Household cleaning products help our house smell fresh and clean, keep our furnishings shiny, and get rid of pesky germs and viruses. Yet for all their good attributes, some of the chemicals in these products may be unhealthy.
Simple changes in our everyday routines such as how we choose the cleaning products we buy, or the way we clean our houses, can reduce our long-term exposure to potentially harmful substances.
Hazards in our home
We spend nearly 90% of our time indoors. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, indoor pollutants may be two to five times higher than outdoor levels. And only a fraction of the more than 75,000 registered chemicals have gone through complete testing for human health concerns. Some of the chemicals in household products can lead to headaches, nausea, allergic reactions, and eye or respiratory irritations. Children have an increased chance of exposure to potential pollutants.
Reducing toxic chemicals in your home
Reducing toxics inside your house can be as simple as looking for a few key words on products when you buy cleaning products. The words "caution," "warning," and "danger" indicate that the product's ingredients are harmful. The U.S. EPA's Design for the Environment program can help you identify cleaning and other products that perform well, are cost-effective, and are safer for the environment. Look for products with the DfE label and protect your family's health and the planet.
Single-ingredient, common household materials such as baking soda, vinegar, or plant-based soaps and detergents can often do the job on your carpet or other surfaces. Soap and water has been shown to keep surfaces as free of bacteria as antibacterial soaps do.
Where are the hazardous products in your home?
Once you start looking, you'll be surprised at where you find hazardous products in your home. Use this healthy home checklist to find hazardous products. If you do have hazardous products, be sure they are stored safely. Learn more about Creating a clean, and green, home.
Find more tips on reducing toxic chemicals in your home at www.reduce.org.