A Healthier Home – Inside and Out

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cleaning-products2Being kind to the environment involves not only what we use outdoors in our gardens and landscape, but also what we are using indoors in our living spaces. Indoor products such as cleaning agents, detergents and personal care items contain chemicals that can contaminate our homes, contribute to health complaints, and end up in our environment, affecting plants, animals and our ecosystem. These products that we use daily may contain formaldehyde, benzene, trichloroethylene, toluene, as well as many other chemicals. It is important to educate ourselves about the products we use and understand how they can affect us. By switching to natural home cleaning and personal care products, you can reduce possible harmful exposure, while promoting a healthier home and planet.

Most detergents, commercial cleaners, and personal hygiene products populating grocery shelves contain chemicals that may have negative impacts on our health. Commercial dish detergents, for example, can contain petroleum-based surfactants, chlorinated materials, and germicidal agents, as well as naptha (a central nervous system depressant), diethanolamine (a possible liver poison) and chlorophenylphenol (a metabolic stimulant considered toxic). By choosing all-natural dish detergents, you eliminate these unnecessary chemical compounds from seeping into groundwater, polluting animal and plant life, and contaminating the plates and dishes you use for food preparation and meals.

Laundry detergents are another major indoor contaminant. It’s often difficult to ascertain official ingredients since many companies are not required by law to list them. Some even claim that their formulations are confidential. Most detergents contain petroleum-based artificial fragrances shown to have toxic effects in animals, which can lead to severe allergies, anaphylaxis, and skin and eye irritation. These toxins contaminate our air, cling to our clothing and furniture, and leave behind an almost-indelible chemical residue. Because they may appeal to our sense of smell, we often think they must be healthy. WRONG! Artificial fragrances are chemicals and bring a plethora of health risks. Commercial detergents also may contain alkyl benzene sulfonates or linear alkyl sodium sulfonates. These are synthetic surfactants that can release benzene into the environment, especially upon manufacturing. And, being extremely slow to biodegrade, they linger in your home and environment.

Personal care products are also a big contributor to toxins in your environment. They can contain formaldehyde, methylene chloride, toluene, methyl ethyl ketone and benzyl chloride. Many are considered carcinogens and carry with them numerous side effects.

Photo from here, with thanks.

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    Dr. Rav Ivker
    Dr. Rav Ivker is a holistic family physician, health educator, and best-selling author.
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    Susan Levin
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March 2016
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