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Examining The Negative Impact Of Cleaning Products

Depositphotos_9424092_s-2015By now, readers of our blog are very well aware about the damaging effects of VOCs. Volatile organic compounds, which can be found in many of our cleaning supplies, are known to significantly impact indoor air quality in a negative way. While most of us view our cleaners and disinfectants as companions in the battle against dirt and grime, they can sometimes present more problems than solutions.

How have VOCs been known to negatively affect our health? The United States Environmental Protection Agency reports that the “key signs or symptoms associated with exposure to VOCs include conjunctival irritation, nose and throat discomfort, headache, allergic skin reaction, dyspnea, declines in serum cholinesterase levels, nausea, emesis, epistaxis, fatigue, dizziness.”

How do VOCs contribute to poor indoor air quality? It all depends on the ingredients of the cleaning products you are using. Health Care Without Harm reports that “some of these products contain persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic chemicals (PBTs), are classified as hazardous waste, and/or otherwise contribute to environmental pollution during their manufacture, use, or disposal.”

How can some disinfectants actually contribute to worsening the problems that they purport to solve? While many cleaners are advertised as bacteria killers, Health Care Without Harm notes that the anti-bacterial nature of many products can enhance the ability of bacteria to resist antibiotics. As a result, people can be placed at greater risk of negative health effects. On his website, Dr. Joseph Mercola provides further insight into this matter.

“Chemicals used to kill bacteria could be making them stronger,” he reveals, “Biocides are commonly used in cleaning hospitals and home environments, sterilizing medical equipment and decontaminating skin before surgery. At the correct strength, biocides kill bacteria and other microbes. But if lower levels are used, the bacteria can survive and become resistant to treatment.”

What chemicals in cleaners can cause health problems? Have you ever heard of triclosan? According to Health Care Without Harm, it’s “an antibacterial biocide increasingly prevalent in liquid detergents and soaps (janitorial products), could enhance the ability of bacteria to resist antibiotics, and poses a long-term threat to wildlife and to human health. Traces of triclosan have been found in human breast milk.”

So what is the solution to reducing VOCs in our homes? It’s all about using natural or “green” products. The fewer chemicals your cleaning products contain, the better. Dr. Mercola even points out that there are no studies that confirm that regular disinfecting leads to fewer illnesses in the home. However, research has shown that families who use chemical-laden products double their chances of experiencing respiratory issues.

Of course, the health and well-being of your family is important to you. So it’s clearly important to be mindful of the ways in which you clean your home. Are your cleaning products actually making you sicker instead of safer? At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we offer Air Quality Services to ensure that your family is enjoying the best indoor air quality possible.

For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

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