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IS YOUR HOME
A HEALTHY HOME?

If you are using common household cleaners, it is not as healthy as you might think!

We live in a toxic world surrounded by pollution and synthetic chemicals. We are often times uninformed about many of the chemicals that we are using today. As more research is done, we are discovering that many household cleaners that were once considered safe to use are really quite toxic and even carcinogenic.

There are many threats posed by environmental pollutants to women's health. It's a message that you won't find in the corporate media, which presents illness as the individual's fault. Blaming our hereditary genes, diet, and behavior, while ignoring industries role to our health. More evidence is being collected to support the link to personal health and the environment. A growing body of evidence suggests that a broad range of woman's health problems, now on the rise as well as problems passed onto our children, may be linked to the exposure of synthetic chemicals in our environment, including every day household cleaners.

Corrosive cleaners such as Lye, and Acids, found in drain cleaners, Oven cleaners, and acid based toilet bowl cleaners are the most dangerous cleaning products as they will burn the skin, eyes, and internal body tissues easily. Even if you store chemical cleaners in a secure cupboard above your child's reach, simply using them may do harm as many release toxic or irritating Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC's) into the air. Aerosol spray disinfectants, and solvent based spot removers contain VOC's. VOC's degrade air quality and contribute to Smog and the depletion of the Ozone layer. Despite all of this manufacturers are not required to list ingredients and their concentrations on their labels even if they are hazardous, unless it is classified as a disinfectant. While companies print warning labels on the bottles they don't express the full range of the product toxicity. So called inactive, or inert ingredients are not necessarily benign as seen most recently in the evening news (February 2001).

Cleaning ingredients such as Paradich-lorobenzenes used in toilet cleaners and room deodorizer contain Formaldehyde. Some chemicals used in disinfectants are possible Carcinogens, and most products that claim to be disinfectants contain registered pesticides (Read the labels). Others containing Petroleum based surfactants called Alkylphenol Ethoxylates (APE's) don't biodegrade easily and can disrupt the normal hormone functions in our bodies. APE's are in over 400 products on the market today. Supermarket and Drugstore brands of Laundry detergents are more likely to contain APE's than branded names. In laboratory testing, 3 out of 4 non-chlorine disinfectants as well as environmentally friendly cleaners contained APE's.

Home cleaners can be deadly if mixed due to the compounds contained in each. Mixing ammonia products, or Acid products with Chlorine products will produce a Chlorine gas (used in World War II), which could damage your lungs, eyes, and/or even kill you!

Scientist and Doctors are now discovering that there is a connection between our increased use of household chemicals and the increased incidence of chronic illnesses like cancer, asthma, ADD, nervous disorders, birth defects, infertility, and a host of other problems. Our children's health is being put increasingly at risk as more and more chemical compounds are released into our environment. In 1997 the Environmental Protection Agency announced a new national agenda on children's health that will examine a child's total risk from all exposure to toxic chemicals.

There are good reasons for urgency. In January of 1998, the National Cancer Institute reported that the rate of childhood cancer has been steadily rising for a decade. Environmental factors are among the most likely culprits behind this dramatic rise. Four of the most pressing health concerns for children today are the rise in childhood cancer, the impact of chemicals upon hormonal systems, Neurotoxin's such as Mercury, and Lead, and the alarming rise in Asthma.

It is not necessary to use so many high tech chemical products. There are simple natural alternatives to chemical cleaners. If we are going to change we have to make these changes starting in our own homes. Lets get rid of the chemical cleaners as they are poisoning you, your family, and pets. They also are contributing the water and air contamination in your neighborhood. They cost a fortune to make and waste our natural resources in packaging. Second get rid of the assumptions of cleaning with all natural products. I am speaking from experience. They do a great job and make the cleaning experience mush more pleasant with the aromas from the essential oils. Typically, all natural cleaners do cost more because of the essential oils, however the benefits from using the products are equal in cleaning power, with no hazardous or carcinogenic ingredients.

Parents are worried and they want non-toxic alternatives to cleaning chemicals. The good news is that many non-toxic cleaners exist today. There are many practical steps you can take right now to make a difference in reducing your risk, and your child's risk, to these unwanted exposures to toxic chemicals.

Let's make a conscious decision to change our environment. It comes down to a choice on your part. A choice to care about you and your family's health and wellness, and the health and wellness of our planet. Let's make the right choice.

Teach your children
what we have taught our children-
that the Earth is our mother.
Whatever befalls the earth
befalls the son's and daughters of the earth.
If men spit upon the ground,
they spit upon themselves.

This we know.
The earth does not belong to us;
we belong to the earth.This we know.
All things are connected
like the blood, which unites ones family.
All things are connected.

Whatever befalls the earth
befalls the son's and daughters of the earth.
We did not weave the web of life;
We are merely a strand in it.
Whatever we do to the web,
we do to ourselves.

- Chief Seattle

Written by: Helyn Bartholomay


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