modern harmful chemical cleaning products

Many modern cleaning products contain chemical ingredients as they try to be super efficient in cleaning, but in doing so, they have relentlessly added more and more chemicals which have long term health impact. Increasingly, there are more studies indicating the hazardous impact of these chemicals on the skin, the respiratory system and even the endocrine system. So, the question begs to be answered ... why aren't people switching to safer natural cleaning products. The answer is two folds: education and availability.

Let's tackle the first issue of education ... Why are chemical cleaning products dangerous?

The chemicals used in these products are typically by products of fossil fuels and have gone through chemical transformation to be more efficient at cleaning, but also sadly, more lethal. The argument is that these chemicals are "safe" in low levels of concentrations found in these products. However, these chemicals have been known to leave residue and maintain in the body system for long periods of time. The long term exposure and gradual build up of these chemicals in our bodies are the worrisome part. 

These chemicals have been known to cause chemical burns, watery eyes, respiratory problems, skin irritation and so on, with many linked (though not proven) to also cause long term respiratory issues, and endocrine problems. 

In fact, have you ever wondered why your cleaning products have a Poison label on the bottle? Ever wondered what's in the bottle that makes it so poisonous? Why are we cleaning our hands with such harsh and posionous chemicals?

Primary 3 boy 'poisons' classmate's water with Dettol hand soap -- to get back at her for female friend

Best to stay away from cleaning products with these ... 

, which are usually found in products with artificial fragrances. (You don't know it's in there when it merely list "fragrance", but better be safe than sorry.)

Triclosan, mainly used as an antibacterial solution in hand soap and dish washing liquid. Already banned by the FDA, so stay away.

Quarternary Ammonium Compounds, or “QUATS”, also used as an antibacterial solution and mostly found in fabric softerner

Chlorine, this is very strong and corrosive liquid or powder and is often use as a whitener and to clean the toilet or sink waste trap

Ammonia, used as a polishing gent for chrome fixtures. Also note that when chlorine and ammonia mix, very toxic fumes are released.

Sodium Hydroxide, very corrosive and used in oven cleaners and drain decloggers

This isn't meant to be an exhaustive list of chemicals, but the notable culprits.

From an availability point of view, it's whether natural alternatives are readily available and at what price point

Natural alternatives for cleaning exist in our every day lifes. Simple ingredients like vinegar, lemon and baking soda are already very effective in cleaning. It does the job, without additional frills. It does need a little work to mix these ingredients at home and on a regular basis, since they don't stay fresh for long, but otherwise, it is cheap and readily available.

Yet another alternative is to use off the shelf natural cleaning products, and in recent years there are increasing more brands available at all price points. The key here is to identify those that are truly natural and SAFE, and at a price point that is suitable for you.

The next time you shop online or offline, have a look or search for "natural" products. You'll be pleasantly surprised by the variety of options available.

Healthy Living is yours, you just have to make a conscious decision about it.

February 21, 2018 — Fionna Lee