Lewis: The dirt on household cleaners
I have a confession to make and a lesson to share. While I generally take great care to keep toxic chemicals out of my house, I caved and bought a common toilet bowl cleaner because I could not seem to get my john adequately cleaned with my homemade concoction.
After using this product, I became dizzy, having to sit down several times and I ended up with a headache for hours thereafter. I decided to do a little internet research on this product’s active ingredient, hydrochlorite bleach, and the first words that appeared at the top of my screen were: ”Top 12 ‘killer’ household chemicals.”
To satisfy your curiosity, I’ll list the 12 ”killers” given: air fresheners, ammonia, bleach, carpet and upholstery shampoo, dishwasher detergents, drain cleaners, furniture polish, mold and mildew cleaners, oven cleaners, dishwashing liquid and antibacterial cleaners, laundry room products, and, lo and behold, toilet bowl cleaners.
Hydrochlorite bleach, I learned, is corrosive and prone to irritate or burn eyes, skin and the respiratory tract and also may cause fluid in the lungs leading to coma or death. Whoa. Guess I got off easy.
I came across a plethora of shocking statistics, like the results of studies by the Environmental Protection Agency showing that toxic chemicals in household cleaners are three times more likely to cause cancer than outdoor air. While this should be enough to cause anyone to question how they’re cleaning their home, stay-at-home moms especially should take note because after a 15-year study, the National Cancer Institute reported that women who work in the home are at a 54 percent higher risk of developing cancer than women who work outside the home. What’s more is that cancer is the second leading cause of death among children aged 1-14 and, unsurprisingly, household cleaners are the No. 1 cause of poisoning of children.