December 27, 2013
Craig Buckley, owner of Green Apple House Cleaning of Ottawa, Ontario is one of the thousands of business owners who has taken the time to educate himself on the dangers of household chemicals. Realizing that consumers who use cleaning services are largely without options, he decided to fill that niche in his Ottawa community. Craig is our guest blogger this week:
As consumers, we don’t like to think that we’ve been coerced by the media. We like to believe our thoughts and ideas are all our own. The truth is, though, we’ve been programmed to believe a great many things, especially when it comes to our cleaning products.
Think about it for just a moment. When you see a commercial for the latest and most popular cleaning product, what are the key words that trigger your idea of whether or not the product is worth purchasing? For most of us, “disinfects,” “sanitizes,” and “fresh” do the trick. We’ve been programmed into thinking that in order for our home to smell clean, to look clean, and to be clean, we have to rely on these products, and that our home is only clean if it smells like these cleaners.
Unfortunately, this is all a carefully created lie to coerce (oh, we hate that word, don’t we?) you and I to buy these products without really considering the possible dangers. As the owner of Green Apple Cleaning Services in Ottawa, Canada, we wanted to think differently and be different when it came to our business. After all, is a successful business truly successful if we’re putting anyone at risk? Knowingly placing our staff in harms way by equipping them with dangerous (and often toxic) products, just wasn’t okay. Before we ever secured our first client, we made sure we were also securing the health of our staff. Our research revealed some alarming statistics.
The Dangers of Household Cleaners for Women
A new study published in Environmental Health recently linked the use of household cleaners by women to breast cancer. The study, performed at the Silent Spring Institute was comprised of 787 women who had been diagnosed with breast cancer and 721 who had not. Women who claimed to have used the most cleaning products and the highest combinations of cleaning products were found to have doubled their risk for breast cancer.
Shocking isn’t it? Although further research is being done to prove this link, it is still a scary comparison. These everyday products have been stars of others studies as well, like the one at the University of Bristol which concluded that 32 percent more children suffer from diarrhea in home that use air fresheners than those who do not. The studies go on and on, and they all reveal one thing: these chemical cleaners are dangerous for not only women, but everyone who comes into contact with them.
Let’s look at a few facts about these products women are exposed to every day.
- Many cleaning products contain toluene, phthalates, synthetic musk, and chloroform, all of which are reproductive toxins.
- Some products, including fragranced air fresheners, contain known allergens like eugenol, cinnamal, geraniol, and isoeugenol. Even products that are markets as free of any type of fragrance can contain these allergens.
- Many of the harsh chemicals associated with cleaning products aren’t listed on the label. This means that in order to determine whether or not the product is safe, you have to dig deep into the manufacturer’s website or contact them directly. They often keep these ingredients in the dark because they are considered “trade secrets.”
So, what happens when women clean with these products and are exposed to the chemicals and known allergens? This varies, depending on the ingredients in the product. Some cause immediate and acute hazards, while others are associated with long term problems.
- Acutely Dangerous Cleaners- When women are exposed to acutely dangerous cleaners like drain cleaners, toilet bowl cleaners, and oven cleaners, the corrosive chemicals in these products can cause immediate danger. They can irritate the eyes, lungs, throat, and nose, cause severe burns on the skin and eyes, and if they are ingested, can burn the esophagus and throat.
- Fragrances- Fragrances are added to many household cleaners, but they can also be found in air fresheners, laundry detergent, and fabric softener. Many can cause acute effects in women, like headaches, water eyes, sneezing, skin irritation and respiratory infections. A study by the US National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health found that one-third of the ingredients found in fragrances are toxic.
- Long Term Problems- Some ingredients found in chemical cleaners that women use every day are toxic chemicals that can contribute to chronic problems like hormone disruption and even cancer. This can severely impact a woman’s ability to have children and put them at risk for long term health problems.
Don’t let yourself become programmed by what popular cleaning manufacturers tell you. A clean house doesn’t have to smell like a chemical factory in order to be sanitary, and you don’t have to expose your cleaning staff to toxic substances, all in the name of being clean.
As a green and proud cleaning company, we would encourage other businesses to take the necessary steps to be more responsible to our planet and to each other. We’re all in this together.
Curious about green cleaning in Ottawa? Visit Greenapple House Cleaning.
Please attribute this article as a guest post written by
Greenapple House Cleaning Inc.
46 Clarey Avenue, Unit 1, Ottawa, ON K1S 2R7