Health Tips for Spring Cleaning
It's a jungle in there. In your home, that is. Spring cleaning has a nice airy sound to it, but the products you use can be toxic to you and to the environment. Take a look at some of the ingredients in the products you probably use every week:
Short-term exposure to this gas can cause mild to severe breathing problems. Don't mix it with ammonia, vinegar or other acid-based cleansers, because it might release a toxic gas. In fact, the Environmental Protection Agency recommends using a non-chlorine bleach, like hydrogen peroxide, to bleach clothes.
Can irritate the eyes and lungs.
Can irritate the eyes and lungs and cause headaches.
Contain phenol and cresol. If swallowed, can cause diarrhea, fainting, dizziness, kidney and liver damage.
Furniture and floor polishes:
Contain nitrobenzene. If inhaled, can cause shallow breathing. If swallowed, can cause poisoning and death.
Used as a preservative in many cleansers. Suspected human carcinogen. Can irritate eyes, throat, skin and lungs.
Contain naphthalene and paradichlorbenzene. Can damage central nervous system, liver, kidneys.
Toilet bowl cleaners:
Contain hydrochloric acid or sodium acid sulfate. Can burn skin, cause blindness. If ingested, can burn stomach.
What are Your Alternatives?
If you're interested in using safer cleansers, consider making your own. A lot of the things you need you probably already have in your home already: baking soda, vinegar, olive oil, salt, lemon juice, etc. Visit the Web site of Environmental Media Services for household cleanser "recipes." http://www.ems.org/household_cleaners/alternatives.html
Environmental Media Services; Environmental Protection Agency, March 2002