Monday, March 31, 2008

Household Cleaners Can Cause Asthma

Who would have thought that cleaning your house could cause asthma-like symptoms and other hazards? One would think that ridding ourselves of the bacteria and other ickies that take safe harbour in our kitchens, bathrooms etc. would make for a cleaner healthier home. However, a whopping 44 products that we use to clean our abodes, contain a chemical called Monoethanolamine, which has proven to be a major irritant to both skin and lungs.

"May cause dermatitis by defatting the skin from prolonged or repeated
contact. Repeated or prolonged exposure may cause severe irritation of the nose, throat and lungs, as well as liver and kidney damage."

According to an article in Prevention Magazine, researchers discovered that those who use cleaners in spray or aerosol containers, once or more per week, were 50% more likely to develop asthma than those who didn't. While there isn't much research that supports this theory, there have been many research studies that have found that there is a definite link between occupational asthma and those who work in the janitorial and domestic cleaning field.

There is also some thought that the increase in childhood asthma could be a direct result of the asthma-inducing chemicals in our household cleaners and detergents.

Known Irritants:

Monoethanolamine (MEA), a surfactant found in some laundry detergents, all-purpose cleaners and floor cleaners and is a known inducer of occupational asthma

Ammonium quaternary compounds, disinfectants found in some disinfectant sprays and toilet cleaners that have been identified as inducers of occupational asthma

Phthalates, carriers for fragrance in glass cleaners, deodorizers, laundry detergents and fabric softeners, and are linked to increased allergic symptoms and asthma in children


Pour liquid or powder cleaning products on a cloth or a sponge.
Buy less toxic cleaning products at your local health food store.

For a great list of healthier, do-it-yourself cleaning recipes, and other resources, click here.

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