Carcinogens and Neurotoxins in Cleaning Products

Every day we are bombarded with chemicals. In fact, on a typical cleaning day, the level of harmful chemicals in your home may be hundreds or even thousands times higher than the outdoor air in polluted cities! The levels of toxins would be high enough to trigger an inspection if found in the workplace environment. Many scientists are becoming concerned that long-term exposure to low levels of toxins is just as dangerous as short-term exposure to high levels of toxic chemicals.

Since 1945 more than 72,000 synthetic chemicals have been produced, while less than 2% of them have been tested for toxicity, carcinogenic effects and birth defects. Many of these harmful chemicals are found in our cleaning products.

The Cancer Prevention Coalition reports:

According to the EPA, indoor air pollution is one of the nation’s most pressing personal health concerns. Peak concentrations of 20 toxic compounds – some linked with cancer and birth defects – were 200 to 500 times higher inside some homes than outdoors, according to a 5-year EPA study that surveyed 600 homes in six cities.

Residues of more than 400 toxic chemicals – some found in household products and  foods – have been identified in human blood and fat tissue.

Chemicals are attracted to and stored in fatty tissue. The brain and breasts are prime targets because of their high fat composition. Breast cancer is the number one killer of women between 35-54. Primary suspects are laundry detergents, household cleaners and pesticides. According to a 15-year study presented at the Toronto Indoor Air Conference, women who work at home have a 54% higher death rate from cancer than those who work away from home. The study concluded that this was a direct result of the increased exposure to toxic chemicals found in common household cleaners.

Feel like you need one of these to clean?

Many of these chemicals are neurotoxin–nerve poison–acting specifically on our nerve cells  or neurons causing loss of muscle control, loss of mental abilities, loss of feeling and, sometimes loss of consciousness.  Mild poisoning can cause drunkenness, but prolonged exposure can cause loss of neurons.  When ingested, neurotoxins, such as mercury, can cause severe disabilities  and impaired neurological development to a developing fetus.  Neurotoxins impact on cognitive thinking, memory, attention, language, and fine motor and visual spatial skills.  Some may cause cancer. (And you thought you were losing your memory because of aging!)

The Safe Shoppers Bible reports that many common household products contain known carcinogens (cancer causing) and/or neurotoxins.  Some of these are popular, well-known products: Windex, Dawn, Joy, Sunlight, Lysol, Arm & Hammer Heavy Duty Detergent, Tilex Soap and Scum Remover, Bon Ami Foam Cleanser, Shout Aerosol, Spray ‘n Wash Tough Stain Remover, Pine-Sol and Spic and Span Pine Cleaner Liquid.

Just because chlorine bleach has been used for years does not mean it is safe.  Bleach is being linked to rising rates of breast cancer in women, reproductive problems in men and learning and behavioral problems in children.  In fact, when bleach is used in industrial areas, OSHA requires that protective clothing or face shields be used.  According to Poison Control, household products and bleach are among the top culprits for more than 3 million poisonings each year. Chlorine is the number one cause of child poisonings in the U.S.

Since 1980 asthma has increased over 600%.  Canadian health associations and researchers have identified common household cleaners as triggers.

Considering all these statistics , your home is probably toxic.  So what can you do?  Doesn’t it make sense to you to investigate safe alternatives?

 The Cancer Prevention Coalition provides a list of harmful ingredients in household cleaners.

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