When it’s time to do some routine scrubbing, do you reach under the sink for your trusty bottles and cans of cleaner and deodorizers? Maybe you keep your supplies in a cabinet in the laundry room or in the garage. Where you keep your bottles and brushes doesn’t matter, but what you reach for does. If you are like most Americans, you have a bottle for each cleaning scenario: a bathroom counter deodorizer/sanitizer, carpet stain and odor remover, laundry detergent, etc. Having a clean home is important, as is having the right tool for the job, but have you ever stopped to think about what is in each of those bottles that you reach for?
In recent years consumers have become more aware of the chemicals that go into their food but every time you spray a bottle or shake a can of powder into your home, you’re introducing smalls amount of toxic chemicals into your home. Liquid droplets from spray bottles are small enough that they aerosolize and float the air where you and your loved ones breath them in. Once they’re entered your nasal passages and lungs, these toxins can pass through your body’s mucous membranes and find their way into your bloodstream. In low doses they’re not generally harmful and are excreted naturally from the body, which is how they manage to receive EPA approval. However, when used frequently inside a closed-up area, such as the home, they can accumulate in amounts that exceed even workplace safety standard. At these dangerous levels your body can’t process them quickly enough causing negative health effects. The best defensive is a good offense so let’s take a quick look at some of the most common toxic chemicals found in modern cleaning supplies.
Antibacterials sound good, right? They’re literally anti-bacteria! Antibiotics have revolutionized modern medicine. Diseases that mortally dangerous in the past are now cured quickly and cheaply with a few pills or a shot. But just the same way that antibacterials in the food supply is harmful to the farmers who use them and the consumers who consume them, traditional antibacterials are not something you want to have floating around your home for a variety of reasons. Triclosan, the antibacterial added to many hand soaps, is a leading contributor to the explosive growth of drug-resistant bacteria. Basically, Triclosan kills bacteria but not all of the bacteria. The bacteria that survive do so because they have a particular adaptation that enables them to survive the Triclosan usage unscathed. They pass this adaptation down to their offspring and soon enough you have an entire strain of bacteria that is completely unaffected by Triclosan as well as other antibiotics that work via the same mechanism and that’s a real problem for human health. Another common antibacterial, Quaternary Ammonium Compounds, are used in fabric softeners. They also contribute to antibiotic resistance and are a known skin irritant to boot!
Endocrine disruptors, such as Phthalates, disrupt the body’s flow because they superficially resemble the body’s natural hormones and chemically bind to those hormones’ receptors, often in higher amounts than the actual hormone ever would naturally. Remember the scare over BPA in plastic bottles and on receipt paper? BPA is another endocrine disruptor. A study done by the CDC in 2003 showed that men with high amounts of Phthalates in their bodies had lower than average sperm counts. Other endocrine disruptors wreck havoc in more insidious ways. Some can even cause cancer which leads us to…
Your body’s cells are constantly making copies of themselves. In a healthy body, cell death occurs at a natural, sustainable pace. When the old cells die, they are replaced by younger, healthier cells. Carcinogens interrupt this process by disrupting DNA replication within the cells so that when your older cells die off, the young cells that replace them possess corrupted DNA. This inferior DNA is then replicated over and over again leading, ultimately, to cancer. Common known carcinogens include certain synthetic fragrances, quaternium-15 (which releases formaldehyde), and benzene.
HOW TO AVOID TOXINS IN YOUR CLEANERS
The best way to avoid exposing yourself and your family to toxic chemicals is to avoid them altogether and the best way to do that is to make the switch to healthier, eco-friendly products. Here are some tips to make the switch easier for you.
• For basic cleaning and scrubbing, try a combination of simple dish soap and white distilled vinegar. For more difficult surface stains, a paste can be made by mixing baking soda and vinegar. Simply apply the paste, let it sit, and scrub away. Elbow grease is the easiest, safest way to remove unsightly stains.
• To protect yourself on the go, try an alcohol-based hand sanitizer instead of antibacterial soap. Alcohol not only fights bacteria, it kills fungus and viruses as well. Alcohol does not contribute to drug-resistant bacteria and does not accumulate in waterways or other sensitive environments.
• When you need an odor eliminator or surface sanitizer with a little more punching power, there’s MonoFoil. MonoFoil is a healthcare-grade sanitizer that is bleach-free, dye-free, and perfume-free and contains no phosphates and no harsh acids. Its dual action formula deodorizes as it disinfects. It kills more than 99.9% of the bacteria it comes into contact with, including Staphylococcus aureus (Staph), Salmonella enterica (Salmonella), Pseudomonas aeruginosa, is effective against mold and viruses, and like alcohol, MonoFoil does not contribute to antibiotic resistance. When applied to a surface, MonoFoil forms an invisible bond that destroys bacteria that continues to protect the surface, killing bacteria that come into contact with it long after you’ve sprayed. If household odors are more of what you struggle with, check out the ApplyGuard deodorizing products tailored for pet, shoe, and car smells. They even have a laundry formula for when you need an extra boost of odor-fighting power.