Chemical Cleaning – The Unseen Hazard
Chemical cleaning is literally an unseen hazard – all we concentrate on is getting our homes, offices, or cars clean. But the price is more than we can imagine. And if the goal in cleaning our homes is to remove dirt and contaminants, we end up replacing them with allergens and poisons.
Once the cleaning process is over and we see pristine surfaces, the residue of the cleaning product or what we have thrown down the drain is out of our sight.
“Out of sight is out of mind”
As the saying goes, yes, it is out of sight but sadly that is not the end of the story. For what we have thrown down the drain will go on to build a story of its own – a story of polluting water, causing diseases, and poisonous gases in the air.
Corrosive chemical products that we used to “CLEAN”, remain corrosive even after we throw them in the drainage. They are corrosive to the environment; and as the cycle is endless they come back to haunt us either by the health effect that they leave on our skin when we use them, on our lungs when we breathe in their unseen fumes, or when they place their prints on the environment either in the wastewater or as fumes that cause damage to the air, ozone, or they may cause excess carbon dioxide emission.
Chemicals are chosen for the enhancement of the product without any regard to the aftereffects that they may cause. Some of the most toxic household products are drain, oven and toilet-bowl cleaners; chlorinated disinfectants; mildew removers; and wood and metal polishes. Even seemingly benign products, such as dish detergent, can contain toxic chemicals. Chemicals that might even go as far as be the cause behind cancer, from a product that we may have been using for years without knowing the hazards.
What to look for
- Eco-friendly products are available and even if the price is slightly higher – it is worth it on the long run.
- Look for terms such as; green, Eco-friendly, or biodegradable on cleaning products.
- Chlorine and ammonia are used to clean and disinfect your home – these products do clean effectively but are not good for the environment and can even pose health risks to humans and animals.
- Read labels well, manufacturers are not liable to disclose all products but they have to put some signs and we have to look for them:
1 – Danger
2 – Poison
3 – Caution
4 – Corrosive
Read and make sure of what you are buying.
- Don’t assume anything is safe unless it is specified on the label that the product has been certified by a third-party organization working with sustainability and food certifications.
- Read the ingredients.
Notice some chemicals that are known for their hazards – phthalates is a hormone disruptor, Perc (perchloroethylene) is a neurotoxin, triclosan causes antibiotic resistant microbes and is a carcinogen, 2-Butoxyethanol causes sore throat, kidney damage and pulmonary edema. Sodium hydroxide – extremely corrosive. Chlorine – a thyroid disruptor. Ammonia – cause of chronic bronchitis and asthma.
The combination of ammonia and chlorine bleach – together they create a highly toxic chloramine gas that can injure lung tissue.
The list is endless, but we need to check what we are using and perhaps it is time we started looking for the healthier alternatives. There are even recipes for make-at-home that are not only safe for us, the environment, but are cheap and give results that are more than satisfying.
Essential oils can be used as air fresheners diluted with water and put in a sprayer, vinegar is a great cleaner for mirrors and windows and goes a long way in disinfecting clothes and removing stains as well as for cleaning toilets. Make your own multi-purpose cleaner by using baking soda, vinegar and essential oils. While borax is a great whitener for clothes – these are alternatives to chemical cleaning.
Think, innovate – we will find healthier, sustainable options for us and for the environment and the top of the list is aqueous ozone which can be used in the kitchen, for cleaning food and vegetables, as a household cleaner, a spray cleaner and more. Eco-friendly cleaners are available for use in the home.
Some Eco-friendly products that can be used at home: Eco-friendly products – a large variety to choose from for the home and outside as well.