How the Cleaning Products You Use Affect Your Kids
In today’s world, more and more people have started to adopt greener habits, especially when it comes to cleaning.
However, with many of today’s green cleaning brands focusing their marketing efforts on parents, there is a common misconception that green cleaning is only necessary if you have children in your household.
While having children in a household does generate a need for greener habits, it’s really no different than any other individual living in a household when you think about it. We’re all humans on the same earth, with the same health benefits and risks, sharing the same responsibility for the environment. The truth is, many cleaning products contain toxic chemicals that are harmful to your health regardless of whether you’re a child or an adult.
Have you ever noticed that some of the bottles stored in your cabinet might even say “hazardous to humans and domestic animals”? If they’re hazardous to you and your pets, why use them? Here’s what you should look out for when choosing your cleaning products:
Products with a “fragrance”
With the existing laws, companies are not required to detail fragrance ingredients on their products. However, many that simply state “fragrance” contain phthalates, which are known endocrine disruptors. These are commonly found in products like air fresheners and dish soap and are particularly harmful to men with higher phthalate compounds as it’s linked to a reduction in sperm count, according to a 2003 study done by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Harvard School of Public Health (Experience Life).
Products containing Triclosan
Triclosan is commonly found in products labeled as “anti-bacterial,” like hand soaps and dishwashing detergents. According to Rebecca Sutton, PhD, a senior scientist at the Environmental Working Group (EWG), “the American Medical Association has found no evidence that these antimicrobials make us healthier or safer, and they’re particularly concerned because they don’t want us overusing antibacterial chemicals — that’s how microbes develop resistance, and not just to these [household antibacterials], but also to real antibiotics that we need.” Also, triclosan has also made it into our waterways, where it’s toxic to algae.
Products containing Butoxyethanol
This powerful solvent is often found in multi-purpose and window/glass cleaners. Similarly to phthalates, butoxyethanol is not required to be detailed in the ingredient list, but it’s found in many cleaners that are not all natural and green. The US Environmental Protection Agency advises that in addition to causing sore throats when inhaled, at high levels this chemical can also contribute to narcosis, pulmonary edema, and severe liver and kidney damage.
Other harmful cleaning product ingredients include ammonia, chlorine, sodium hydroxide, and Perchloroethylene. The solution? Always stick to products that have simple and natural ingredient lists.
Not sure how to tell if a cleaning product is safe for your family? Learn what green cleaning products are (and what they aren't).