With all the talk about personal detox, it is important to remember that our exposure to toxic chemicals increases the burden on our body. This can be a challenge as most common cleaning products contain a variety of known endocrine disruptors* and carcinogens**. In addition, many people find that odors from cleaning supplies can trigger asthma, allergies and neurological symptoms such as headaches, sleepiness or loss of mental clarity.
How can we avoid these problems and keep our homes clean and fresh?
- Change our attitudes about clean. Realize that clean is actually the absence of odor (rather than masking odor with perfumes) and germs can be removed from kitchens and bathrooms without harsh chemicals.
- Do your homework or buy products from companies you trust are doing their homework and operate with integrity. Two such companies are Seventh Generation (sold at retail) and Neways (sold through MLM on-line).*** If you want to do your homework on ingredients in products you use, check out the Environmental Working Group website at http://www.ewg.org. You want ingredients that are zero or low risk (0-2). If you would like to make your own products, here are some great ideas at Homemade Cleaners http://homemadecleaners.net.
- If you love beautiful smells, explore the use of aromatherapy in your home. You can add a few drops to liquid soaps, cleaning supplies or use a diffuser. Please contact me if you would like to make an appointment with a trained aromatherapist who can guide you in making your own safe cleaning products.
- Read the suggestions and complete the Healthy Home Tips Checklist at http://www.ewg.org/healthyhometips/greencleaning.
- Enjoy the satisfaction of throwing out all of those toxic cleaning products crowded under your sink and replacing them with fewer, safer products!
* Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that mimic our own hormones and override our natural defense systems. We most commonly hear of cancer risk with those that imitate estrogen, but there are also links to hormonal issues of all kinds including infertility, sexual function, developmental impairments in children and thyroid malfunction. Unfortunately, these issues can be difficult to identify as the negative impact is rarely seen immediately and those at greatest risk are unborn and young children. (Colborn, Dumanoski, & Myers, 1997)
** Carcinogens are chemicals that have a known link to cancer. The severity of risk can be rated by visiting the Environmental Working Group website. The main issue here is to stick to low risk items and use less of them. No one can really know what exposure level is safe when we are combining several exposures on a daily basis. Again, the risk seems to be greater for unborn and young, growing children. (“Environmental Working Group,” 2011)
*** A concern is that these companies often are purchased by large companies after they have built a marketing presence. The ingredients are then changed without the consumer knowing. You still have to do your homework!