Who doesn’t like a clean and tidy, fresh-smelling home? Most of us, we’d think, relish the idea of walking into our homes with everything in their proper places, having no dust to look at and enjoying the smell of a fresh summer day. Oh, those pleasant smells! Too often, they have us thinking our homes are clean and safe to inhabit. And that’s why cleaning product manufacturers go to great lengths to add fragrances to cleaning products.
But are scented cleaning products good for our health? Overwhelming evidence insists that they are not. And that’s because they contain an array of harmful substances.
What are those substances and how do they impact our health? Here are three to watch out for:
1. Phthalates. These are commonly found in many of our fragrance-enriched cleaning products such as dish soap, air fresheners and even toilet paper. As Jessie Sholl explains on ExperienceLife.com, the word “phthalates” doesn’t appear on product labels due to proprietary laws. Therefore, it’s important to look out for the word “fragrance” instead. It’s a sign that phthalates are present.
“Phthalates are known endocrine disruptors,” explains Sholl, “Although exposure to phthalates mainly occurs through inhalation, it can also happen through skin contact with scented soaps, which is a significant problem…Unlike the digestive system, the skin has no safeguards against toxins. Absorbed chemicals go straight to organs.” It is highly recommended that you opt for fragrance-free or all-natural organic products to clean your home.
2. Ammonia. Ammonia is a more commonly known cleaning substance, but it’s a powerful irritant. It’s especially hazardous to sufferers of asthma and other respiratory diseases. Nevertheless, the chemical is found in numerous polishing agents for bathroom fixtures, sinks and jewellery. It’s also found in glass, floor and oven cleaners.
According to Dr. Edward Group on GlobalHealingCenter.com, if a product is at least 5 percent ammonia, it must be labelled as poisonous. He notes that studies have confirmed that ammonia can irritate, burn and even damage the eyes and skin. “Ammonia is irritating to the respiratory tract and causes coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath,” he explains, “Higher exposure can cause pulmonary edema, a life-threatening issue.”
3. 2-Butoxyethanol. The sweet smell that emanates from window cleaners is thanks to a chemical known as 2-Butoxyethanol. And just like phthalates, law does not require it to be listed on a product’s label. Sounds crazy, doesn’t it? Especially when you consider that the Environmental Protection Agency has found that 2-Butoxyethanol can cause sore throats, narcosis, pulmonary edema and severe liver and kidney damage, reveals Sholl.
Safer options for cleaning mirrors and windows are diluted vinegar. “For other kitchen tasks, stick to simple cleaning compounds like Bon Ami powder; it’s made from natural ingredients like ground feldspar and baking soda without the added bleach or fragrances found in most commercial cleansers,” Sholl suggests, “You can also make your own formulas with baking soda, vinegar and essential oils.”
As you may have guessed, we’re only scratching the surface here. There is a long list of harmful substances that are found in many of our household cleaning products. Every time we clean our homes with them, we’re doing our health a disservice.
At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we’re committed to helping our clients enjoy safe air to breathe in their homes. Our Air Quality Services are designed to locate any areas of concern in your home that may be presenting reasons for poor indoor air quality. Allow us to help you eliminate them!
For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Even though another Valentine’s Day has come and gone, the time is certainly not over to show love. And when it comes to your lungs, the time to show love is each and every day. Ironically, most of us neglect our lungs, taking them for granted with the assumption that the air we breathe is always adequate. However, there are many things we can do to ensure that our homes constantly provide safer air to breathe.
Here are four ways to show your lungs some love:
1. Go vacuum crazy! Who knew the vacuum cleaner could be such a life saver? Its ability to remove dust and other filth from our homes provides us with a much greater service than just having neat and tidy houses. Vacuums also eliminate many of the health hazards that impact our respiratory systems. This is especially true for vacuums that include HEPA filters which are extra layers of protection for allergy sufferers.
“Vacuums suck up dust that settles on carpets, furniture, and other surfaces,” Daniel DiClerico of Consumer Reports reminds us, “Choose a top-rated one that cleans while minimizing emissions back into the air…For day-to-day maintenance, you might consider a robotic vacuum. It can scoot around your home sucking up dirt and other surface debris while you’re out living your life.”
2. Improve the ventilation in your home. It’s not easy to rid your home of pollutants during the winter. With it being so cold outside, the concept of opening the windows can be construed as a ridiculous one. However, it’s not so ridiculous when you consider how beneficial it is to allow for the fresh air from outside to circulate with the stale air from inside. As Aylin Erman points out on OrganicAuthority.com, “to reduce the concentration of indoor pollutants in your home, it is important to increase the flow of outdoor air coming indoors.”
“Ventilation helps to remove or dilute indoor airborne pollutants coming from indoor sources,” she informs, “Most homes are equipped with heating and cooling systems that don’t allow outdoor air to enter indoors. To remedy this, try keeping a few windows ajar, weather permitting, or install local bathroom and kitchen fans that exhaust outdoors and thus transfer contaminants from the inside of your home, to the outside.”
3. Allergen-proof your bedroom. Naturally, you spend a lot of time in your bedroom. After all, considering the fact that we spend about a third of our days sleeping, it stands to reason that where you lay your head at night should be an environment as free from pollutants as possible. Especially because dust mites are such pesky allergens that love living in our bedsheets, it’s important to take measures to minimize their appearances.
“Encase box springs, mattresses, and pillows in covers made from woven microfiber fabrics (with a pore size no greater than 6 micrometers) designed to keep them free of dust mites and animal dander,” recommends DiClerico, “Wash your bedsheets weekly in hot water and dry on high heat. If you have a high-efficiency top-loader, choose a low spin speed when washing waterproof fabrics to prevent them from trapping water and causing the drum to become unbalanced.”
4. Identify and remove products containing harmful chemicals. Too often, we get tricked into thinking that the fresh scents that emanate from our cleaning products indicate that our homes have been rid of pollutants. And while these products do serve to present our homes in more acceptable fashions, they have a penchant for adding toxic chemicals to our living environments. Erman recommends that you remove the “obvious culprits” from your kitchens and bathrooms.
However, “if you are having trouble identifying the culprits (it’s not always that obvious), hire a professional to test your house for moulds and toxins,” she advises. We couldn’t agree more. The Air Quality Services offered by DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd. are incomparable in the world of indoor air quality. To truly show your lungs the love they need, contact us today!
Please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email us at email@example.com.
Readers of the DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd. Blog are well aware of our stance on asbestos. We have long been among Canada’s many advocates for a nationwide comprehensive ban of the cancer-causing material and were thrilled to announce news of the ban just before the start of the new year. It should be a secret to no one that asbestos is unquestionably, the number one on-the-job killer in our country, taking thousands of lives a year.
And while Canada ceased the manufacturing of asbestos years ago, the recent ban will finally put a stop to its import by next year. As Bill McLauchlan reports on TireBusiness.com, “The Canadian government will ban the ‘manufacture, use, import and export’ of asbestos-containing products — including brake pads — by 2018.” And while this is clearly good news for health advocates everywhere, McLauchlan points out that the ban will especially benefit members of the auto industry.
Among the various asbestos-laden products that Canada has been importing are brake pads for vehicles. As a result, members of the Canadian automotive industry have regularly been exposed to asbestos, not knowing whether or not the brake pads they’ve been handling contain the deadly substance. McLauchlan cites Rick Jamieson, who is the president and CEO of Guelph, Ontario-based brake pad manufacturer ABS Friction Inc., as an individual who is especially happy about the recently-announced ban.
“This news was most heartening to us,” Jamieson was quoted as saying, “While the ban is long overdue, we are thankful it is finally going to happen. We have twice seen ‘ban asbestos’ private-member bills reach second reading, only to stall for one reason or another.” ABS Friction Inc. has long been campaigning for the banning of asbestos in Canada as it eliminates a major health risk to employees.
“By removing asbestos from braking systems, the new legislation also addresses a health risk to employees of more than 400 vehicle-recycling companies and dismantlers who handle about 1.6 million end-of-life vehicles a year in Canada,” McLauchlan informs. Up until the announcement of the ban, Canada was importing brake pads from countries including the United States, South Korea, China, Chile and Peru.
Jamieson does point out, however, that asbestos is not the only dangerous material that members of the auto industry regularly come into contact with. With the new asbestos ban finally having been passed, he is hopeful that the federal government will take a serious look into banning others substances as well. Chromium, mercury, copper, cadmium, lead and zinc are among them, as they all have toxic properties.
At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we continue to support Canadians who have been affected by the deadly ramifications of asbestos exposure and we stand beside those who wish to see the government take further action. We’re also committed to helping those who may be at risk of asbestos exposure in their homes. We proudly offer Asbestos Containing Materials (ACM) Services that include onsite assessments, sampling and testing.
It’s no secret that cigarette smoking is one of the absolute most harmful activities that a person can engage in. In fact, it’s surprising that cigarette smoking still exists given how dangerous it is. In Canada, cigarette packages are well known for their graphic depictions of the diseases that can be caused by smoking the product. And, as many know, cigarettes are so destructive, they even impact the health of people who don’t smoke!
Secondhand smoke is a major health concern. While it’s common knowledge that cigarettes can cause cancer and other deadly respiratory diseases like emphysema in their users, the smoke emitted from the mouths of smokers can cause the same diseases in others. It can be argued – pretty easily, actually – that secondhand smoke is the arch enemy of our air. And it’s fair to say that there is nothing worse for our indoor air quality.
What is ETS? The Lung Association explains that Environmental Tobacco Smoke (or ETS, for short) is the term used to define the smoke that is exhaled by smokers and the smoke that is emitted from the burning ends of cigarettes, cigars and pipes. They note that ETS is one of the most widespread and harmful indoor air pollutants there is, pointing out a long list of harmful toxins that are contained within it.
According to The Lung Association, “ETS contains more than 4700 chemical compounds including: arsenic (rat and ant poison), benzene (rubber cement), lead (car battery material), phenol (used in production disinfectants and plastic), and hydrogen cyanide (poison used in gas chambers). It often produces levels of carbon monoxide and other toxins well above accepted standards for human exposure.”
ETS is so harmful, it even causes something that has been referred to as “thirdhand smoke”. The chemicals from secondhand smoke can get trapped in the fabric of our clothing or the drapes, linens and furniture in our homes. Have you ever entered a room and smelled cigarette smoke even after the smoke had already disappeared? That remaining stench is the thirdhand smoke that can still impact your health.
How can ETS be avoided? Unfortunately, no one is immune to ETS. It’s important for non-smokers to learn that they shouldn’t even be around those who smoke because they can still be exposed to the deadly toxins contained in cigarettes. However, sufferers of asthma are especially cautioned to keep away from cigarette smoke in any form. ETS is known to worsen asthma symptoms such as wheezing, coughing and shortness of breath.
Pregnant women are also advised to avoid ETS at all costs. When exposed to it, they run the risk of having miscarriages, giving birth prematurely or enduring stillbirths. Babies born to mothers who were exposed to ETS generally have lower birth weights and shorter lengths, says The Lung Association.
At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we recommend that you insist upon a smoke-free home. Even those who smoke outside of your home should not be permitted inside after smoking as they will be bringing harmful chemicals indoors. It’s important, of course, to maintain a living environment that is free of harmful chemicals. So, we offer Air Quality Services to help you enjoy the best indoor air quality possible!