Sometimes they are dressed in such bright shiny colors that you often think they are coming to the rescue. Or perhaps they are lurking in the dark shadows of your house, secretly scheming to take you down… Friend or foe? Hero or villain? They actually are one and the same.
No this is not Marvel Comics’ latest blockbuster. They are everyday household cleaners that have seemingly taken over the task of chores that Grandma and Grandpa used to take care of — sans all the toxic ingredients.
Here are some examples of what dangers lurk in those innocuous bottles of cleaners, as reported by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Office of Pesticides and Toxic Substances:
Air Fresheners interfere with your smell by releasing a nerve deadening agent. Known chemicals are Formaldehyde (carcinogen) and Phenol (major skin irritant).
Bleach is a very strong corrosive that irritates skin, eyes and respiratory tract. Vapors can cause liquid in the lungs leading to coma or even death.
Carpet Cleaners overpower stains using highly-toxic Perchloroethylene (carcinogen, damages liver, kidney and nervous system) and Ammonium Hydrochloride (corrosive, extremely irritable to eyes, skin and respiratory passages).
Dishwasher Detergents mostly contain a highly concentrated form of dry Chlorine which is the no. 1 cause of child poisonings.
Drain Cleaners contain mostly Lye (caustic, burns skin and eyes, if ingested will damage esophagus and stomach) and Hydrochloric Acid (corrosive, damages kidney, liver and digestive tract) and Trichloroethane (nervous system depressant, damages kidneys and liver).
Laundry Room Products often contain Sodium or Calcium Hypocrite (highly corrosive, may cause pulmonary edema, vomiting or coma if ingested) and Linear Alkylate Sulfonate (absorbed through the skin is known to cause liver ailments at low dosages).
Dishwashing Liquids and Antibacterial Cleaners to tackle salmonella contain Triclosan (absorbed through the skin can lead to liver damage) and Artificial Dyes (known carcinogen).
Phew! And the list does not include the less often used, but super toxic oven cleaners, furniture polish and toilet bowl cleaners. Sometimes, it’s some scary stuff.
The moral of the story is use extreme caution when handling these products, or better yet, opt for some healthier and more environmentally-friendly options like Seventh Generation or Mrs. Meyers or Shaklee. Even Clorox is in on the game with its greener label, Green Works.
Even better, make your own green cleaning products at home, out of common, time-tested ingredients like vinegar, lemon juice, baking soda, kosher salt, borax and essential plant oils. This is a lot cheaper, super easy to make and will rid your home of those household villains.