5 Serious Health Risks Caused By Your Household Cleaning Products

You probably think your cleaning products are safe – otherwise, you wouldn’t be able to just buy them anywhere, right? Think again… Below are 5 serious health risks caused by many of today’s commonly available household cleaning products.

There are thousands of commercially available household cleaning products on the market today, and most people buy dozens of these products every year without a thought to what the chemicals they contain might be doing to their family’s health.

You probably assume that these products must be safe, or they would not be allowed to be sold to consumers – right?

If this has been your thought process, you may be surprised to learn that according to numerous tests done on over 2,000 cleaning products by the Environmental Working Group, many of these products contain ingredients that have been linked to numerous health problems, some of which may be quite severe.

While a fair amount of research and resulting regulation have focused on minimizing chemicals that may cause cancer (with varying results as you will see below), relatively few resources have been devoted to evaluating those that may be toxic to other bodily systems – such as the brain, the nervous system, the endocrine system, and other bodily organs. Even the Consumer Product Safety Commission has done little other than putting a few measures in place to prevent accidents such as child-safe packaging and warning labels on containers. Consequently, most American consumers have no idea how risky regular use of these common cleaning products may actually be for their health.

Below are 5 serious health risks that can be caused by ingredients in common cleaning products you can find on store shelves just about everywhere:

Asthma

Fumes from some cleaning products may induce asthma in otherwise healthy individuals. A large and growing body of evidence links frequent use of many ordinary cleaning supplies at home or on the job with development of asthma and other respiratory problems. It is already known that cleaning product fumes may trigger attacks in persons previously diagnosed with asthma.

……………………………………………………………..

A 10-country study of more than 3,500 individuals who were initially free of asthma found that nine years later, those who used spray cleaners at least once a week to clean their homes had a 30-to-50 percent increased risk of developing asthma during the study period (Zock 2007). This association was linked primarily to commonly used spray products such as air fresheners, glass cleaners and furniture cleaning sprays. The risk increased the more often people used sprays or the greater the number of different sprays used.

……………………………………………………….

Preliminary findings also suggest that fetal exposure to household cleaning supplies may affect respiratory health. In a series of studies on parents and children, scientists at three British universities determined that children born to women who frequently used cleaning supplies in their homes while pregnant had a higher risk of persistent wheezing and reduced lung function (Sherriff 2005; Henderson 2008). The increased risk of these respiratory symptoms persisted for at least eight years after in utero exposure and was independent of many other indoor air pollutant exposures and potential confounding factors.

Cancer

Common cleaning ingredients can be laced with the carcinogenic impurity 1,4-dioxane. Independent tests have detected the presence of 1,4-dioxane in numerous name-brand cleaning supplies. Other products contain preservatives that release low levels of cancer-causing formaldehyde.

………………………………………………………

What are the risks of using cleaning products that contain chemicals that may turn out to be cancer causers? This question hasn’t been studied very often. One recent retrospective study by the Silent Spring Institute that surveyed 1,500 Massachusetts women, half of whom had been diagnosed with breast cancer, suggested a link between using household cleaners and cancer (Zota 2010). Women who reported the greatest use of cleaning products (top 25 percent) were twice as likely to have been diagnosed with breast cancer as those reporting the least use (bottom 25 percent). Higher risk was also associated with frequent use of air fresheners, especially solid ones, and mold- and mildew-control products….

Reproductive & Developmental Problems

A 2010 study conducted by the New York State Department of Health that analyzed maternal occupation and 45 types of birth defects indicated that children born to women working as building custodians have a significantly increased risk of certain congenital deformities (Herdt-Losavio 2010). Other occupational studies have highlighted risks of solvent exposure for a group of children born to women working with organic solvents during pregnancy. Some of the children in this category had reduced IQ and language skills (Till 2001; Laslo-Baker 2004) and vision abnormalities (Till 2005). Few studies have probed the reproductive or developmental risks tied to cleaners, a troubling gap in our understanding of the potential effects of long-term exposure to these common consumer products.

Allergies & Irritation

Ordinary cleaners can cause some people to suffer mild to severe allergic reactions of the skin, eyes and lungs. In rare cases, these reactions can require hospitalization. Some cleaning products contain chemicals that can trigger an allergy by themselves, while others have ingredients that can combine with proteins to form “haptens” that trigger reactions (Chipinda 2011). Linalool, commonly found in fragrances and essential oils, is one hapten-forming chemical (Christensson 2010; Karlberg 2008). The resulting allergic reactions can either develop quickly after only a few exposures or slowly after frequent, long-term exposures to lower concentrations of allergenic substances (Chipinda 2011).

Many harsh chemical cleaners can cause direct, painful irritation of the skin, eyes, nose, throat and lungs. The very properties that make cleaning products effective can also mean that they inflame delicate tissues.

……………………………………………………..

Repeated exposure to chlorine bleach has been linked to respiratory damage and wheezing as well as nose and eye irritation. Bleach fumes consist of a complex mixture of toxic, carcinogenic and irritating gases, including chlorine, chloroform and carbon tetrachloride (Medina-Ramon 2005; Odabasi 2008).

……………………………………………………….

The risks of bleach are not limited to those who clean for a living. A 2009 study from a 13-country research team found that people who used bleach at home four or more times per week were more likely than non-bleach users to suffer lower respiratory tract symptoms such as wheezing, coughing and shortness of breath (Zock 2009).

……………………………………………………………..

Some respiratory allergies may be set off by fragrances, which are complex chemical mixtures commonly used to scent air fresheners and cleaners, personal care products and other consumer goods.

Fragrances are collectively considered among the top five allergens in the world (de Groot 1997; Jansson 2001)…

Chemical Burns & Poisoning

Many household cleaners can cause severe damage when ingested or splashed directly onto the skin and eyes. Though Americans are aware of the acute toxicity of some cleaning supplies, statistics on hospital visits and poison control calls make clear that accidents with cleaning supplies occur daily.

Cleaning products that are extremely acidic or alkaline or contain corrosive ingredients can cause painful burns to the skin and eyes and permanent tissue damage or scarring. Inhaling fumes from these products can harm the lungs. Cleaning professionals can suffer serious chemical injuries on the job.

…………………………………………………..

In 2010, American poison control centers fielded more than 116,000 calls about household cleaner accidents involving children under age five (Bronstein 2011). U.S. emergency room records show that in 2006 alone, 10,318 children under age five required some form of medical treatment as a result of poisoning with household cleaners, and 744 of them had symptoms that were life-threatening or resulted in significant disability (McKenzie 2010).

Read More at EWG.org

Don’t risk your family’s health! There are plenty of safer alternatives out there these days – from safe and cheap DIY recipes to non-toxic and natural cleaning products that do a great job for a reasonable price – one that won’t cost you your health.

 

 

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published.