Spring is in the air, and with Spring comes Spring Cleaning for many of us. But in the rush to clean, you may inadvertently be doing more bad than good.
Most of the cleaning products we grew up with are full of trace amounts of chemicals that have been linked to health problems ranging from asthma to cancer, according to environmental watchdog groups like the Environmental Working Group.
So what can you do?
Here are three tips:
1. Go natural. Look for “green” cleaners, but be sure to read the labels. Unfortunately the terms “green,” “eco” and “eco-friendly” are unregulated and can mean anything from truly natural with no synthetic ingredients, to a mish-mash of chemicals with some natural essences thrown in for good measure. If you’re not sure what an ingredient means, go to the EWG’s Chemical Index here.
2. Avoid anti-bacterial products. These products are linked by health officials to the rise in microorganisms that are resistant to antibiotics. This is not new news. Read this Center for Disease Control alert from 2001. It says in part that antibacterial ingredients “are now being added to products used in healthy households, even though an added health benefit has not been demonstrated. Scientists are concerned that the antibacterial agents will select bacteria resistant to them and cross-resistant to antibiotics. Moreover, if they alter a person’s microflora, they may negatively affect the normal maturation of the T helper cell response of the immune system to commensal flora antigens; this change could lead to a greater chance of allergies in children. As with antibiotics, prudent use of these products is urged. Their designated purpose is to protect vulnerable patients.”
3. Consider going “back to the future.” Simple basics like baking soda, castile soap, vinegar, and lemon can do the bulk of the cleaning in your home. “Recipes” for these conoctions are available here.
How do you clean? Leave a comment and share!
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