Most have been derived from petroleum and coal tar.
The majority of these synthetic chemicals have never been tested for their acute or long-term effects. Neither have they been tested for their combined or cumulative effects.
Many of these synthetic chemicals have been added to our food, skincare and cleaning products without our consent and knowledge of their potential effects.
Many of these chemicals have also been dispersed widely into the environment contaminating our soil, water and air. Some will persist in the environment for decades and even centuries because they biodegrade slowly and incompletely.
“The average home today contains more toxic chemicals than the average chemistry laboratory at the turn of the century.”
This is a scary thought but a reality in so many households.
Have a look inside your laundry cupboard, in the bathroom and underneath the kitchen sink and see how many different cleaning products you can find.
Most homes contain many more cleaning products than we really need. These cleaners not only contain chemicals that are bad for our health but also create packaging waste that is disposed in our already, overloaded landfills.
We can smell the toxins whenever we use these cleaning products. The label even warns us to wear gloves, avoid contact with skin and eyes, and not to breathe in the fumes.
We need to protect our children when it comes to exposure to toxic chemicals because:
1) they have higher risk of exposure as they tend to crawl and play in areas that could be contaminated
2) they also have an increased hand to mouth activity
3) their smaller body size and developing organs are more susceptible to the toxic effects of these chemicals; damage can be long lasting
4) they also have a reduced ability to eliminate toxins from their developing bodies as their vital organs are less matured.
10 Tips on How to have a Clean & Fresh Smelling Home?
1) Open windows to allow ventilation and get the stale air out every day. If the weather is too cold, wait till the middle of the day when it warms up a bit and open some windows for a few hours to allow cross ventilation.
2) Empty the rubbish bins daily especially food waste. Simple but it works!!
3) Prevention is the key.
Remove spills or stains onto carpet and floors immediately to prevent them from caking onto the floorings and producing unpleasant odour.
Place a mat at all entrance doors and remove outdoor footwear prior to entering into the home.
Put metal strainers over drains and kitchen sinks to reduce the need to use drain cleaners.
Wipe down shower wall and shower curtains to prevent mould or soap scum buildup.
4) Learn to identify the “nasties”, read the label and look at the list of ingredients. If it reads like a chemistry text book, the chances are it is bad for your health!
However, current labelling laws in Australia do not require manufacturers to disclose a full list of ingredients in their products. This creates difficulty in making an informed decision when it comes to purchasing cleaning products.
If you are concerned about specific ingredients in a product, call the company and request a material safety data sheet (MSDS). The manufacturer’s contact details must be listed on all cleaning products.
5) Go through your existing cleaning products and do a spring clean!
You don’t need a different product for each item that needs to be cleaned. Minimise cleaning products to a few essentials that can do the entire job and you will also save money in the process.
Most household cleaning can be achieved with just a handful of cleaning products such as all-purpose cleaner, cream cleanser, window cleaner, dishwashing liquid and laundry liquid or powder.
6) Use safer, non-toxic alternatives as much as possible.
Choose cleaning products made from natural ingredients such as baking soda, lemon, white vinegar, washing soda, soap nuts and pure soap.
You can either make up your own cleaning recipes or buy those that are ready made from these ingredients such as Clean Conscience. These cleaning products are made locally in Australia.
Instead of making our own cleaning recipes nowadays, we are using Clean Conscience as they are very safe and do a marvellous job in cleaning!
7) Buy in bulk to save on cost and packaging material. If possible, buy directly from the manufacturer or wholesaler as it will work out cheaper.
8) Beware of “Greenwashing”!
“Greenwashing” is a marketing technique used by many companies these days to convince us that their products are ‘eco-friendly’, ‘natural’, ‘green’ and ‘environmentally safe’. The fact is in most cases this is far from the truth, so check out the list of ingredients and what these companies really stand for.
9) Always read and follow instructions on the label and use only the minimal amount required for the job. This will also help you save some money!
10) Remember these safety tips:
- Follow safety precautions and check labels to see whether protective equipment such as respiratory masks, gloves and goggles are recommended. Avoid splashing cleaning products on your skin or in your face. Make sure there is adequate ventilation.
- Never combine cleaning chemicals as they can interact in dangerous ways and give off toxic fumes.
- Minimize the use of harsh chemicals.
- Stop using the product if you develop any symptoms such as headache, nausea, dizziness, skin reactions or breathing difficulties.
- Store all cleaning products in their original containers out of the reach of children and pets.
Keep an eye out for our upcoming blog for more information on:
- toxic chemicals commonly found in household cleaning products so you know what to avoid
- how to use basic ingredients from your kitchen to clean your home and safe money on cleaning products
- natural cleaning recipes that are easy to make and it’s cheap!
Dr Esther Lok
Disclaimer: All advice may not be construed as medical advice or instruction and is not meant to replace the advice of your medical practitioner. Information has been compiled from the author’s personal experiences and own research into multiple existing public references and previously published scientific studies. While all care is taken, information is not warranted as accurate and The Organics Institute and Dr Esther Lok cannot be held liable for any errors and omissions.