Why Cleaners Are More Harmful to Your Children Than to You

If you’re like me, when kids came into your world you wanted everything in your home to be as clean as possible.  You probably went to great lengths to disinfect everything because you wanted your child to live in the cleanest environment.  And you may have even safely assumed that as long as the cleaning supplies you were using weren’t bothering you, they weren’t bothering your baby either.  Sadly, that’s not true.

Here are 4 of the most toxic ingredients that are found in almost every popular cleaning product:

Formaldehyde:  this is a colorless gas found in many household products (including personal care products that are marketed to children).  At the very least, it can cause watery eyes, eye and/or throat irritation and nausea.  It’s especially harmful to asthma sufferers.  Some people have suffered from skin rashes and other severe allergic reactions.  According to the EPA, formaldehyde has been proven to cause cancer is animals and is strongly suspected of cancer in humans.  Unfortunately, manufacturers are not required to list this as an ingredient.

O-Phenylphenol:  this ingredient is found mainly in disinfecting wipes.  This ingredient appears on California’s Hazardous Chemical List.  While more and more companies are moving away from inclusion of this agent, it pays to read the labels and ensure that your product does not include it.  This dangerous ingredient has been shown to cause damage to the heart, lungs and kidneys.

Benzene:  this ingredient is a solvent that has been shown to cause tremors and attack the bone marrow.  This means that those who are exposed are at higher risk for leukemia.

Several studies have shown that these ingredients are toxic due to inhalation.  However, the gasses that are present during the cleaning process evaporate and then redeposit themselves mainly on furniture and soft objects like pillows, blankets, stuffed animals and soft toys.

Children spend a majority of their days putting objects into their mouths.  Therefore, they are taking in far more toxins than adults in the first place, even though adults are using the products directly.  In addition, adults have the ability to excrete toxins or store them in fat cells.  They also have immune systems that help protect against any potential side effects.

Children don’t yet have the ability to excrete toxins or store them away in their fat cells.  And because their immune systems are not yet fully developed, they are at greater risk for the inevitable side effects.  It’s important to note as well that expectant mothers who are exposed to these toxins are storing them in their fat cells.  And those fat cells are being utilized by the unborn baby for nourishment.

But not all “green” cleaners are created equal.  Some of the big box companies are using words like “green” or “natural” on their labels as marketing ploys.  As a responsible consumer, it is important that you read labels or create your own healthy alternatives.  Because believe it or not, it is possible to have a home that is clean and toxin free.

10 responses to “Why Cleaners Are More Harmful to Your Children Than to You

  1. I personally can’t even be around any of the “regular” cleaners. It was a no brainer when I had kids. I love Method products, except that I think their antibacterial stuff smells a little weird (my husband says the stuff in the green bottle smells like pee, so I started buying the orange bottle). I’m also developing a love for Seventh Generation and Mrs Meyers cleaning products!

  2. LOL – yes, some of them can smell a little weird for sure. That’s great that you are using non-toxic, eco-friendly products. I’m a big fan of the Ecosense line because they’re so concentrated and biodegradable. People just need to know that they have options! Thanks for commenting.

  3. I think this issue is going to become even bigger as time goes on. I have a friend who now has to wear a mask because she has developed an extreme sensitivity to all chemicals in the air from overexposure. Scary stuff.

    • Oh that’s terrible. When we converted our home over to green products almost 3 years ago, I was amazed at the difference. My son is off all his allergy and asthma medicine and my husband no longer gets headaches. I feel sorry for people who are suffering because they don’t have to!!

  4. I think you said you use Melaleuca right? How do their products measure up, Penny?

    • I love them actually. I did use Shaklee for a while, but I didn’t feel that they were as effective as I wanted them to be. When a teacher friend introduced me to Melaleuca, I was hooked right away.

  5. I totally agree with this! We have been using white vinegar and baking soda for just about every cleaning job you can think of. It works GREAT! I can’t even remember when I last had nasty chemical cleaning products in my house.

    • My grandmother used white vinegar and baking soda too, but they don’t work well on mirrors or wood or some other surfaces. Plus they don’t kill bacteria and viruses which is so necessary. But I will say they are inexpensive!

  6. We use Mrs. Meyer’s and Bon Ami! I like it old school and chemical free! :)

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