The Health Benefits of EcoCleaning

Apr 20, 2011

Have you ever stopped to consider whether the products you use to clean your home are safe for you and your family? This blog is not meant to alarm anyone. It is meant to help educate. In times past, I have felt helpless and I have wondered what I can do to make a real difference. I have watched some of the gloom and doom predicted by environmentalists, and have listened to Al Gore tell us that we all must do our part. Along the way, I have discovered some simple actions I can take that really do have a direct impact on my own health and that of my family. This blog will set forth some simple actions you can take that could really help you to be healthier and could really make a difference to your environment. The problem I have discovered in talking about environmental issues is that it can seem like environmental issues are so remote that there is little we can do. I am looking for ways to talk about environmental issues that affect us where we live.

I have learned that, since World War II, over 75,000 different chemicals have been added to consumer products. Of these, less than 5% are tested for environmental and human health effects. According to the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, about 15% of all asthma cases can be traced back to exposure to unsafe cleaning products in homes. Upsettingly, many household cleaners contain chemicals that are carcinogenic, contain neurotoxins that can cause liver and kidney damage, are detrimental to health, and can hinder reproduction and development. Many household cleaning products contain these chemicals and can, therefore, be a danger to your health if used improperly. In addition, harmful chemicals enter the waste system and water supply. As a result, they pose a danger to humans and wildlife alike. They decrease the air quality both in your home and around the planet. To avoid some common environmental and health dangers associated with chemical cleaners, you could opt for eco-friendly alternatives.

Here’s what you can do: Look for products labeled with the EPA’s Design for the Environment Label, the Green Seal, or Seventh Generation. These labels can help guide you to a more chemical-free way to clean your home. In addition to being friendlier for the environment, products with these labels can help reduce the amount of energy used to process the chemicals often found in cleaners. It is estimated that, if every household in America swapped out a 100 oz. bottle of petroleum-based laundry detergent for one of equal size made using plant-derived products, we could save 466,000 barrels of oil each year, which is roughly enough to the amount of fuel needed to heat and cool 26,800 homes for an entire year. In my opinion, that makes can have a huge impact. When purchasing cleaners, you can also look for products labeled as “biodegradable”, highly concentrated, and/or made from plants or other renewable resources. Personally, I avoid products that contain petroleum as they are not only toxic, but also represent a direct drain on our natural resources.

In addition to the cleaning products, the cleaning accessories we use can also cause you and your family harm. You can also use natural and reusable cleaning accessories such as mops, dust clothes, and brooms. Simply look for supplies made using organic fibers instead of plastics or other non-renewable materials.

I have also found that where I keep my cleaning supplies can make a difference. As I grew up, my parents kept cleaning supplies in a supply closet next to our pantry. It never occurred to me that the heat from the dishwasher and hot water heater could mix with cleaners and then contaminate my food. As I thought about it further, it made perfect sense that I should not keep toxic cleaning products anywhere near the food I am about to eat. I want all of us to be safe and healthy. As a result, I encourage you to keep your cleaning supplies away from your kitchen because the gases emitted from cleaning supplies can contaminate your food.

I am now also careful to dispose of cleaning supplies down the drain. Of course, those chemicals are going directly into our water supply. How do you dispose of excess cleaning products? Click here for information. You can also look for detergent that does not contain chlorine or phosphate as these chemicals can be absorbed into your clothes and cause health issues. Lastly, here are some other healthy tips: Open windows instead of spraying an air freshener; opt for regular soap instead of antibacterial as they kill almost the same amount of germ, yet regular soap does not contain the environmentally harmful chemicals of antibacterial soap. For more information on the basics of non toxic cleaning Click here.

At Alaris, we really do care about you and our environment and will continue to pass along healthy tips that can assist you and your family. We recognize there can be a cost in terms of time and money spent to implement these suggestions. However, we believe that prevention is the key to a healthier way of life.

Respectfully yours,

Daniel J. Beckerle

303 261 2732 (cell)
303 526 2277 (office)
303 845 8311 (fax)

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