Boston Water and Sewer Commission** suggests we change our lifestyles
when it comes to cleaning our homes, a change for the better - for
ourselves, our families and our environment. Most of the common
household cleaners are toxic - safer alternatives exist and work
well. Changing our approach to cleaning will improve our health
and the health of the planet.
Marketing Ploys - Toxic Cleaners are "Good"
Manufacturers of household cleaners have convinced the American public
that cleaning chores require "tough" cleaners to get
the job done right. Unfortunately, this often translates to toxic
chemicals. Promoting specialized cleaners is also a marketing sales
pitch. Unless free of toxic and long-term harmful chemicals,
cleaning products are to be avoided. Your health and the health
of the planet require it.
time you use a cleaning product which contains a toxic or otherwise
dangerous chemical, you are exposing yourself and your family to its
effects, be it through inhalation, absorption or ingestion.
Product use leaves a residue. You and your ecosystem are being
contaminated. Residue atomizes (gets into the air), remains on
surfaces that are touched by people and pets or objects used by them,
gets into the soil or goes down the drain, thereby extending the
footprint of toxic effects to more than just yourself.
an extreme but valid comparison, think of the Fukushima nuclear power
plant in Japan. Thus far, more than four years after the nuclear plant
was damaged, attempts to contain the radiation have failed.
Contaminated water continues to leak into the ocean, in essence
contaminating the entire planet.
List of Recommended Cleaning Products
Common household products that act as effective substitutes for chemical cleaners:
||cleans, deodorizers, and scours
||cuts grease, removes mildew and wax build up and kills weeds
||kills household that chariot and removes odors
||polishes furniture and removes stains from carpets and rugs
||removes laundry stains and cleans walls, tiles, sinks and tubs
||all-purpose household cleaner
Commit to New Cleaning Habits
Make a strong commitment to informed decision-making when it comes to
cleaning your home, your office, your garage and your yard. One
approach is to learn about the dangerous chemicals so that when you are
shopping, you can look for only the products that appear to be
safe. The opposite approach is to decide today to only use safe
cleaners of the type recommended by BWSC.
|Where are They?
to stay completely away from the household cleaner section of your
grocery store. Learn where the baking soda is, the white vinegar, the
lemons, the cornstarch, the washing soda and the unscented soap.
the time to read "how" to use the safer products but also be patient
when learning how to use them in your home. Your cleaning
routines will need to change.
|The Good Guide
||Begin using the Good Guide website http://www.goodguide.com
which helps you find safe, healthy, green & ethical products based
on scientific ratings. You will find your favorite products all
listed. If they rate highly, great. If they don't, you will
be able to find better alternatives. Note this site does not give
general information but rather product information. Searching on
"vinegar" will bring up fish and chips.
familiar with the dangerous chemicals used in cleaning products.
This approach is best for those who are scientifically oriented or just
plain curious. Get to know them by scientific name, their toxicity and
in what types of products they are used. Be aware that the
complete list of chemicals is a long and complicated list. Some
have immediate toxic effects while others are toxic with buildup.
For some chemicals, the danger comes from mixing with other chemicals
not in the cleaning product.
A good place to start is with the Organic Consumers Association http://www.organicconsumers.org.
An excellent starting report is: "How Toxic Are Your Household Cleaning Supplies?"
||Become a fan of the Environmental Working Group. http://www.ewg.org
Their key issues include consumer products, energy, farming, food, water and toxics.
They describe themselves as "the nation's most effective environmental
health research and advocacy organization. Our mission is to
conduct original, game-changing research that inspires people,
businesses and governments to take action to protect human health and
Begin by Cleaning House
Make a list of all the household cleaners in your home. In fact,
gather them all in one place and begin your research. Good Guide
will be helpful here. Depending on the rating (separately health,
environment and society) and what is important to you, organize your
cleaners into groups. Those you do not want to use again, set
aside for Household Hazardous Waste day in your community. DO NOT
throw them into the trash, nor pour them into the sink.
Identify products you might consider purchasing and set aside time for
a field day at your local grocery store. Ask around - friends,
family and co-workers - to see if anyone has a product they would
recommend. Again, research before buying.
Good Luck !! Planet Earth thanks you.
** Sep/Oct 2013 "Currents" from Boston Water & Sewer
|Posted: November 20, 2013 Nancy J Conrad
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