We all have to use cleaning to keep our homes clean, but did you know how harmful some cleaners and disinfectants can be to children and adults. If you like to use cleaners that come in an aerosol spray cans, then you could be exposing your loved ones to a barrage of air born toxins that could bring on an asthma attack. Spray cans that have fragrances in them are by far the worst. Use your own nose to select cleaning products without harsh scents. When possible, choose simple, natural products whose labels do not carry serious hazard warnings.
Cleaning products are used everywhere, in schools, offices, by janitors and hospital workers to clean, disinfect, control dust and mold on surfaces. When adult's work around these cleaners and children are exposed to where these cleaners are used, they can develop breathing problems. Some of the most chemical exposed jobs seem to be hospital workers and hotel housekeepers due to the constant cleaning with harsh cleaners after every visitor.
If you are around cleaning products and start to feel your chest tighten or you begin to wheeze or cough and have shortness of breath, you should call your doctor. These kinds of symptoms are not normal and you should talk to your doctor even if you were not the one using the cleaners or doing the cleaning.
The types of cleaners that can be harmful and should be avoided by adults and children are:
If you have asthma already, you should talk to your doctor before using these kinds of cleaners. If you don't have asthma or breathing problems, you should read the MSDS (material safety data sheet) associated with the chemicals you are using or search the net for the hazardous substance fact sheet before using harmful chemicals. You should also request breathing masks and other protective gear, for you and anyone else who might come into contact with the chemicals or the fumes.
The very process of cleaning itself can stir dirt and dust up into the air, so you may want to do heavy cleaning when your children and pets will not be around during or immediately after the clean up. You should only use harmful chemicals in ventilated areas away from children and pets. Your house can trap these air born toxins inside, where they can cause breathing problems for your loved ones. One thing you can do to minimize the exposure is clean when no one is in the home. Keep the home well ventilated by opening doors and windows. You can also use fans to control airflow throughout the home.
If you have someone in your home that has asthma, you should talk to your doctor to find out what kinds of chemicals might cause them problems. For example, if your child is not allergic to dust mites. There is no reason to use harmful or harsh cleaning agents to aggressively eliminate them. The same should go for mold or pet dander. The better informed you are about your asthma the easier it will be to control the triggers that can cause asthma attacks. Colds and flu can also trigger asthma attacks, so keeping kitchen and bathroom surfaces clean is important. However, it is not necessary to use antibacterial soaps or cleansers. Your goal is to remove or wash bacteria down the drain, not kill them on the spot using harmful chemicals.
It may be surprising to hear that ingredients from solid and liquid cleaners can actually get inside our bodies. Yet, many liquids and even some solids give off vapors that we inhale, and some of these substances actually enter our body tissues. The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences did a study of almost a thousand adults, showing a link between a chemical called 1,4 DCB (dichlorobenzene) and lung function. Those who had the highest levels of this chemical in their blood had worse lung function.
It is best to use all natural things to clean with. Plain soap, water, salt, baking soda, vinegar and lemon juice are best to use with some plain old elbow grease. The use of a scrubbing sponge can take the place of chemicals used to remove tough stains. Make sure you follow the instructions on the cleaning products to ensure they are not used improperly. Simple things can go a long way in keeping your family safe.