Don’t blame childhood allergies only on pollution or your food
Childhood allergies (asthma, rhinitis, conjunctivitis, eczema) are on the rise. 1 in 3 have allergies in Singapore, and children up to 44.5%. Besides, dust mites and outdoor pollution, research points to other “environmental factors” that causes allergies, the often overlooked areas of our lives - our homes.
Our children today can easily spend 8+ hours a day (like any adult) in a closed, indoor air-conditioned environment (i.e. childcare, school, home and our shopping malls). Did you know that your everyday household cleaning products contain chemicals that are known to cause allergies, disrupt hormones and etc? I did not too, until I became a parent. My boy aged 2 has mild eczema and prone to nasal allergies, my girl 4 suffers from regular internal nose bleeding due to allergic reaction to substances in the air.
Our "parents' generation" cleaning products, which we thought were safe and continue to use today, are in fact, laden with chemicals. Chemicals that are causing the “environmental issues” or “indoor pollution" closely link to development of childhood allergies.
For example, household cleaning products that contain ammonia, bleach, sodium hydroxide, amines, colophony (pine resin) and limonene (lemon scent) should be avoided, as these chemicals are known asthma triggers.
I started looking for a natural cleaning alternative and stumbled upon Soapnut berries (Sapindus). Soapnut berries are the fruit of the soapnut shrub, a native crop of China and India. It is used to make soap by native peoples in Asia (especially India) and Native Americans for thousands of years. In addition, Soapnut Berries have medicinal benefits for people with sensitive skin, eczema and other skin conditions, as the soapnut saponin (plant surfactant) appears to be hypoallergenic and mild on the skin.
I first experimented by throwing soapnuts into my laundry. It does generate soap but was not as effective in cleaning. Further research for natural household cleaning products let me to discover Soapnut Republic - a company founded by a New Zealand couple in China with 3 beautiful children. The company uses a very high content of Soapnut berries extracts (in replacement of toxic chemical as cleaning surfactants / foamers ) in their entire range of cleaning products, ranging from multi-purpose cleaner, foaming hand wash, laundry detergent, toilet cleaners, etc. Soapnut Republic products are now available online here (www.soapnutrepublicsg.com)
At the end of the day, I asked myself this: "Is my family’s health really not worth me spending a little more money on soap and floor cleaners? Is my peace of mind really not worth my time spent ensuring our bathroom at home isn’t a zone of toxic chemicals?" While we cannot control all the chemicals in the malls or schools, but we are the gatekeepers of our own home where our children eat, play and sleep. As a wife and mother, feels good to know I am eliminating chemicals and toxic chemicals from my house that carry detrimental short term or long term side effects.