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Coming clean on toxic cleansers
Many Canadians will use this season as an opportunity to clean up around the house.
Unfortunately, while spring is considered a time to refresh and renew, many of the cleaning products used around the house may be polluting your home and making your family sick.
There are thousands of chemicals found in household cleaners, many of which have not been extensively tested for their detrimental health effects. Some of the chemicals have been linked to cancers, respiratory illness, allergic reactions and reproductive difficulties.
Currently, there is no requirement by Health Canada for household cleaning product manufacturers to list their ingredients or disclose known health concerns about their products.
Chemicals such as sodium laurel sulfate, triclosan, mono/di/triethanolamine have been linked to hormone disruptions and certain forms of cancer. These are commonly found in anti-bacterial soaps, detergents and all-purpose cleaners.
This year, one in four Canadians will die of cancer, many of which can be attributed to toxic chemicals in the environment. Interestingly, after a person is diagnosed with cancer, some doctors and specialists will strongly recommend removing all toxic cleaners and chemicals from the home.
If these cleaners have the potential to make a sick person sicker, it stands to reason that they can make a healthy person sick as well.
In one study, researchers identified 133 unique volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emitted from a small sample of consumer products, including six cleaning products. Each product tested emitted between one and eight chemicals classified as toxic or hazardous.
When these chemicals are used to clean our homes, they vaporize and linger in the air. These same chemicals can also remain on clothes, utensils and surfaces only to enter the body by absorption through the skin.
What can you do to ensure a safer spring-cleaning this year? Here are some tips to follow to reduce and eliminate your exposure to toxic chemicals in the home:
1) Read the label: Chose products that actually list their ingredients and educate yourself on questionable ingredients.
2) Go fragrance free: Heavily scented air fresheners contain many toxic chemicals. Even unscented products can contain these same chemicals.
3) Wash with plain soap: Anti-bacterial soaps contain hormone disruptors and create bacterial resistance. Castile soap is a better option.
4) Make your own cleaners: There are many recipes online for simple cleaners. A multipurpose cleaner can be made simply out of a diluted vinegar solution. Baking soda and essential oils are also great additions.
Dr. Christian Chatzoglou, D.C. is a chiropractor, writer and natural health expert.
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(1 of 6 articles for this week)05/15/2013 1:00 AM 0
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