Are your cleaning products making you sick?
More and more people are making the decision to go nontoxic, switching out their commercial beauty, hygiene, and home cleaning products for organic, sustainable options. As more research is released all the time, we are slowly becoming aware that the age of chemical cleaning products is severely damaging our health. If you've been contemplating making this lifestyle switch, then read on, because I have some great tips for you.
First off, when you use any standard name-brand household cleaning product, you're releasing pollutants back into your home. "Many common cleaning products rely on petroleum-based manufacturing and release toxic compounds into your home," says Pricenomics; "the EPA broadly classifies these chemicals as volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which includes airborne emissions like formaldehyde and car exhaust, as well as consumable compounds like ethanol and acetic acid."
Exposure to these VOCs, even in really small quantities can cause headaches, nausea, and eye irritations which can contribute to long-term issues like allergies and asthma. The worst offenders, according to Pricenomics, are air fresheners and cleaning wipes, especially the fragranced ones. If you suffer from chronic headaches, asthma or dry eyes, you might want to consider what's in your cleaning products - are they making you sick?
Because labeling for cleaning products is totally unregulated, manufacturers smack a buzzword on the label like "clean", "green", "nontoxic", and "natural" even if the formula still contains toxic chemicals - it makes absolutely no sense. "There is no agreement on what toxic and nontoxic actually mean," says Debra Lynn Dadd, which means that store labels are deceiving, and what is on the inside of that bottle is what really matters.
Some manufacturers will argue that the quantity of the toxic chemical in a formulation is so minimal that it won't have health implications - which of course might be true if we were exposed to only one of these toxic chemicals on a rare basis - but the undeniable reality is we're exposed to hundreds of these toxic chemicals all day long, and the cumulative effects aren't pretty. Some chemicals used in basic cleaning products have been linked to conditions such as birth defects, autoimmune disease, thyroid disorders, asthma, and even cancer. The most common symptoms of chemical toxicity include hormone imbalance, skin irritations, allergies, and chronic inflammation - things that the average American struggles with.
Think about it like this: our body is going along, minding its business and fighting off germs and stressors all day long. Our bodies are slowly filling up with toxicity from chemicals, and the symptoms start showing up to alert us that something is wrong, but instead of fixing the cause of the problem, we try to fix the symptom - ie, headache, asthma, etc. It's like bailing water out of a boat instead of fixing the hole that is letting the water in. Doesn't make much sense, does it?
All of this information can seem terribly overwhelming if you're new to this whole green living stuff, but educating yourself is really the first step. Once you know, you know, and you can pay attention to how your body feels and reacts, and see where you need to patch the hole in your proverbial boat. Making a few small, simple changes to the things you buy and use every day can make a huge impact on your personal health and the health of the environment.
So, let's dig in to a few simple, easy and affordable steps to detoxing and switching away from chemical-laden cleaning products:
1. Start by looking at what you already have
The first step is to download the app 'Think Dirty' and start scanning every product under your sink and in your bathrooms. What you find might surprise you! Once you are aware of how toxic your cleaning products are or aren't, then you can make an informed decision about the worst culprits and bid them farewell (i.e., the trash). When something scores highly on the dirty scale, it is not worth it to you to keep using it - just eliminate it, and move on.
2) Replace the Worst
I recommend Thieves Household Cleaner from Young Living for this task because it can clean EVERY surface in your whole house. So this is the most budget friendly, easy and simple way to swap out those harsh chemicals you found hiding in your bottles. Now, instead of having 12 bottles under your sink to clean with, you can just have 1 or 2! You're saving space, and reducing your waste - killing two birds with one stone. Because Thieves is formulated with 100% plant-based material, it leaves no chemical residues, no strong odors, and is even safe for consumption (just drink lots of water). If you have pets or kids, you want to be sure they don't risk getting poisoned from toxic chemicals - with this, you know you're safe.
2. Be consistent to save money
Once you've swapped out the bad guys, be conscious about everything you buy going forward. Scan labels before you purchase them, and don't be tempted to grab something off the shelf just because you are in a hurry. For this, I recommend always having these ingredients on hand: baking soda, lemon essential oil, white vinegar, and Thieves cleaner. With these staples, you can tackle any cleaning issue with pure plant power! I highly recommend joining Essential Rewards (the Young Living loyalty program) so you never run out of product, and so you can earn 10-25% of each month's purchase in cash back. I also recommend Thrive Market as a source for affordable and nontoxic alternatives such as castile soap, vinegar, baking soda, and more.
By boycotting toxic cleaning products, brands will be forced to listen up and see the consumer demands changing - if they want to stay in business, they will have to get creative. I always say that we have the power to vote with our dollar, so putting those dollars where good companies are doing good work, will hopefully push the industry to make some big changes.