Toxic. The word can send shivers down a parent’s spine, and spread a wave of confusion over what is deemed safe to use in our homes and around our children. Parents are bombarded with information, from Internet sites to labels on packages.
“We encourage parents to be careful but not paranoid and to gather reliable information and try to find a balance that works,” says Stephen Hales, M.D., of Hales Pediatrics in Uptown.
Dr. Hales says that it is important for parents to realize that they are exposed to many opinions, and not all of them are based on good science and research.
“Good parents will never be complacent about these risks, but they will also balance their approach by seeking out resources grounded in good science,” Dr. Hales says.
Purging Your Home
An EPA study found that organic air pollution was two to five times higher indoors than outside, due to cleaning-spray vapors and disinfectant fumes. Because gases can leak from closed containers, the EPA recommends throwing away partially full containers of old or unneeded chemicals to help lower concentrations of organic chemicals in your home.
Common Household Toxins
Petroleum distillates Found in kitchen and furniture cleaners, they can cause damage to the nervous system and lungs.
Triclosan In antibacterial products, it may disrupt thyroid function.
Phthalates Chemicals in plastics, detergents, shampoos. Can cause reproductive problems and liver cancer.
To avoid these chemicals, look for “Phosphate-free,” “chlorine-free,” and “petroleum-distillates-free” as well as third-party eco-labels like Green Seal and EcoLogo, and the EPA’s Design for the Environment.
Here are some great sites we found:
The Daily Green featuring easy green clean recipes you can make at home for the Goodhousekeeping
treehugger.com You’ll find some alarming statistics such as: 17,000: the number of petrochemicals available for home use, only 30 percent of which have been tested for exposure to human health and the environment.
and also some very good tips on green cleaning ..
Green Living ideas For a variety of green cleaner recipes- from wood buffer ( yes) to tile cleaner!
Want to buy locally made detergent? try Fresh GraNOLA all natural laundry powder at www.freshgranola.etsy.com
and, of course, the EPA ( Environmental Protection Agency) has some important information on indoor air quality and how t improve it here
EPA- Indoor air quality
If you’re going to store cleaners, paints etc – say under the kitchen sink- know that they let off VOCs ( volatile organic compounds) as they ‘off-gas’. Try to keep only small amounts, and replace them often. Also, storing them in an outside storage area when possible helps.
Do you Clean Green? What products do you use ( we go to Whole Foods and find a lot of great products there, as well as use plain of baking soda, vinegar and water) . Comment below if you’ve got useful tips ( or questions) to share!