Are household cleaning products damaging your lungs?

Cleaning products for household come with their own set of disadvantages that can affect the health on a long term basis. Research studies conducted on 6000 adults over a period of 20 years show that, women who are exposed to chemicals that are found in common cleaning agents while cleaning home or working as cleaners are prone to lung infections.

Keeping the house clean and tidy contributes to keeping the environment safe for living. Proper cleaning and usage of disinfectants can help reduce or prevent bacteria caused due to raw or undercooked meat, fish and eggs. But the cleaning agents also can have unpredicted consequences posing a major risk to the health.

Potential Health Risks

Let’s talk about the potential health risks that are involved in cleaning products. Though the household cleaning products are more mild and diluted when compared to the industrial products, but they do contain the same harmful ingredients. This toxic chemical exposure is more susceptible to children than adults. Chemicals that are harmful include ammonia, aerosol propellants, chlorine bleach, hydrochloric, phenol, volatile organic compounds, petroleum distillates and so on.

These compounds are commonly found in floor and carpet cleaning products, toilet / tub cleaners, room fresheners, oven cleaners, washing detergents, disinfectants etc.

Safe Cleaning Products

The good thing is that, thankfully there are safe cleaning products available as well. The first step is to ensure that you read all the labels carefully. Those bottles or cleaning products that come with the green label as “natural” is not always free from toxins. In order to buy natural and non-toxic cleaners, look out for the following:

  • Citrus or plant based products –
  • Orange and lemon as degreasing agents
  • Tea tree and eucalyptus as disinfectants
  • Olive oil for shine and polish

Below are some pointers to be kept in mind when cleaning inside household is being done:-

  • Also make use of your own DIY cleaners which include baking soda, lime, white vinegar etc.
  • Make use of chemical cleaners only when required. Keeping spaces clean also implies not having to use chemical products that often
  • Do not make use of chemical carpet cleaner.
  • Choose products without artificial fragrance or added scents because fragrances can trigger asthma attacks and cause allergies.
  • Use chlorine-free bleaching agents
  • Never use cleaners that come with “Warning” labels.

Manufacturers of cleaning products should prepare a Material Safety Data Sheet that should have all the necessary information regarding the product’s hazards, reactivity, fire etc. on a scale of 1 to 10. When it comes to household cleaning, do not make use of any product whose score is above 2 as it may be dangerous.

Techniques for Safer Cleaning

Make use of these techniques for a safer cleaning of the house to protect yourself and your family.

  • Do not make use of too many cleaners and ensure that you dilute the cleaners before using for the bathroom
  • Open the windows and turn on fans when you are dealing with a chemical product
  • Read labels carefully and follow the instructions of the product on how they should be used
  • Be very careful when using bleach, although it is an effective cleaning agent but is very harmful for kids and pets around.