Crack Down on Household Chemicals

Crack Down on Household Chemicals

You are what you eat, digest and absorb through inhalation and the pores of the skin.

The skin is the largest organ of the body. When the liver is overworked, the skin takes over the elimination of toxins. Unfortunately, many toxins are not that easy to get rid of and all organs suffer.

For example, chlorine is the number one cause of breast cancer. It can be lethal. Scientists won’t handle it without protective gloves, face masks and ventilation, yet it is in most store- brand cleaners, including dishwasher detergents. The harmful effects are intensified when the fumes are heated. It’s in our drinking water, swimming pools and our Jacuzzis.

According to the National Research Council, “no toxic information is available for more than 80 per cent of the chemicals in everyday-use products. Less than 20 per cent have been tested for acute effects and less than 10 per cent have been tested for chronic, reproductive or mutagenic effects.” More than four and a half billion chemicals are known and 50,000 are commercially distributed.

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) depends on industry-sponsored tests for approval. In 1981, one company was found guilty of falsifying over 90 per cent of more than 2000 studies. Those products are still readily available.

High Cost of Toxins

It requires a team of scientists, 300 mice, more than $300,000 US and two to three years to determine whether one single suspect chemical causes cancer. Governments are at the mercy of economic agendas. Whenever there is a question of industry interests versus health or government regulation, industry always wins. Up to 99 percent of toxins are not required to be listed on labels. This is mainly because the products don’t make any claims about safety.

You may be surprised at how dangerous some products are, especially ones that you use in your home on a regular basis. Oven cleaners are one of the worst. They contain lye and ammonia which eat the skin; the fumes linger and affect the respiratory system. The residue intensifies the next time you heat your oven.

Disinfectants are usually phenol- or cresol-based. They deactivate sensory nerve endings. They attack the liver, kidneys, spleen, pancreas and the central nervous system (CNS). It takes over a year to eliminate the unhealthful effects of spraying two and a half ounces, even with heavy cross ventilation.

Air fresheners interfere with your ability to smell by releasing nerve-deadening agents or coating nasal passages with an oil film. Usually this is methoxychlor, a pesticide that accumulates in fat cells and over-stimulates the CNS. Some other common ingredients include P-dichlorobenzene, naphthalene and formaldehyde. Fresh, organic citrus juices, spices and essential oils do a better job, risk free.

Formaldehyde is in almost all cleaning products, including laundry detergents, toothpaste and shampoo. Laundry detergents contain phosphorus, enzymes, ammonia, naphthalene, phenol, sodium nitilotriacetate and countless others. These chemicals can cause rashes, itches, allergies, sinus problems and more. The residue left on your clothes and bed sheets is absorbed through your skin, as is everything else you touch.

Toxic Cleanliness

One million poisonings in Canada each year are due to household cleaner ingestion. Some are fatal. The number one cause of household poisoning is dish detergent. Each time you wash your dishes, some residue is left on them. The residue accumulates every time your dishes are washed. Your food picks up part of the residue, especially if your meal is hot.

Dishwashing liquids are labelled “harmful if swallowed.” Most contain naphtha, a CNS depressant, dieth- anolsamine, a liver poison and/or chlorophenylphenol, a toxic metabolic stimulant.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission on chemicals commonly found in homes identified 150 linked to cancer, allergies, birth defects and psychological abnormalities. Ten per cent cause high blood pressure and migraines and 20 percent are responsible for mental disturbances.

Indoor air in the home has been found to have five times higher toxic chemical concentrations than outdoor air. This is also true in rural areas. A five-year study conducted by the EPA showed many indoor air samples to be 70 times more toxic. Could this be why almost everyone is sick, especially children and those working in public buildings?

“Clean” Carcinogens

A scientific paper at the “Indoor Air Conference” in Toronto in 1990 stated “because of household cleaners, housewives have a 55 percent higher risk of contracting cancer.”

With all these dangers well documented and well known, industry still spends millions of dollars each year to convince us that we need these products. And it is much more dangerous and expensive to dispose of these toxins in hazardous waste dumps, which are few and far between.

The government acknowledges that these cleaning products are hazardous, but regulation only requires labels to indicate combustible, corrosive, poison or caution.

Do your own research. Use the products that are the safest for your families. Don’t leave your fate in the hands of multibillion dollar chemical industries whose only concern is profit. Remember, your shopping habits create a demand for the products you buy.

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