January 10, 2011

Clean Up Toxic Indoor Air

Most commercial cleaning products, cosmetics, and scented items (including perfumes) are sickening. They poison people daily.

These toxins are on floors, walls, countertops, beds, furniture, towels, clothing, and are applied directly to the skin. What happens in your body when they enter your bloodstream? Do they accumulate or combine together to become more potent? Do they cause rashes, allergies, respiratory problems, headaches, liver, kidney, and brain damage while assisting mutant cells in their quest to multiply? In many cases, yes they do. This is why we must think for ourselves when it comes to using these products.

The other day I saw a television commercial showing an attractive woman spraying an “air freshener” around her living room and on her sofa. Later, I saw another advertisement for a so-called air freshener that releases a mist when someone walks by. Since perfume, cosmetics, and scented items are heavily advertised by beautiful people on television and in print, their use seems perfectly normal, however, it is far from desirable.

A well-scented, squeaky-clean home and body is lovely. But to obtain both from harsh chemicals is damaging to humans and animals, not to mention expensive. The majority of products cause toxic indoor air quality that is worse than outdoor air pollution. Commercial air “fresheners” themselves contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs), many of which have been proven to cause cancer. You might as well spray acetone, isobutene, propane, petroleum distillates, toluene, tar, lead, arsenic, radon, and even ozone into your breathing space.

Many years ago I took a day and did a massive review of products in my house. I threw out trash cans full of toxic junk, much of it expensive department store cosmetics and perfumes along with far too many cleaning supplies. I also tossed scented candles and all those lovely smell-good bath and body products.

I began to search for organic, toxin-free replacements. There were virtually none in large department stores, boutiques, drug or grocery stores, which themselves smell of a harsh mix of chemicals from the goods they sell.

I learned to live with very few products. Shopping is simple, I’ve saved thousands of dollars and have taken a toxic load off my body. My number one household cleaning product? A large, inexpensive bottle of white vinegar which I mix with water and use for general cleaning.

As for air fresheners, if you can’t simply open windows and let fresh air inside then use an air purifier. If you want a great scent on yourself or in your house, use 100% pure essential oils that come from plants, trees, or flowers. You can also use an essential oil diffuser or mix a few drops of essential oils into a spray bottle filled with distilled water. Bring in green plants which naturally purify the air.

With the New Year here, it’s the perfect time to address your indoor air quality. How about making 2011 the year you become nontoxic? When you want to know about ingredients in any household product, see the Household Products Database maintained by the National Institutes of Health: www.HouseholdProducts.nlm.nih.gov or get the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) from the manufacturer’s website and look at the list of hazardous ingredients.

Learn more by reading How Everyday Products Make People Sick: Toxins at Home and in the Workplace by Paul D. Blanc. Note that many products labeled “all natural” and “organic” are just as toxic as the conventional ones. To learn more about natural cleaning solutions, including alternatives to bleach, read Organic Housekeeping by Ellen Sandbeck.

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