About ten years ago I became sensitive to a lot of chemicals. It started out while I was driving truck as part of a team and my sensitivity to the smell of diesel got worse over time. Not only the diesel, which gave me horrible headaches, but one particular incident comes to mind as the turning point when I realized that I needed to quit breathing these things.
We were somewhere in Missouri and I was out for a walk and I still don't know what it was that triggered a sneezing fit, but it went on and on and my eyes watered, my chest tightened and I have been more sensitive than ever since that time. Some cleaning products I simply cannot be around, period. Here is a great article by Sophie Gratton on the chemicals found in a lot of our cleaning products.
The best way to be able to fight the battle properly against harmful cleaning products is to be prepared. Knowing the name of the most common and most dangerous chemicals, as well as their potential effects on you and your family is the best plan of attack. Here is the list of the top 5 most harmful chemicals found in cleaning products.
- Diethylene glycol: Found in many commercial window and glass cleaners. The main danger is when diethylene glycol is ingested. The effects can be mild to very dangerous and can include gastrointestinal symptoms (nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and diarrhea) depression, kidney and renal failure, neurological complications such as lethargy, paralysis, coma and even death.
- Phenols: Phenols are difficult to avoid in cleaning products because it is present in almost all antibacterial cleaners and disinfectant, and is a very common ingredient in detergents and all-purpose cleaners. Depending on how phenol is absorbed (skin contact, inhaled or ingested) the potential effects of phenol on health can be severe eye, nose, throat and skin irritation, headache, shortness of breath, coma, convulsions, organ damage and death.
- Formaldehyde: Formaldehyde is in so many things. When it comes to cleaning products, formaldehyde is found in air and carpet deodorizers, fabric softener and furniture polish. It is known to cause cancer in humans. You can make better products or eliminate some (like furniture polish), do your health a favor, AND save a lot of money.
- Butyl cellosolve: Butyl cellosolve is uncommon in major US or Canada cleaning product brands but it can be found in products at discount stores and some inexpensive brand name products. Be aware when purchasing discount cleaning products for your windows, bathroom and tiles, all-purpose cleaners and kitchen disinfectants. Butyl cellosolve is suspected to damage the nervous system, liver, kidneys and even bone marrow. Better to make your own!!!
- Petroleum solvents: Found in furniture polishes and floor cleaners, these solvents are known irritants to mucus membranes in the mouth, nose, ears and eyes. They can also hidden in our food as they are used to clean machinery that process food.
Save where you can so you can spend where you want. And your lungs will thank you for ridding your home (or travel vehicle) of all those chemicals.
Thanks for stopping by today. Hugs, Shawna