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Toxic home

Is your’s a toxic home?

Due to a certain amount of media coverage over the last few years more people are becoming aware of the problems that certain food additives and ingredients in cosmetics can cause; and so we read labels to avoid the nasties. But how many people know about the harmful effects of toxic chemicals in household products? Many homes contain commercial products like air fresheners, bathroom cleaners, floor polish, fabric softeners, oven cleaners, window cleaners and many more. In fact, according to the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage, the average home today contains more chemicals than were found in a typical chemistry lab at the turn of the 20th century. Results show that household products give off more than 133 different volatile organic compounds (VOCs). One of the major causes of VOCs in homes is the use of household cleaners and other products like air fresheners and pest control agents. VOCs include highly toxic chemicals like formaldehyde, benzene, glycol ethers, methylene chloride, perchloroethylene, toluene, trichloroethylene and xylene. Concentrations of many VOCs are consistently higher indoors than outdoors.

Did you know?

90% of all poison exposures occur at home.
Toxic chemicals in household products are not required to be listed on the label.
Air fresheners do anything but ‘freshen’ the air. They just cover up harmless natural odours with toxic synthetic ones.
Common household cleaners give off fumes which can aggravate respiratory problems like asthma.
Chlorine bleach is the chemical most frequently involved in household poisonings.
Window cleaners often contain ammonia and butoxyethanol. Ammonia fumes can irritate the skin, eyes and respiratory system. Butoxyethanol easily penetrates the skin and can cause nausea, headaches, dizziness and eye and skin irritation.
Oven cleaners can be one of the most dangerous cleaning products, which can cause severe damage to eyes, skin, mouth, and throat.
Toilet bowl cleaners can be extremely dangerous cleaning products. Breathing the fumes can be harmful and they may be fatal if swallowed.

So…what to do?

Educate…yourself and your family about the perils of dangerous chemicals in your home. The Chemical Maze Bookshelf Companion has a section on household products.
Eliminate…the household products that contain these chemicals.
Ventilate…your home by opening windows instead of using air fresheners. This is not only cheaper but better for the environment and your health.
Bicarbonate…most cleaning jobs in the home can be carried out with 2 or 3 natural ingredients like sodium bicarbonate (baking soda), vinegar and tea tree oil.
Decorate…your home with house plants that not only look great but absorb and eliminate toxic VOCs. These plants include Native Kentia Palm, Peace Lily and Devil’s Ivy.
Detoxicate…your body with the help of cleansing herbs and supplements on the advice of a qualified naturopath or nutritionist.
Communicate…to all your family and friends, via word of mouth, email, Twitter, Facebook etc. that you have gone chemical-free in your home and invite them to do the same.
Celebrate…your new found wealth, health, peace of mind and freedom from toxic household chemicals…perhaps with a little chocolate.

A cleaner school environment

Have you ever checked what cleaning chemicals your children’s school routinely uses to clean classrooms, toilets and general traffic areas? Large cleaning tasks such as public buildings and, of course, schools often use strong, chemical-laden cleaning products for an efficient clean that meets stipulated hygiene standards. Read More…

What the word ‘fragrance’ means

Skin care and cosmetic products are given pleasant fragrances to enhance our experience of them. The fragrance used is mostly a synthetic concoction created in a laboratory and made from a variety of chemicals. Because labeling laws only require the ‘fragrance’ to be listed, the chemicals used to create those fragrances are not shown. Read More…

Safe cosmetics for use in pregnancy

Some cosmetics are harmful chemicals applied directly to the skin. Pregnancy is a time when many women make substantial changes to their diet to support the healthy development of their baby, but many do not consider that some cosmetics are also worth avoiding in the best interests of maternal and prenatal health. Read More…

Preserving water is a toxic challenge for cosmetic manufacturers

If one of the ingredients in your makeup item is water (and the chances of this are very high), then that product will need to also contain some sort of preservative.

Water, in any form, will harbour a range of potentially dangerous bacterias without a preservative, or range of preservatives, to combat microbial growth and contamination. In fact, many manufacturers actually aim for a shelf life of three years for make up products and load in enough preservatives to meet that goal. Read More…

Are Mineral face powders a natural cosmetic product?

The most significant advancement for the natural cosmetic products industry over the past few years has undoubtedly been mineral face powders. But like any cosmetic product, natural or not, the use of potentially toxic ingredients by manufactures requires us to read labels diligently and look for the real truth behind health claims. Read More…

Over the counter acne treatments

Active ingredients in ‘over the counter’ (OTC) acne treatments should be considered with care. Benzoyl peroxide is the most common and many acne treatment marketers claim it is a highly effective solution to severe acne problems. It is the key ingredient in one of the highest selling acne treatment products, which has plenty of celebrities claiming it changed their life! Read More…

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