Health By Nature…Where Clean Meets Green!


Is Your Home Making You Sick?

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You’ve probably heard of *sick building syndrome*–people develop health symptoms, often at a workplace, and no identifiable disease or cause is known.  If you use conventional household cleaners at home, chances are you are adding toxins to your home and in turn making it *less clean*. As Dr. Herbert Needleman, pediatrician and professor at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center puts it, “We are conducting a vast toxicologic experiment in our society, in which our children and our children’s children are the experimental subject.”

We generally spend 90% of our time indoors.  Newer homes and buildings are sealed up tightly, which is good economically in terms of heating and cooling costs.  However, inadequate ventilation increases the concentration of *indoor air pollution*–which the E.P.A. reports is up to five times higher than outdoors.

In addition to elevated concentration of household chemicals in our air, women are particularly at risk, because we often spend long periods of time working with potentially  toxic chemicals, and research suggests that women’s physiology is more conducive to absorbing such chemicals.  We have seen dramatic increases in the rates of asthma in women over the past decade, and longer exposure to a myriad of household chemicals is believed to be responsible.  Asthma rates in children under age 5 have more than doubled since 1980, and in that time, some 20,000 new chemicals have been introduced.On average, one in every 13 school-aged children has asthma.

Toxic chemicals in the home also pose a poison risk.  Chlorine is the number one cause of child poisonings in the U.S., and is an ingredient in several common household cleaners.Aside from poisonings, 150 chemicals found in many homes  can be linked to allergies, birth defects, cancer and psychological disorders.

These household items also have a negative impact on our environment. Common cleaners like chlorine bleach, oven cleaners, toilet bowl cleaners and more are classified by the E.P.A. as household hazardous waste, and when disposed of improperly, can pollute the environment and pose a threat to our health.  The average U.S. household generates over 20 pounds of hazardous waste every year!

The National Institutes of Health Household Products Database is a useful resource to determine exactly what harmful chemicals are contained in the products you are currently using, as well as those chemicals’ toxicity and health information. You can locate this information at http://householdproducts.nlm.nih.gov/ingredients.htm.

So what can you, as consumers, do?  First, be sure and properly dispose of harmful products.  Dumping harmful chemicals down drains or in toilets has a negative impact on the environment.  Second, find better, safer choices.   To learn which products can replace your existing, harmful, chemical-laden ones, use this checklist and see what safer, powerful, alternative products you can replace your toxic ones with.

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