It’s enough to make you sick.
Most people don’t realise the amount of toxic chemicals which go into household cleaning products.
Some of the particularly nasty chemicals to look out for are as follows.
Phthalates: Phthalates occur in many fragranced household products. Products such as toilet paper, laundry/dishwashing detergents & air fresheners have phthalates in them (unless they’re fragranced with essential oils). Unfortunately though, you won’t see phthalates listed on labels as companies’ proprietary laws exclude them from having to disclose the nasties in their fragrances. Chemical tip : If the word “fragrance” is on a label, you can be pretty sure that phthalates will be part of the ingredients.
Perchloroethelene or “Percs” : Percs are found in upholstery/carpet cleaners, spot removers and dry-cleaning solutions. Percs are a neurotoxin as well as a possible carcinogen. You can usually pick the telltale aroma after picking clothes up from the dry cleaners or after having carpets cleaned.
Triclosan : Triclosan is an ingredient in hand washes and dishwashing detergents which have “antibacterial” on the label. Antibacterial products have had strong sales in recent times. People think that if they kill every germ they can, they won’t get sick. The irony is that it’s the other way around. Our immune systems need to be exposed to different germs, bacteria, microbes etc to build up its immunity. Hence the more we use germ killing products the sicker we may get in the long run because of the lack of immunity in our system. If hand sanitisers are an addiction for you, alcohol based is the way to go (without triclosan).
Quarternary Ammonium Compounds or “Quats”. Quats are a type of antimicrobial found in fabric softener liquids and many household cleaning products with “antibacterial’ on the label. They have the same problem as triclosan in that they can hasten the buildup of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Quats are also a known to cause dermatitis (being a skin irritant) and a prime suspect for causing respiratory disorders such as asthma.
Some of the other chemical nasties in household cleaning products include lye (aka sodium hydroxide), sodium bisulfate, ammonia, bleach (never mix bleach and ammonia together as the resulting fumes can be fatal), hydrochloric acid, phenol, isopropanol and chlorine.
There are more chemicals in personal care products as well. These will be looked at in future blogs. I’ll also be showcasing different ways to make your own cleaning products for around the home. I will also talk about how to replace chemical filled personal care products with natural, plant based and gentler ingredients.