You’re spring cleaning with THAT?
I don’t know about you, but in general thinking about environmental issues overwhelms me. I try to do my best to be green, but I’m far from perfect.
So I hesitated a little bit before putting pen to paper on this post today. I was scared that, because I’m not always a model environmental citizen, I had no basis for taking a stand here. I worried about coming across as preachy or overly crunchy, neither of which reflect who I am.
But in the end, I decided to take the plunge. Since this is the time of year most of us lug out the deep cleaning equipment and go to town scrubbing our homes from stem-to-stern to welcome spring, it seemed the perfect moment to raise the flag.
So here goes: can we all PLEASE stop cleaning with toxic stuff?
In 2011, according to an article in Adweek, roughly 70% of household cleaners sold in the US were of the toxic variety, not the green kind. So, while yes, it is grand that the sales of green cleaning products have quintupled recently and are on track to be a $600+ million business in the US by next year, it’s insane that nearly three-quarters of the ones sold in this country today contain things that don’t biodegrade and/or aren’t good for us.
We’re still using corrosive drain cleaners, acidic toilet bowl cleaners, oven cleaners, scented laundry detergents and stain removers containing surfactants, sudsing cleansers, and on and on the list goes.
We clean because we want a healthy, germ-free, dirt-free environment for our kids (and ourselves).
But the fact is, if you’re still using these kinds of products, you could be poisoning your family instead.
Lest you think that these chemicals are out of harms way if you keep them behind child-proofed cabinet doors, consider a few things:
Household cleaners are the second most common cause of pediatric poisonings according to Pediatrics. Even with all of the safety precautions we now take, researchers found that as recently as 2006, an eye-popping 10,318 children required some form of medical treatment as a result of poisoning attributable to exposure to household cleaners, and 744 of those children exhibited symptoms that were life-threatening or that resulted in significant residual disability.
Do you have kids who play? Playing is a full-contact sport. They roll on the ground to push toys here and there, they fall down and roll around just because it’s funny, they do summersaults, and they rarely (if ever) think before putting their hands in their mouths. Whatever you’re using to clean your floors and counter tops – it’s going to end up on them and in them one way or another.
When some sudsing agents interact with nitrite-based preservatives, they create carcinogens that easily penetrate the skin.
The cleaners you use go down your drains and into our collective water supplies. One of the chemical compounds included in surfactants mimics the hormone estrogen. Researchers are noticing that male fish are developing female sex organs. If we don’t change, that could happen to our boys eventually too. And if that’s not enough to scare you, consider the breast cancer link.
It’s insanity that we are still using products that can cause cancer, disrupt delicate hormonal balances, and poison our curious toddlers.
We have to stop. And there’s no better time than this spring cleaning season.
Individually we may feel insignificant, but collectively, we could make a massive difference. If you’re up for the challenge,leave a comment on the post below. What do you think? Are you in?
If you’re curious about healthier alternatives – here are 8 inexpensive and easy homemade alternatives that use non-toxic ingredients. We’ve even created print-your-own labels with the recipes right on them…just click on the image to grab your free printable.