‘Any product that goes into our body via our mouth is controlled controlled by labelling regulations to ensure that ingredients are clearly stated. • Yet products whose ingredients enter our body via the air we breathe or through skin contact during use do not fall under the same regulatory system. This means manufacturers do not need to mention lesser effects or possible long or possible long -term effects. Most countries do not require manufacturers to mention on their labels that the products contain neurotoxic agents, carcinogens or hormone -disrupting chemicals’ (Averyll Fitzgerald).
This same statement resonates all over the net including CHOICE.
Back in March 2015, an article was published in Air Quality, Atmosphere & Health by Anne Steinemann titled ‘Volatile emissions from consumer products’ (and the full article is available here on SBS) in which Anne discussed the amount of volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) we are exposed to using these and various other products in the home.
What are VOC’s? The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) state ‘volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are emitted as gases from certain solids or liquids. VOCs include a variety of chemicals, some of which may have short- and long-term adverse health effects’.
What are the health effects of VOC’s? Here is an excerpt from the US EPA website:
‘Health effects may include:
- Eye, nose and throat irritation
- headaches, loss of coordination and nausea
- damage to liver, kidney and central nervous system
- Some organics can cause cancer in animals, some are suspected or known to cause cancer in humans.
The ability of organic chemicals to cause health effects varies greatly from those that are highly toxic, to those with no known health effect.
As with other pollutants, the extent and nature of the health effect will depend on many factors including level of exposure and length of time exposed. Among the immediate symptoms that some people have experienced soon after exposure to some organics include:
- Eye and respiratory tract irritation
- visual disorders and memory impairment’
Now Anne Steinemann’s main points were that the consumers were left in the dark and unable to make informed choices as all the data was not given to us ‘consumers lack information about actual and complete product ingredients and emissions, given that most ingredients (over 97% in this study) are not disclosed, and most potentially hazardous ingredients (over 94% in this study) are also not disclosed’ (Anne Steinemann 2015).
Anne also goes on to say ‘given lack of ingredient information, consumers may seek out products with claims and certifications of green or organic, in hopes to reduce potential risks. But well-intentioned efforts could be hindered, because product claims can be misleading or unsubstantiated.Even many product evaluation guides base their assessment solely on disclosed ingredients, reinforcing the problem of misinformation for consumers’.
Well crap, seems like a lose-lose situation. We try to make better choices with information we are given and what, we are still being deceived and still exposing our family to this rubbish. Argh!
But on the upside, what can YOU do to control what cleaning products you use with the information (or lack of)?
1.Relax a little. Not everything needs to be sanitised with hospital grade disinfectant or Dettol’d or Glen 20’d (right Dad!!). Some cleaners now come with good bacteria in them.
2.Soap and water do a good job at removing dirt, and potentially harmful bacteria from hands and body. The US Food and Drug Administration (2016) stated this year, because of the ever growing concern of antibiotic resistance, that there is no evidence to suggest antibacterial hand washes are more effective than plain old soap and water. Plus a bar of soap is so much cheaper than those fancy, fragranced pump!!
3.Make your own! I have a 300ml? glass spray bottle (a different colour for different areas), and add in 1/3 mutli purpose sanitiser from Modere along with 5 drops of essential oils and purified water – my fav combo right now is Lavender and Sweet Basil. Or you could go for something like Doterra’s On Guard. I use these sprays on all surfaces, toilets, sinks, showers, mirrors and anything along with a microfibre cloths.
Just make small changes now. When you run out of something, think about what you will replace it with….
It’s all about reducing the toxic load on you and your families bodies at home as much as possible and as much as you can/want to, because the world outside has enough toxins to go around. Let’s make our homes a sanctuary.
If you have any great cleaner recipes, share via the comments section. I love trying new things and hearing what works for others!!