Carcinogens in Cleaning Products – And What You Can Do About It
What is in Your Home?
In the United States cancer is responsible for close to 500,000 deaths annually, second only to heart disease. There our many products we use in our homes that contain ingredients linked to or suspected to cause cancer, plus they have other ingredients that may cause allergies, asthma, and other health problems. Loose government regulation is to blame, but we can take charge in our own homes once we know what to look for.
Green Cleaning Products
There are a lot of non-toxic options that work well which we can use to replace the toxic products, and they are usually cheaper and easier to replace. For instance, many cleaning products can be made with items you already have on hand, which include things like white vinegar, baking soda, salt and many other items. The two videos will show you in more detail how to make a variety of cleaning products.
How to Make Organic Cleaning Supplies, Threadbanger
Chemical Products to Beware Of
Art and craft material: You might not think of art and craft materials as carcinogens; however, there is a full list of prohibited items for use in California schools put together by the California PA to guard against exposure to carcinogens or other highly toxic ingredients. Use vegetable-based dyes and paints and as you probably know, avoid paints with a lead or other heavy metals. Also, use water based glues, paints and markers. Avoid hazardous solvents like rubber cement, paint thinners and solvent-based markers.
Automobile supplies: We know how unhealthy auto exhaust fumes are, so it's no surprise that the fluids we use in our cars are not very safe either. If you work on your own car do so carefully and keep the automotive supplies locked away when you're not using.
Dry-cleaning: Conventional dry cleaners use many chemicals and they can stick to your clothing for several days. If your garments require dry-cleaning, ask for the wet cleaning option of the cleaners and seek dry cleaners that use liquid CO2 or citrus juice cleaners.
Some of the main offenders are:
Air fresheners: They often contain naphthalene and formaldehyde; both are known carcinogens, as well as, a host of other toxic chemicals. These chemicals mixed with ozone make the air fresheners more toxic. The best thing to do is remove the odor source first rather than trying to mask them. Keep your garbage emptied; keep the window open when possible; clean the source of the bad odor with non-toxic products; burn 100% pure beeswax candles with 100% cotton wicks and they will purify the air. Use an open box of baking soda to freshen the refrigerator or any room. Indoor plants are great to clear carbon dioxide and other toxins as well.
You can also perfume the air with natural methods such as simmering cinnamon and cloves, fresh ginger or herbs and water on top of stove. Try using a drop or two of your favorite pure essential oil. For cleaning, try zeolite, baking soda or natural fragrances from essential oils.
Clean the Air with Plants
Kitty with Fleas
Flea, Tick and Lice Control
Avoid lindane-based pesticides. In rare cases lindane has caused seizures and even death. There are some safer alternatives listed on the linked website.
Ready to Clean
Check the Labels when Buying These Products
Moth balls are nearly 100% naphthalene, a carcinogen or paradichlorobenzene, a toxin. I don't know if many people use moth balls today as they did when I was young, but they were typically used to combat moths eating your wool clothing while stored in a cedar chest.
Not all cleaning products contain carcinogens, but this is a list of the worst offenders; mold and mildew cleaners often contain formaldehyde. Use a natural approach to killing mold and mildew by using tea tree oil with hot water.
Stain Removers for Carpet & Upholstery:
Products that are designed to remove stains or heavy dirt from carpet and upholstery sometimes use the ingredient percloroethylene, which is the central nervous system toxicant and respiratory irritant. Instead, try using a steam cleaner with water as a natural-based cleaner. When you shop for furniture look for styles that use slipcovers that can be removed and washed or water-process dry cleaned.
Typically, furniture polish achieves a shine with nitrobenzene, which is a reproductive toxin in central nervous system toxin that can be absorbed through the skin. Look for an all-natural polish or make your own polish by using 1/8 cup olive oil or other vegetable oil mixed with 1 tablespoon vinegar and 1 tablespoon vodka.
Gorgeously Green: How to Make Organic All-Purpose Cleaner
There is a whole list of products with carcinogens on WikiCancer from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
Since most of this cleaning list includes ingredients that you already have in your home, it should be easy to replace the items with non-carcinogens and avoid any contact with ingredients that could cause you cancer or any illness. Most of the cleaning products, the paints, the automobile chemicals, just make good common sense anyway and are easy enough to avoid exposure.
© 2011 Pamela Oglesby
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