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A clean home doesn’t just make you feel good. It can help you stay healthy.
After all, fewer germs mean less chance of catching that common cold or the flu that’s been going around.
But what if the cleaning products you’ve been using to keep your home at its sparkling best are actually hiding dangerous substances that could destroy your health instead of helping it?
That’s the warning in a study by the Environmental Working Group that found the products you’re cleaning your home with could lead not only to cancer and respiratory damage — but even developmental and reproductive problems because they’re endocrine disruptors…
VOC hazards and your household air
The problem is that some — actually far too many — everyday cleaning products can release hundreds of volatile organic compounds into your household air.
Known as VOCs, these compounds are known hazards. They can contaminate indoor air two to five times more than outdoor air, with some estimates putting it as high as 10 times more. And they can linger and emit VOCs for days, weeks or even months.
In fact, one such VOC — formaldehyde, classified as a carcinogen – is not only found in common household cleaners. It’s in furniture and cabinetry in your home and is constantly off-gassing (though it’s worse in the summer) into your home’s air.
These VOCs are why people working in the cleaning industry have a 50 percent higher risk of developing asthma and a 43 percent higher risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
They’re also believed to be the reason that women in the field are at an increased risk of lung cancer and children — in utero and infancy—are at increased risk of asthma and wheezing in childhood.
Is there a way to cut down on these risks?
Conventional cleaners versus green and fragrance-free
Green cleaning products have become popular for the very reasons you’ve just read. But are they any better at keeping you safe?
The Environmental Working Group researchers analyzed 30 different cleaning products, including multipurpose and glass cleaners, air fresheners and more. And they pitted regular household cleaners against not just green cleaning products — but also against fragrance-free green cleaning products.
Altogether, they detected a total of 530 unique VOCs in the 30 products. Of these, 193 VOCs were hazardous, with the potential to cause harm to humans in the form of respiratory system damage, increased cancer risk and developmental and reproductive impacts.
However, they were able to show that green products emitted substantially lower VOCs than conventional — about half.
Even better, green fragrance-free products came with nearly eight times fewer VOCs than conventional and four times fewer than green products that included fragrance on their label!
When it came to those VOCs we already know are hazardous, green products without fragrance continued their winning streak…
The team found only four hazardous VOCs in green fragrance-free cleaners, versus 15 in green-only products and 22 in conventional.
Going green is an easy way to do something healthy for your body. And going green and fragrance-free is even better.
For extra help cutting down on these chemicals in your home, consider the right houseplant for the job.
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