Home Health Care Services

Toxins in the Home – What Does Cleaning the House Really Do For Us?

Toxic chemicals have become part of our everyday life without us really realising it. We have been taught by our parents, grandparents and advertising that it is the products on the supermarket shelves that we need to have a clean germ free home.

It is true women have a much higher level of knowledge about hazardous chemicals than men, but what is surprising is that a total of 40 per cent showed little or no concern about potential health effects. This is an alarming statistic given the increasing evidence about the health effects of synthetic chemicals used in everyday household products and their impact on the development of babies and young children.

So here are some of the reasons that 40% who aren’t that worried should be concerned.

Since 1950 there have been 72,000 chemicals introduced into our homes only 2% of those have been tested for toxicity.

Women who stay at home have a 54% higher death rate from cancer than those who work outside the home. This is because there is an accumulation of toxins in our furnishings and in the dust and in the air.

150 Chemicals commonly found in the home are connected to allergies, birth defects, cancer and psychological disorders.

Asthma there has been a 29% increase in men and an 82% increase in women. The higher rate for women is believed to be due to women’s longer exposure times to household chemicals.

Illness such as asthma, allergies, chemical sensitivity, hyperactivity in children and chronic fatigue syndrome are now linked to the chemicals we are exposed to in our homes. Studies have found that certain carcinogenic and toxic exposures sustained early in life appear more likely to lead to disease like leukaemia, breast cancer and, possibly, some chronic neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s Disease, than do the same level exposures encountered later in life . These diseases most of us know something about but there are others.

It is estimated that 1/3 of Australians have a chemical sensitivity and don’t even know it and are making themselves sicker everyday.

One third of Australia’s health bill is due to chemical exposure!

Within 26 seconds from exposure to chemicals such as cleaning products traces of these chemicals can be found in every organ in the body.

Do you believe what is on the warning label?

Warning labels on containers refer only to the hazard from ingestion only 10% of health problems are caused from ingestion 90% are caused by inhalation of vapours and absorption of particles.

According to the National Research Council, no toxic information is available for more than 80% of the chemicals in everyday-use products. Only 1% of toxins are required to be listed on labels, because companies classify their formulas as “trade secrets.”

I was recently talking to an ambulance officer about poisonings in the home He said if everyone got rid of any product that the label says “Do not induce vomiting, Harmful or fatal if swallowed or Seek medical advice if swallowed” the number of call outs he got and the number of acute poisonings would drop dramatically.

So how do Toxins enter the body?

Toxins enter the body in 3 ways Inhalation, Absorption through the skin and Ingestion.

Inhalation- Just because something is in a sealed container doesn’t mean you can’t breathe in the fumes. I am sure everyone is familiar with the smells when walking down the cleaning/laundry aisle in the supermarket, these products haven’t even been opened and you can smell them and are breathing in the fumes. This doesn’t only apply to cleaning products it also applies to soft furnishings and new clothes.

Absorption-Our skin is not a protective coating that chemicals can’t get through medicines and beauty creams are designed to be absorbed by the skin. When you Apply a cream or lotion to your skin it is absorbed, so are the chemicals contained in it. Chemical absorption is not only related to cleaning products but also to personal care products.  Children are at higher risk when playing on floors with the residue from formaldehyde, asbestos and pesticides from common household cleaners. Their respiration rates are three times higher than adults, and their detoxification systems are not fully developed and cannot filter these toxins out.

Ingestion-The most immediate poisoning that can lead to accidental death. Dishwashing liquid is the leading cause of poisonings in the home for children under the age of six (over 2.1 million accidental poisonings per year). Most brands of dishwashing liquid contain formaldehyde and ammonia. Dishwashing liquid is very appealing to a small child, colourful, smells nice and makes bubbles there is nothing that appears to be bad.

Acute Toxicity -Poisoning that occurs instantly is called acute toxicity.

Chronic Toxicity -Some poisonings occur over time, Chronic toxicity refers to poisoning as the result of many repeated exposures. Chronic toxicity is the combined effects of all the toxic chemicals people are exposed to daily, Hair conditioner, mouthwash, perfume, laundry detergent, window cleaner, disinfectant and everything else all adds up to a toxic chemical soup in our bodies.

If we look at what Thomas Edison wrote back in 1902 “The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will interest his patients in the care of the human body, in diet and in the cause and prevention of disease.”… If people took notice of him then I wonder if we would have the same health concerns today?