Clean ~ But At What Cost?

I saw this ad in a magazine the other day. And it completely pissed me off.

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The chemicals in Lysol have been linked to health concerns such as asthma, decreased hormone function, skin conditions, and nervous system depression. Even the manufacturer’s own Material Safety Data Sheet states, “PRECAUTIONARY STATEMENTS: HAZARDS TO HUMANS AND DOMESTIC ANIMALS CAUTION.” It also lists areas affected as “Blood. Liver. Respiratory system. Central nervous system. Heart.”

So to use the term “healthing” in an advertisement for Lysol must mean using a hazardous, toxin filled substance in your home. The place where your children and pets play on the floors and breathe the air.

Unbelievable.

We’ve assumed for nearly a century that all of the chemical filled products sold to us to clean our homes are safe. Most of them aren’t. The truth of the matter is that we’ve been duped and here’s how.

  • The government presumes that a chemical is safe until it is proven unsafe, which is difficult and costly. This is why there has been little independent testing of the 85,000 chemicals currently on the market.
  • It doesn’t look like it’s going to change anytime soon. The major environmental law in place to regulate dangerous chemicals, the Toxic Substances Control Act, has not been significantly changed since the 1970s.

Unfortunately, it often takes a disaster or big lawsuits for the government to take notice and make changes. Erin Brockovich’s involvement in the hexavalent chromium lawsuits and the asbestos class actions are two examples. 

CHEMICALS TO AVOID

Some chemicals found in traditional cleaning products have been linked to cancer, others to asthma, hormone disruption, and ADHD. Here are a few to avoid:

  • Parabens
  • Ammonia
  • Chlorine bleach
  • BPA
  • Phosphates
  • Phthalates
  • Formaldehyde
  • Ethanol

WHAT TO USE INSTEAD

With the store shelves filled with traditional, toxic cleaners, we are left wondering what else to use. There are a few homemade cleaners that will do the job.

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{Photo courtesy of gooddev.com.}

If you want to use a store bought cleaner, Seventh Generation is an all-natural option. However, my experience with it has been that it is expensive and the products do not clean that well. Another option is the brand Melaleuca. I have been using Melaleuca cleaners for over a year now and have found that they clean well with all-natural ingredients like tea tree oil, thyme, and lemon juice. The prices are great and they ship directly to you. The Honest Company is newer to the market, although their products are more expensive than Melaleuca.

Until the law changes, and offers more protection, it is up to us. We must be educated consumers and our own health advocates. Do your own research. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. And don’t assume that something’s safe just because it’s on sale at the grocery store or because you see it in an ad. Odds are there’s a healthier, safer alternative.

YOUR FUN, SEXY, SPIRITUAL HOMEWORK

  • Read this New York Times article. It explains more in depth why our cleaning products are not usually tested. 
  • Check out this article about the most toxic cleaners.
  • If this topic gets you fired up too, you might enjoy reading The Hundred Year Lie.
  • Want to know how safe your products are? Look them up here.
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