As parents, we’re constantly cleaning up messes — from spills on the couch to crumbs on the carpet to stains on clothing. However, on our mission to tidy up, we could be causing some long-term damage to our baby’s health, because many of the chemicals found in cleaning products can cause cancer, thyroid issues, brain function problems and more. As you’re cleaning, these chemicals are being ingested and ultimately degrading your health and household.
It’s a huge problem for your household, says Dr. Corey, health expert spokesperson for Better Health Store and a board certified Naturopathic Doctor at Thrive On Life in Brighton. “It’s completely toxic and poisonous,” she says.
Toxic cleaning products can affect your baby’s future fertility, which is something that probably is not top of mind as you are raising a young baby. “We want to grow up and we want to have our family and continue on and on,” she says.
That’s why — for present and future generations — it’s essential to ditch the toxic cleaning products for safer, non-toxic options. Not sure if your cleaning products are hazardous or where to look for healthier options? Here, Dr. Corey offers advice.
Reading the label
Just like you read the nutrition facts before you buy a food item, you should take a closer look at what’s inside your cleaning supplies. There are a few ingredients that should never show up in cleaning products, Dr. Corey says. These ingredients include perchloroethylene, or PERC, which is used for dry cleaning fabrics and degreasing metals. It is a known carcinogen.
Formaldehyde, which also causes cancer and is known to have correlation with ALS and neurodegenerative diseases, is a big no-no in your cleaning supplies.
“Acute exposure is highly irritating to the eyes, nose, and throat and can make anyone exposed cough and wheeze,” according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
Butoxyethanol, which can cause pulmonary edema, in addition to ammonia, which can damage the mucus membrane and degrade the cardiovascular system, should not be included in cleaning supplies.
Nix the sodium hydroxide, too. “If you get this on your skin, it can burn stuff,” Dr. Corey notes. “If you breathe too much in, you can feel it burning your throat.”
Chemical chlorine is caustic to the skin and body, she adds, and shouldn’t be in your cleaners either.
If you see any of these ingredients in your cleaning supplies, it’s time to pitch them and opt for something safer.
Switching it up
There are plenty of recipes online to make your own cleaning supplies, Dr. Corey says, and they are worth checking out if you’re looking for safer alternatives. Water, essential oils, baking soda, vinegar, lemon and food-grade hydrogen peroxide are just some of the ingredients you can use to make your own cleaning products at home.
Keep in mind that lemon is acidic so if your cleaner contains it, be selective about which surfaces you plan to use it on, Dr. Corey advises.
If you’re using essential oils, be sure to keep them away from your baby because they are not good to have in higher concentrations, Dr. Corey notes.
As always, you still want to lock up your cleaning supplies. Even if they are non-toxic, it’s good to keep them up high or in a locked cabinet, she suggests.
If you’re not interested in making your own cleaning supplies, be sure to stop by the Better Health Store or visit them online to browse the natural home section of their website where you can find non-toxic cleaning items for everything from laundry to kitchen to bathroom and more.
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