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Get rid of toxic products.

Question: Can you give me a list of the products that I should get out of my house? I have had cancer and am trying to keep my environment as toxic free as possible. I am switching to many of your products, but still have things that I’ve used for years. Thank you! As a […]

Question: Can you give me a list of the products that I should get out of my house? I have had cancer and am trying to keep my environment as toxic free as possible. I am switching to many of your products, but still have things that I’ve used for years. Thank you!


As a general rule of thumb, consumer cleaners have to list only their hazardous ingredients. Non-hazardous ingredients do not need to be listed. Therefore, I would recommend looking on the back label of the cleaners you currently use. Most people have a sensitivity to the cleaner’s vapors or the irritating effect on skin. Look for some of the following ingredients:

 

1. Sodium or potassium hypochlorite (bleach) – used in a wide variety of products from automatic dishwashing liquids to tile cleaners. Sodium or potassium hypochlorite is corrosive and chlorine gas is released in the presence of heat, agitation or mixing with incompatible materials. Chlorine gas is toxic and irritating to breathe. Try to find effective replacement cleaners to replace bleach containing products so that repeated exposure to chlorine gas is minimized.

 

2. Sodium and potassium hydroxide – used in just about every type of cleaner found in the home to some degree, these compounds are quite common. However, they are corrosive to skin and can create corrosive mist when sprayed.

 

3. Isopropyl alcohol (IPA) – used as an active ingredient in window cleaners and all purpose cleaners, IPA is a volatile organic compound (VOC) and can be irritating to breathe. Trying to minimize the exposure to volatile organic compounds in cleaning products will help to improve overall indoor air quality.

 

4. Ammonia– commonly used in window cleaners and and other cleaners, ammonia is very aromatic and gases off into the air. It is not a healthy idea to breathe these vapors when cleaning.

 

5. Antibacterial products – antibacterial products seem to be the marketing rage, but they can do more harm than good. They disrupt the natural balance of organisms naturally found on the human body. In addition, recent studies have shown that the active ingredient found in the majority of antibacterial products will combine with the chlorine found in tap water (most municipalities add chlorine to disinfect tap water) and sunlight to form chlorinated dioxins. These known carcinogens absorb readily into the skin. Another study found there was no performance advantage to using antibacterial soaps over regular soap and water. Avoid antibacterial soaps of any kind. You can wash bacteria off of a surface or your skin as effectively as trying to kill them. Instead use regular baby shampoo or bar soap for washing hands. There are also non-antibacterial body washes.

 

6. Strong mineral acids – many toilet bowl cleaners and other household cleaners are acid based. The acids typically used in these products include, hydrochloric acid (muriatic), sulfuric acid, and even nitric acid. These acids are extremely corrosive and some of them even gas off into the air. This gassing effect can be irritating to many people in a confined space like a bathroom. Try to use products that contain citric acid or other organic acids that are milder and do not gas off.

 

7. SolventsSurprisingly, there are still household cleaning products that rely on solvents such as kerosene, mineral spirits and acetone. Like the IPA mentioned above, solvents are volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and can be irritating to breath. Trying to minimize the exposure to volatile organic compounds in cleaning products will help to improve overall indoor air quality. Most solvents are also flammable.

 

8. Aerosol cleaners – aerosol packaging can be convenient and effective to use, but they can be very irritating to some people. In addition to the cleaner itself (which can be corrosive), these aerosol products contain a propellant which is usually a solvent. Solvents are volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and can be irritating to breathe. Trying to minimize the exposure to volatile organic compounds in cleaning products will help to improve overall indoor air quality. Since most solvents used as propellants are flammable, there is a real danger to using them around sources of ignition. Pump sprayers are a better option since they do not require a solvent propellant.

 

This is not a all inclusive list by far. Some people have sensitivities to certain types of preservatives, fragrances and other types of chemical compounds. By eliminating the types of products mentioned above, you can go a long way towards minimizing personal exposure and improving indoor air quality. It would be a good first step.

 

Sincerely;

 

The Formulation Chemist™

Actual question & Answer submitted to: www.neuhomecare.com

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