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    Check the Product Directory for Household Products

    Cleaning Products
    Cleaning Products and air fresheners

    Bleach is powerful, corrosive and toxic while cleaning products for the bath, wash-basin and toilet can irritate the skin and eyes. Use only a little of whatever you buy and look for phosphate-free products which don't upset the balance the natural systems in rivers and lakes. Also, look for biodegradable products that are not based on petrochemicals, and those that come in recyclable containers.

    Healthier Alternatives:
  • White distilled vinegar can be used to disinfect, clean and deodorize and vinegar diluted in water can also be used as an effective weed killer.

  • Lemon Juice can be used to lighten stains and remove grease.

  • Baking Soda & Washing Soda can both be used as cleaning products. You can mix them with water or a mild liquid soap to help remove dirt and stains
     

  •  
    What to avoid?
    Chlorine (Sodium hypochlorite)
    Many household cleaners contain chlorine bleach. Chlorine bleach, or sodium hypochlorite, is a lung and eye irritant.
    If mixed with ammonia or acid-based cleaners (including vinegar), chlorine bleach releases toxic chloramine gas. Short-term exposure to this gas may cause mild asthmatic symptoms or more serious respiratory problems.
    (Source: Washington Toxics Coalition)

    To be on the safe side, don't mix chlorine bleach with anything -- or just avoid chlorine bleach altogether.

    Phosphates
    Phosphates are minerals that act as water softeners. Although they are very effective cleaners, phosphates also act as fertilizers.
    When cleaning products go down the drain, phosphates are discharged into rivers, lakes, estuaries, and oceans. In lakes and rivers especially, phosphates cause a rapid growth of algae, resulting in pollution of the water.
    Many US states have banned phosphates from household laundry detergents and some other cleaning products. Automatic dishwasher detergents are usually exempt from phosphate restrictions, and most major brands contain phosphates.

    Alkylphenols and their derivatives
    Alkylphenol Ethoxylates are found in some laundry detergents, disinfecting cleaners, all-purpose cleaners, spot removers, hair colours and other hair-care products, and spermicides.
    (Source: Washington Toxics Coalition)

    Alkylphenol Ethoxylates are endocrine disruptors.
    (Source: WWF Canada)

    Alkylphenols are produced in the environmental breakdown of alkylphenol ethoxylate surfactants, are slow to bio-degrade and have been shown to disrupt the endocrine systems of fish, birds, and mammals.
    (Source: Washington Toxics Coalition)

    Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC)
    Organic chemicals are widely used as ingredients in household products. All of these products can release pollutants while you are using them, and, to some degree, when they are stored.
    (Source: EPA)

    Some of the hazardous volatile organic compounds that frequently pollute indoor air -- such as toluene, styrene, xylenes, and trichloroethylene -- may be emitted from aerosol products, dry-cleaned clothing, paints, varnishes, glues, art supplies, cleaners, spot removers, floor waxes and polishes and air fresheners.
    (Source: Washington Toxics Coalition)

    EPA's Total Exposure Assessment Methodology (TEAM) studies found levels of about a dozen common organic pollutants to be 2 to 5 times higher inside homes than outside, regardless of whether the homes were located in rural or highly industrial areas.
    Additional TEAM studies indicate that while people are using products containing organic chemicals, they can expose themselves and others to very high pollutant levels, and elevated concentrations can persist in the air long after the activity is completed.
    Many organic compounds are known to cause cancer in animals; some are suspected of causing, or are known to cause, cancer in humans.
    (Source: EPA)

    Trichloroethylene is one of the chemicals suspected of causing a cluster of childhood leukemia cases due to drinking water contamination in the town of Woburn, Massachusetts, in the early 1980s. The subsequent lawsuit against the polluting company was the subject of the 1995 book and 1998 film, A Civil Action.
    (Source: Children's Health Environment Coalition)

    High levels of toluene can put pregnant woman at risk of having babies with neurological problems, retarded growth, and developmental problems. Xylenes may also cause birth defects.
    (Source: Washington Toxics Coalition)

    Styrene is a suspected endocrine disruptor, a chemical that can interfere, block or mimic hormones in humans or animals.
    (Source: Children's Health Environment Coalition)

    VOCs such as xylene, ketones, and aldehydes are found in many aerosol products and air fresheners. Researchers found that babies less than six months old in homes where air fresheners are used on most days had 30 percent more ear infections than those exposed less than once a week.
    (Source: Washington Toxics Coalition)

    Levels of formaldehyde in air as low as 0.1 ppm (0.1 part formaldehyde per million parts of air) can cause watery eyes, burning sensations in the eyes, nose and throat, stuffy nose, nausea, coughing, chest tightness, wheezing, skin rashes and allergic reactions.
    (Source: Children's Health Environment Coalition)

    Babies frequently exposed to aerosols had a 22 percent increase in diarrhoea, and pregnant women frequently exposed to these products had 25 percent more headaches and a 19 percent increase in postnatal depression compared to those less frequently exposed.

    Paints, cleaners, and other products with no or very low levels of VOCs and other hazardous ingredients are available.

     

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    Shampoos and shower gels
    Check all your shampoos for SLS. It's pretty easy nowadays to find a shampoo that uses an alternate surfactant (cleaning agent), even if the shampoo isn't Organic.

    A new concern is about the artificial musks used to fragrance some shampoos. These can accumulate in human and animal tissue, and have been found in breast milk. Rats exposed to high concentrations of certain musks have developed cancer, though there's currently no conclusive proof of adverse effects in humans.
    It's hard to tell whether a product contains artificial musks, as they're listed only as 'parfum' or 'perfume' on the label. The only way to avoid them is by choosing a non-fragranced product, or asking manufacturers whether they use artificial musks. Unfortunately, they're not obliged to give this information.

    If you are allergic to Parabens, then you won't have an alternative. You have to use a certified organic shampoo. Once again though, be careful. Organic is not always organic. Choose your product range very carefully. TAS sell a range of shampoos from Evan and PureNuffStuff.


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    What else can act as an irritant?
    Sometimes we don't really think about all the household products that can very dangerous to our health. We may not even consider that they can be poisonous, and not give it a second thought being around our children. It may surprise you to learn that it is not only the labelled chemicals but also the simplest ones can be just as dangerous.


    Cleaning, Bleaching Agents

    • Metal cleaners and polishes
    • Benzene
    • Detergents
    • Carbon tetrachloride
    • Ethylene glycol
    • Ammonia
    • Dry cleaning fluids
    • Copper and brass cleaner
    • Amyl acetate
    • Turpentine
    • Lighter fluid
    • Bleach
    • Cleaning fluids
    • Alcohol
    • Oxalic acid
    • Kerosene
    • Methyl alcohol
    • Naphtha
    • Petroleum distillates
    • Window washing fluids
    • Drain cleaners
    • Typewriter cleaner
    • Aerosols
    • Oven cleaner
    • Bathroom bowl cleaner
    • Gun cleaners

    Polishes & Waxes

    • Furniture wax/polish
    • Car wax
    • Kerosene
    • Silver polish
    • Pine oil
    • Mineral oil
    • Turpentine
    • Naphtha
    • Paint

    Miscellaneous Household Products & Chemicals

    • Epoxy glue
    • Model cement
    • Garden sprays
    • Insecticide
    • Pesticides
    • Strychnine
    • Herbicides
    • Rat Killers
    • Fire extinguishing fluids
    • Rug adhesive
    • Antifreeze
    • Carburettor cleaners
    • Gasoline
    • Anti-rust products
    • Deodorizing
    • Leather polishes and rust
    • Shoe cleaners and polishes
    • Jewellery cleaners and cements
    • Laundry blueing
    • Inks
    • Plant food

     


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