The facts are grim. Out of the 81,000 chemicals registered with the United States Environmental Protection Agency in the past 30 years, fewer than 20% of them have even been tested for toxicity. That means that while we’re spraying, spreading, and pouring various cleaning supplies in our homes, there is no assurance that we’re not poisoning ourselves, our families, and the earth.
It has been proven that chlorine bleach is the chemical most frequently involved in household poisonings in the United States. It’s also proven that common household cleaners give off fumes that can trigger asthma and allergies. So, why do we still use these products? Fortunately, a growing number of Americans are beginning to say ‘no’ to the poisonous potions on our supermarket shelves and use these three steps to create safer, healthier homes.
Step One: Manage Pests Safely
The American Association of Poison Control Centers recently reported that over 71,000 children were involved in common household pesticide-related poisonings or exposures. The sprays and bombs that were meant to harm the annoying insects in our homes actually harmed the people in our homes as well. Another report of a study sponsored by the National Cancer Institutes indicated that the use of household and garden pesticides increased the risk of leukemia by a factor of seven. If this information were public knowledge, its quite probable that many families would just deal with the garden bugs.
Avoid unsafe chemicals both inside and outside of your home. While pests are certainly annoying, it is much safer to prevent pest infestation before it becomes a problem. Seal all possible entries in your home so bugs and rodents aren’t able to get in. Keeping your home clean and dry can also create an environment where pests are unable to survive and reproduce. When you do find intruders, use natural remedies to kill them or drive them away. For instance, mint or eucalyptus can be used to repel flies and cayenne pepper, cinnamon, or coffee grounds can be used to keep ants away.
Step Two: Use Non-Toxic Products
According to the Environmental Working Group, 79% of all products contain ingredients that may contain human carcinogens, or cancer-causing agents, as identified by the United States Food & Drug Administration.
Look for cleaners with safer ingredients, making sure to avoid formaldehyde and volatile organic compounds. Products made with natural or organic materials are best for you and the environment, so shop with companies like Shaklee, which are committed to manufacturing safe and effective products. Unfortunately, many companies make “green” versions of their products to appeal to the growing green cleaning market, so choosing companies that produce only green products can save you from dishonest marketing.
Step Three: Clean Up Indoor Air
A recent study by the California Air Resources Board found elevated exposures to air pollutants following the use of common cleaning products and air fresheners. These pollutants are linked to several negative health effects, including chronic respiratory diseases, headaches, nausea, fatigue, cancer, and harm to the immune, reproductive, nervous, and cardiovascular systems.
Keep the air fresh in your home by opening the windows whenever possible and populating your home with indoor plants. Use air purifiers and vacuum cleaners with built-in HEPA filters to clean toxins and pollutants from the air. Avoid using air freshener sprays and other cleaning or personal care sprays that can add toxic chemicals to your home. Instead, opt for naturally fragrant flowers or essential oils to make your house smell wonderful. Your home will look and smell beautiful, while you save money and landfill space.
By making wiser choices in your home care regimen, you can eliminate a host of potential health hazards for your family. You’ll breathe easy knowing that your house is poison-free and safe for all!