Harmful Chemicals in Cleaning Products

harmful chemicals in cleaning products

I have to admit, I always wondered why I should “waste my money” buying natural cleaning products. I thought it was much more important to watch what you put into your body, limiting pesticides and buying organic. I still think those things are very important, but after delving further into the matter, I’ve discovered some interesting facts regarding harmful chemicals:

  • There are four basic chemical exposure pathways: inhalation, ingestion, injection, and absorption. You can actually absorb chemicals in the air through your skin!
  • According to the EPA, the air inside a typical home is, on average, 2 to 5 times more polluted than the air outdoors due to household cleaners!!
  • Some all-purpose cleaners contain diethanolamine (DEA) and triethanolamine (TEA). When these substances come into contact with nitrites (often present as undisclosed preservatives or contaminants), they react to form nitrosamines – carcinogens that readily penetrate the skin.
  • When you wash cleaners down the drain, they go into our water system. Most ingredients break down into harmless substances but not all. And of those that don’t, not all are removable by our water filtration system.
  • Chemicals released when using cleaning supplies contribute to chronic respiratory problems, allergic reactions and headaches.
  • 2-butoxyethanol, a key ingredient in many window cleaners (NOT required by law to be listed on ingredient labels!), can cause sore throats when inhaled and at high levels can also contribute to narcosis, pulmonary edema, and severe liver and kidney damage (An enclosed bathroom is considered a place of potential high levels.)
  • Maid and janitorial workers (who spend their days cleaning with chemical products) have been found to be among occupational groups that experience above average incidences of bladder cancer.

There are literally tens of thousands of untested chemicals in use today!

In a 2014 study, researchers at Harvard postulated that “even more neurotoxicants remain undiscovered” and they believe that, “Untested chemicals should not be presumed to be safe to brain development, and chemicals in existing use and all new chemicals must therefor be tested for developmental neurotoxicity.”

neurotoxins

The Toxic Substances Control Act was first passed in 1976 and has remained essentially unchanged since. When the Act passed Congress it grandfathered in 62,000 chemicals, in essence giving a free pass to known toxins such as trichloroethylene and BPA. Now we all know now that BPA is toxic, which is why we removed it from our baby bottles (etc.) and no longer microwave our food in plastic dishes. But if that chemical had been tested in the first place, we wouldn’t have been unknowingly exposed. And the same is true for toxins in our cleaning products.

The FDA tells us that small amounts of certain chemicals are harmless. But it’s been proven time and again, that your body can’t get rid of every single harmful chemical in which it comes into contact. When we are exposed to those harmful chemicals, they build up in our body, and therein lies the danger. Also, studies have shown the combined impact of multiple chemical substances acting together is far more destructive to the body than each of the chemicals acting alone. You wouldn’t combine certain medications, so why would you combine chemicals in your body? We’ve all seen what happens when you experiment with chemical reactions in science class!

I believe natural cleaners do just as well as commercial cleaners. I often use just vinegar and water to clean my floors and counters with a little tea tree oil for boosted antibacterial, antiviral, and anti fungal properties.

Please do your own research; don’t just take my word for it! And do what you can to lessen the toxic burden on your body whenever possible. Every little bit counts!

 

Where Does the Love Go?

IMG_9512Being a stay at home mom is great, and it’s the perfect fit for me. It’s the only job I ever wanted. But as much as I love being there to protect, mold, and guide my kids all day every day, I really dislike being their servant in bondage sometimes…I have a baby who points and grunts (then cries and yells) to get what she wants and a toddler who’s vocal, yet just as demanding and insistent. Well, maybe not QUITE as demanding. My littlest is a pro at getting her message across (to put it nicely).

And the very moment I finally get to collapse into a chair, there they are again, wanting something, needing something. I’m not sure if I need to ‘die to self’ like my old Bible Study teacher used to say, or just grow a little more in patience and love. Which I feel woefully short on every single day of my life.

My girls are so loving, it astounds me…where does the love go as we age? Why do we not greet our friends with hugs and kisses the way toddlers do? (Never mind the fact that it would be really weird and gross.) I could yell at my girls all day long, but they’ll still  want to sit on my lap and smother me with kisses. They don’t hold grudges!

Sometimes I just wish I could be more like my children. And be waited on hand and foot, too. Ha!

Let’s get angry-there’s lead in our lipstick!

Why are we obsessed with silly news stories like bears playing in someone’s backyard pool (played over and over on our news this past week!), but news that our lipstick contains lead (http://www.safecosmetics.org/get-the-facts/regulations/us-laws/lead-in-lipstick/) goes largely unnoticed?

Lead in Lipstick

I had never heard of this issue until yesterday, and now I’m just appalled. I am so thankful I’ve never been a big lipstick wearer, because I don’t like the waxy feel of it on my lips. But what about the women who wear it every day for work? Who kiss their children before sending them off to school and when they tuck them into bed at night?

The linked article says:

It took nearly two years, pressure from consumers and a letter from three U.S. Senators, but in 2009 the FDA released a follow-up study that found lead in all samples of lipstick tested, at levels ranging from 0.09 to 3.06 ppm – levels four times higher than those found in the Campaign study. The FDA found the highest lead levels in lipsticks made by three manufacturers: Procter & Gamble (Cover Girl brand), L’Oreal (L’Oreal, Body Shop and Maybelline brands) and Revlon.

So far, the FDA has failed to take action to protect consumers.

An expanded FDA study in 2010 found lead in 400 lipsticks at levels up to 7.19 ppm.”

We should be rallying for safer cosmetics, outraged that companies would do this to us. Where is the news coverage, and why do we have to get angry before the FDA will do its job?

When Your Child Puts You to Shame

th-3

The other day, I was seriously suffering from extreme hunger… I had just gone through an oral surgery and everything I tried to eat hurt my mouth. You’ve all probably heard the phrase, “I’m sorry for what I said when I was hungry” and it is so true! Hunger really does have an effect on us. It’s been shown that people on diets are grumpier and more irritable. I tend to be somewhat grumpy and irritable on a good day, so I, if anyone, should stay fueled up! Ha!

Sadly, on this particular day, I was not fueled. It was mid afternoon, and I felt like my stomach was eating itself. I was busy tying up some gift packages with ribbon, when my little daughter comes up to the kitchen counter, interested in my activity. She reached up, enticed by a roll of bright green ribbon. And she promptly dropped it. It rolled across the floor, unwinding itself at warp speed.

I snapped, “Why did you do that?!? Don’t TOUCH!” and I immediately felt foolish. It was just a spool of ribbon! And she’s just a curious toddler!

But my sweet girl said, “It’s okay, Mommy. I can roll it! I can roll it back up!”.

Luckily, my pride got in the way for no more than a second. I apologized. My precious girl questioned why, and I replied, “Because Mommy shouldn’t have yelled at you. That wasn’t nice.”. And she reassured me, “It’s okay, Mommy. It’s okay when we say sorry to ‘each-udders’ that we love.” Then she paused a moment before continuing, “I’m sorry I touched the ribbon. I love you.” as she carefully rewound it onto the spool.

We are supposed to set examples for our children, but sometimes, they set the example for us.

Have your children ever put you to shame?