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Earth Day Every Day

Sep 17, 2008
As you probably know, April 22 is the nationally recognized annual Earth Day. No need to wait for April! Let's make every day Earth Day by using biodegradable household cleaners every day in our homes.

Why does our choice of cleaning products make a difference to the environment? Because most household cleaners go down the drain and contain ingredients hazardous to our soil, streams, and groundwater (like phosphates, chlorine, borates, or nitrates). The cleaners that make a positive difference are those that quickly break down into elements like carbon dioxide and water, which can re-enter the earth's ecosystem and be naturally recycled.

Not to mention, of course, the positive impact on our own personal health as well from using these non-toxic alternatives. Did you know that your traditional household cleaners could be making you sick? We all know about the dangers of accidental poisoning, especially of children, by commercial household cleaners found in many homes. These dangers from ingesting a product, breathing its fumes, or having contact with the eyes and skin, are listed right on the labels.

What's NOT on the labels, however, are the harms presented by chronic exposure to chemicals in these products. That means chronic exposure from proper product use and even nonuse! That's right. These products are just as dangerous even when they are not being used at all -- while tightly sealed in your cupboard! Most products "outgas" chemical vapors that may produce profound chronic harms.

Here are a few examples of chronic harms that may result from chemical vapors of correctly-used commercial cleaning products:

Liquid Bleach - Vapors have been shown to interfere with brain function and to aggravate heart conditions and asthma; suspected to affect reproductive system.

Window Cleaner - Linked to reproductive disorders, kidney damage, liver damage, bone marrow damage and tumors.

Automatic Dishwashing Powder - Contains sodium silicate, bleach. Repeated or prolonged exposure to vapors or dust can cause irritation of the lungs, CNS (Central Nervous System) disorders, and in severe cases, death.

Fabric Softener Sheets - Prolonged exposure to chemicals can cause headache, CNS depression, nausea; can cause nose and throat irritation, labored breathing.

Not only do the chemicals in these individual products have their own negative health consequences, but the cumulative effect of these chemical exposures is unknown. It hasn't been tested -- you can see that it isn't really feasible to do so -- but you know it can't be good.

Make a "Clean Switch" to household cleaning products that are not harmful to you, your children, or our natural resources.
About the Author
Anne Lamansky is a work at home mom who loves her green cleaning products.
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