ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Killers Lurking Around Your Home

Updated on April 20, 2011

The Cleaning Cupboard: Potential Poisonous Minefield

Dishwasher Detergent No 1 Offender

Phosphates Cause Most Problems

It’s frankly amazing more people don’t swell the lists in the obituary columns from being poisoned by ordinary household products they use every day. Here is a report from an Illinois hospital :-

“The house was blessedly silent as Geri headed up towards the bathroom, ready to begin her cleaning. She wouldn’t have to pick Kim up from nursery school for several hours. At the tub, she stared down at the mess her daughter had left and the stain around the bath. Taking out the ammonia, she began to scrub and finding the stains hard to shift, changed to the bleach. A strong odour assaulted her senses in seconds and dizziness struck. Surprised, she reeled over and sank down on the toilet seat, not realizing what had happened. He husband found her there, unconscious, when he returned in the evening.”

What had Geri done wrong? She had used bleach and ammonia all her adult life with no previous problems.

One of the dangerous substances in household bleach is sodium hypochlorite. Bleach alone can be dangerous if swallowed. But what Geri had done was use bleach and ammonia at the same time, producing chlorine gas, which can a host of problems, one of which is coma. Geri recovered in the emergency room of the hospital - a much wiser home-maker. (Gringo for “housewife“), My generation is comfortable with the title, one which women were once proud to admit to, Everyone knows that some acids are poisons that can also burn severely. But not so many realize that their opposites, alkaline, can be just as vicious. We all use acid and alkaline daily, they are present in our foods - such as ascorbic acid (Vit. “C”), and the alkaline in hand soap, neither strong enough to be abrasive.

Alkaline found in many household cleaners are : potassium hydroxide, sodium hydroxide (Lye), sodium phosphates and sodium carbonate. Batteries also contain alkaline. The small watch batteries should be viewed as a potential hazard to children as swallowing one can do significant damage to the intestinal tract and the oesophagus. As well as causing your watch to fail.

It’s hard to do away with oneself using acids or alkaline as the burn immediately suffered by the lips, mouth and throat might cause you to abandon the project before enough liquid had reached the inner you.

Potassium hydroxide is found in cuticle remover as well as some small batteries. As well as in benign soaps, sodium hydroxide is found in aquarium products, drain cleaners and…other small batteries. Drano is one product that combines several strong alkalines. If it can burn gunk out of the pipes, imagine what it can do to little Jimmy’s gut if he swallows some. Sodium phosphates helps give abrasive cleaners their punch. Dye removers work by using this chemical, also found in some washing up liquid, which is why it works fast on grease.

Manufactures like to create a soft, fuzzy image where washing up liquid, among others, is concerned. Names like “Fairy,” bring to mind a fragile, benign creature, and a product perhaps distilled from nectar or God’s spit. We also have “Natural Extracts, Aloe Fresh; Fresh Floral Breeze; Purple Herbal,“ et al. Read the label and the truth becomes clear. Not the maker’s fault: fairy pussy dew won’t get the burned-on chicken grease out of the oven dish,

But will “The hands that do the dishes be as soft as your face,” as one leading dishwasher manufacturer proudly (and erroneously) claimed? Not only will they not, but if you aren’t rinsing your dishes really well after you have washed them with these liquids, you could be ingesting enough chemical, such as styrene, to make you ill. Most contain “surface active ingredients,” cleverly abbreviated to “Surfactants.” They are too long to list, but some contain 1.4 dioxin (so does the infamous Agent Orange!), most go down the drain and become a hazard to marine creatures (and ultimately to us as we consume contaminated fish).

I was going to add a list of household products that could be hazardous to health. I suddenly realized that they all were! Well, nearly, you would be hard put to suffer a life-threatening event while using a feather duster. But nearly everything in a bottle, can or packet, bought to use for cleaning, polishing or decorating will make you seriously ill if ingested, or suffering if left in contact with your skin. Most have adequate warnings on the product. Some don’t, and it’s not easy for a company like Proctor and Gamble, for example, to list all the chemicals and combinations on every product they provide. We just have to remember they can be dangerous; not leave them around where kids and animals can get at them. And to be careful to remove all of the product from the surfaces we are cleaning whenever possible with good old hot water and elbow grease - substances too often forgotten in the war against grease and grime these days.

We might also note it is a bad idea to keep these products in the same cupboards as foodstuffs, or the crockery, and cutlery we eat from and cook in. Even new, unopened products can leak - slowly, (especially aerosols) and opened or leaking cleaning products are frankly hazardous. Be specially careful with plates washed in dishwashers, many dishwasher liquid contains chlorine or phosphates, or both. Bad for you and bad for the environment as they go down the drain. (Phosphate is a fertilizer and causes overproduction of algae harmful to fish). Use products such as Palmolive Dishwasher Detergent or Acover Dishwasher Tablets, etc., free of these two harmful chemicals.

Notes: Every year thousands of household poisonings are reported. Many are fatal. Approximately 70% of all poisoning accidents occur in children between the ages of one and five. Almost all childhood poisonings are caused by unsafe storage and handling of household cleaning products and medicines. According to Poison Control, dishwashing detergent accounts for more accidental poisonings than any other household substance. Dandruff shampoo, if swallowed, causes vital organs to degenerate. As we saw, household ammonia, when mixed with bleach is a deadly substance. Bug spray can remain active and airborne in your home for up to 30 years. That’s THIRTY YEARS folks. Quite a price to pay for one dead mosquito. And on it goes.

So, hubbers, stay safe and write lots of hubs!!!

 

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      diogenes 

      8 years ago

      Not a bad idea, Amanda. I was especially surprised at how toxic dish washing liquid is, I am going to definitely rinse plates, etc., better in the future. It's all a trade-off I suppose. There's too much of the junk though: Lake Erie is in a heck of a mess with algae at the moment. Bob x

    • Amanda Severn profile image

      Amanda Severn 

      8 years ago from UK

      Bob, do you think we should be using these chemicals in our homes on any pretext? There are natural alternatives for many day-to-day products, and I only wish I knew more about them. It's all too easy to reach for the bleach, but maybe I'm just unwittingly contributing to the decimation of our marine life, and all for the sake of a white toilet bowl, or a stain-free bench. Maybe you should write a hub on the alternatives!

    • profile image

      diogenes 

      8 years ago

      Many thanks for that. It's amazing what you learn researching these hubs. I had never heard that about bleach and ammonia before. Bob

    • profile image

      JJ (pachuca213) 

      8 years ago

      The first rule I ever learned when I was a kid with Bathroom Chore duty was NEVER mix Cleanser with Windex (bleach and amonia) because of the toxic cloud it makes. Good hub!

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)