Allergenic preservative methylisothiazolinone. Sodium borate (borax). Isothiazolinone preservatives. Fancy words for toxic chemicals that can disrupt our hormones and damage our reproductive organs. We are exposed to these toxins from household products on a daily basis. So what does this mean for our health, and for the health of future generations (i.e. our children)?
The Health Risks
Despite frequent exposure to these chemicals, the U.S. does not have any restrictions on their use in consumer products. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) conducted a study in 2016 assessing the impact of common household products on our health, the health of our children and the health of our environment, and the results are quite concerning. For example, more than 1/4 of the products tested scored moderate to high on the “concern scale,” because they contain ingredients and/or impurities that are linked to cancer. The EWG warns against using multi-purpose cleaning sprays because they are one of the most toxic products – a product I use multiple times a day, every day! As a newlywed couple wanting to start a family in a few years, this information hits home.
The toxic chemicals have been discovered in breastmilk, umbilical cord fluid, and other childhood diagnostics. Studies have shown:
- A 20% increase in pediatric cancer, in reporting countries;
- An increase in childhood diabetes;
- And an increase in asthma and allergy symptoms.
How to protect your family
Stain-resistant…antibacterial…flame retardent: these labels sound pretty good to us as consumers, right? Unfortunately, the chemicals used to create such products are hazardous to our health. So what the hell should we do about it? Here is some advice from the GGC.
- Don’t over-clean your home. WHAT?! I know. Sounds crazy. But a bacteria-free home can be more hazardous to our health because the absence of germs can lower our immunity to certain illnesses and diseases. I personally cannot stand a dirty kitchen counter or a smudged bathroom mirror. Therefore, I have started to…
- …use DIY cleaning products to fulfill my need for clean. Replace your toxic products with simple, homemade remedies. Keep checking the blog for updates on new DIY alternatives.
- Purchase products that are safe for children. Even if you do not have children, what is healthy for them is healthy for all. For a list and links to safe cleaning products for babies, please visit the Environmental Working Group’s website.
- Get your hands dirty. Sometimes, taking the easy way out is the most damaging to ourselves and to the environment. Products that are advertised as being convenient (grease-proof, smudge-proof, quick dissolving etc.) are often the products that contain the most dangerous chemicals. So, put on the ole kitchen gloves and scrubba dub dub.