You may think your home looks lovely, smells beautiful and feels like a safe place, but you could be very wrong! The latest EcoHip Green Products blog is on hand with some priceless information on ethical cleaning products.
The typical house contains numerous chemicals, combustion gases, electromagnetic fields, and many more. Most people spend more than 70% of their lives in their house thinking they are free from pollution once they close the front door. This is the reverse – a recent report from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) stated
‘Indoor air pollution in residences, offices, schools and other buildings is one of the most serious potential environmental risks to health. Most common toxins in the home are formaldehyde, ammonia, chlorine, tobacco smoke and synthetic fragrances.’
Formaldehyde:- is a preservative or binder that can be found in cosmetics, plastics, pesticides, cleaners, paints, waxes, polishes, mouthwash and adhesives.
There are also by-products of formaldehyde to look out for, and formaldehyde gets hidden in other products under different names. An example is aspartame. Its side effects are depression, headaches, dizziness, insomnia, asthma, bladder problems, irritation to eyes, nose and skin. It can also make you more sensitive to other chemical products. Formaldehyde has caused cancer in rats. It releases the toxic vapours through solid objects, -this is often the case with many plastic, rubber, synthetic materials.
Best way to avoid formaldehyde in your house: become aware of sources of it in your home e.g particleboard, linoleum and formica. So if you are redecorating at all consider these issues. Also check your cleaning products and avoid using those with formaldehyde. There are so many non-toxic cleaners on the market now there is no need to keep any ‘poisonous’ ones in your home!’
Chlorine:- bleach fumes can be irritating to the eyes, nose and throat. Contact to the skin may cause dermatitis. If you insist on using washing detergent with chlorine bleach use sparingly and make sure it has a very good rinse. However, if you want to avoid it, use the Aquaball (£14.95 for 120 washes) in your washing machine. It replaces chemical laundry detergent and softener and is great for allergy sufferers and those with eczema (www.aquaball.com). Another way to avoid this harmful chemical is to use non-bleached paper products, tampons, toilet paper and napkins. This is all available to us and should be taken seriously.
Ammonia:- Household ammonia contains 5 to 10% ammonia and releases fumes which can be toxic. It can cause severe eye, lung and skin irritation, and repeated exposure can lead to coughs, congestion and shortness of breath. Window cleaners, deodorant and disinfectants can cause these problems.
You can avoid this by switching window cleaners – try Citra Clear (www.ecohip.co.uk)
Switch regular deodorant for a natural one – Pit Rok or Dr Mist (www.ecohip.co.uk)
And avoid disinfectants!
Fragrances:- As many of the cleaning products contain chemicals that smell very strong, artificially made fragrances are put into them to give pleasant smelling products. Many of these synthetic compounds are carcinogenic or toxic to the body and produce allergic reactions. It’s now so easy to replace chemical cleaning products with safer alternatives and keep a naturally clean and safe home. www.ecohip.co.uk have an entire section on household cleaning products so I’d look at the E-cloth range if you are an allergy sufferer and Aquaball, but if you like your home to smell fragranced the Citra-Solv range has everything you need to clean your home (orange or lavender natural scent available)
Toilet Cleaners and Disinfectants:- Liquid toilet cleaners contain many harsh chemicals such as detergents which act as cleaners and mild disinfectants.
Some of the ingredients to look out for are:- Sodium bisulphate when mixed with water creates sulphuric acid, which is highly toxic and corrosive to the skin and eyes. Its fumes are irritating to the airways and adequate ventilation is necessary.
Instead of using these harsh chemicals try Urtekram’s Toilet Cleaner (£2.50 www.ecohip.co.uk) or borax
If you don’t buy these just remember to avoid ingredients such as:-
Sodium bisulphate as mentioned above
Oxalic acid can damage the kidneys and liver, irritate the eyes and respiratory tract.
Muriatic hydrochloric acid is a severe eye, skin and mucous membrane irritant.
5-Dimethyldantoin forms hypochlorite bleach when mixed with water which is corrosive to skin and mucous membrane.
Naphthalene is poisonous to humans and common pesticide used in the manufacture of varnishes and sprays.
Always put the lid down before flushing the toilet to avoid the toxins being released into the atmosphere.
Bathroom Cleaners and Personal Care Products:-
Isopropyl alcohol is a solvent and denaturant found in colour rinses and aftershave lotions and fragrances.
Inhalation may cause headaches, nausea, vomiting and dizziness.
Sodium Lauryl Sulphate is cosmetics, 90% of shampoos, conditioner and toothpaste.
Urtekram offer all of these products for you and the kids, naturally and reasonably priced. (www.ecohip.co.uk)
In tests animals exposed to SLS experienced eye damage, skin irritation and breathlessness. Other research shows it may damage the immune system, especially on the skin.
Always remember to avoid products with artificial dyes and colouring. Don’t fall for the adverts with scented toilet paper or only antibacterial hand wash – neither are necessary! If you want a hand wash with some anti-bacterial quality to it try Ecosoapia in Tea Tree (www.ecohip.co.uk)
Oven Cleaners:- The main ingredient in most oven cleaners is sodium hydroxide, a caustic agent which can be corrosive to the skin. Most oven cleaners come in aerosol containers so that, in addition to the lye and sulphuric acid, you are exposed to propellants. The vapours from these products are highly toxic.
Alternatives to use are baking soda or vinegar. There are lots of ‘recipes’ online of natural oven cleaners but baking soda is usually the main thing to use.
You may need to leave for a few hours and then scrub quite hard but at least you aren’t putting yourself in danger.
These would include high tension power lines outside the house and will tend to demonstrate a carcinogenic effect.
We should try and protect ourselves from computers, fuse boxes and mobile phones by using Bio-Shields. We may not be able to see electromagnetic fields but our bodies certainly feel the harmful effects. Bio-Shield also offer a body shield which you can wear at all times to keep you protected (www.ecohip.co.uk)
I know it is difficult to avoid all chemicals at all times, but with a bit of effort and a few new products you could keep your home a safe, clean and healthy place for you and your family.