Green Cleaning Products
For Our Home, Our Health, and Our Environment: Green Cleaning Products
A regular and thorough cleaning regime is important in maintaining a healthy indoor environment. The cleaning products we use, however, can have adverse health effects. Most household cleaners can contain a plethora of chemicals. Overexposure to these chemicals can cause a variety of health problems, from minor irritation to much more serious chronic effects. Volatile organic compounds become airborne when these cleaning products are used. Some examples of these volatile organic compounds are formaldehyde (carcinogen and sensitizer), glycol ethers (reproductive toxicants), chlorine bleach (irritant), phthalates (endocrine disruptor), alkylphenol ethoxylates and APEs (endocrine disruptors)…the list goes on. Use of green cleaning products will limit your exposure to these chemicals.
The Environmental Impact of Household Cleaners
These chemicals also impact our environment. These impacts may occur throughout the product’s life cycle: e.g., extracting raw materials, manufacturing, packaging, distribution, retailing, and product use, repair or maintenance, and disposal. They can contribute to air pollution, water pollution, climate change, and can damage ecosystems. Limiting the use of these chemicals not only can improve our health, it can also help to protect our environment.
Green Cleaning Products for Health and Budget
Aside from buying green cleaning products in stores, cleaning with a homemade cleaner is a cheap and safe way to clean just about anything. Green cleaning recipes are usually more affordable and less toxic than over-the-counter cleaners. The most common ingredients include baking soda, borax, natural soaps and oils, distilled white vinegar and washing soda. Just combine the washing soda, borax, and soap in a spray bottle. Then pour in hot water to dissolve the minerals. Shake, spray, and wipe.
It is worth noting that individual sensitivities to chemicals vary from person to person. The concentration of these airborne chemicals may not be high enough to be detrimental to a person’s health. But when potential hazards are already identified, and it is unknown how repeated exposure to these chemicals will acutely or chronically affect you, a precautionary approach to these chemicals is highly recommended.
The following link from the EPA provides more information on cleaning products:
Who is Healthy Building Science?
Environmental Testing Services at HBS
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