerned about family health, have you evaluated the products you personally use every day?  This hit home in our house a few days ago.  My husband decided to be helpful and clean our tile floors.  They are a white and cream ceramic tile with white grout that he likes to keep pristine clean.  His cleaning product of choice was chlorine bleach.  The doctor’s appointment with my 90-year-old mother turned out to be very long and complicated.  When I returned home he was so proud of his accomplishment!  We live in Florida and it was in the 90’s out.   Our home was closed up and the air was on – no ventilation.   I immediately began to feel a tightening in my chest.

Because it was evening, we shut down the air and opened some windows. Not enough air flowed through to avoid my having a full-blown asthma attack.  I spent 3 days hacking up chlorine flavored mucus.  It was not fun.  He felt horrible for making me so sick.

A few days later my daughter found an article on a new study entitled “LUNG DAMAGE”.  The article linked lung damage to many of the cleaning products that we use in our homes every day.   I am sort of a stickler for using safe products and cringe when he asks me to buy bleach.  I am aware of what it can do to me.  Because we basically use chemical-free products however he had never seen what bleach or other chemical products could do to me.

So what did the article say?  It was quoting the results of a 20 -year independent study.  The study revealed that “cleaning your home with common, well-known grocery store products such as ammonia, chlorine bleach, quaternary disinfectant compounds, and other dangerous chemicals significantly damage lung tissue in women”.  It stated that using these products even “once a week was as harmful as smoking a pack of cigarettes a day for 20 years”!!!  (ECRHS III Studies)  They will not just affect the health of the person using them but will also affect the whole family’s health as their residue is airborne.  The whole family breathes the chemicals!

There are many “green” products out there and some of them are not very effective.  If you have a concern about family health you may have tried them and found them almost useless and given up.  I did!  However, there are some great products and natural cleaners that work well and are safe.

One of my favorite choices is apple cider vinegar.  I have found it cleans white lab coats and keeps them white as effectively as bleach.  One-quarter cup in a load of laundry does wonders.  Hydrogen peroxide is another great sanitizer and whitener and it is also very effective in the laundry.  I use a Shaklee product called H2 as well for many things.  You can mix just 2 drops with water in a spray bottle and it will clean your windows and mirrors fantastically!  It cleans as well as any chemical widow cleaner.  Not only is it safer to use than the chemical cleaner, but it also is far less expensive.  A bit higher concentrate of H2 is great for cleaning other surfaces such as tile, appliances, and countertops and it is also much less expensive than its chemically based counterparts. (no pun intended!)

There is another advantage to these products in that if they happen to be getting into by a small child or pet they are not dangerous or as harmful as the chemical products.   The product will taste nasty, but it won’t burn their mouths or exposed areas.

You may want to check out the Get Clean products at where you can try individual products to see if you like them or you can purchase a Get Clean Starter Kit and “clean your way to a healthier home.”

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