Wednesday, August 01, 2007

What is in your cleaning products?

Guest blogger nurse Teri Rouse talks about the chemicals in cleaning and laundry products.

If you are like millions of consumers you assume the government is protecting you. Unfortunately you are mistaken. Make an informed decision next time you purchase household products.

Reading labels might not be good enough. Many ingredients are kept off labels entirely by “trade secret” or proprietary blend. This means that manufacturers are not required to divulge the actual ingredients in their products, including those which are toxic. Another way around telling you what is in their products is using alternative names for ingredients. All these ingredients contain, break down into or release formaldehyde: 2-bromo-2nitropropane-1, 3-diol, diazolidinye urea, DMDM nydantoin, imidazolidinyl urea, and quaternium-15. All the manufacturer has to do is put safe handling instructions on the label. If the warning label includes danger, hazardous, toxic, use in well ventilated area, think twice before bringing it into your home.

What chemicals are in your home? Formaldehyde, phenol, benzene, toluene, xylene and chlorine are commonly found in most households. They are ingredients of products like cleaning products, dishwasher detergents, laundry products, personal care products (soaps, shampoos) and cosmetics. These ingredients are known or suspected carcinogens and cause many adverse reactions including allergy symptoms, difficulty breathing and chemical burns.

According to the EPA the air inside your home is 3 to 70 times more polluted than the air you breathe outside. Cancer rates have doubled since 1960. How many new products are being used in our homes compared to 1960? According to a study by the National Cancer Association women who work in the home are a 54% higher risk of developing cancer than women with traditional employment out of the home.

There are safe ecologically friendly alternatives available. Many are also more cost effective per use and actually work better than the products found in you grocery store. Don’t tell this to the big name manufacturers. Do your homework before you reach for a product at your grocery store; while you are there, take a deep breath, and notice the smell. This is called out gassing, remember these chemicals are packaged in sealed containers and you can still smell the chemicals. Are you willing to expose your family?

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Teri Rouse has been a registered nurse for 10 years. She is currently practicing for the State of Idaho. She is a wife and a mother of six.

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