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The Hidden Impact of Household Cleaners on Indoor Air Quality

Posted in Air Quality, on February 06, 2018

When you’re busy scrubbing your home to a squeaky clean shine, you aren’t necessarily thinking about the cleaning products that impact your indoor air quality. Regular and thorough cleaning is key to overall health and wellness - but you can inadvertently do more harm than good by choosing cleaning products that impact your indoor air quality. Many of the disinfectants, soaps, polishes, and scents that we liberally use in our homes, offices, and schools, contain harmful chemicals that can cause or aggravate health problems. Even those products labelled ‘green’ may contain problematic ingredients that are better kept out of your home.

Many household cleaning products contain dangerous chemicals or VOCS

How these cleaning products that impact your indoor air quality can happen in a number of different ways and is often varies between individuals. Many of these products contain VOCs - Volatile Organic Compounds - that irritate your eyes, nose or throat. Other products can cause dangerous chemicals, like formaldehyde, to form when used improperly or if they come into contact with a chemical or material they react to. Doctors are increasingly linking these products and VOCs to chronic health issues, such as asthma, chronic headaches, and allergic reactions. The respiratory system is particularly vulnerable to many of these products, especially those that contain artificial fragrances.

Three common cleaning products that impact your indoor air quality are:

Chlorine Bleach

This common household cleaner has a strong, noxious smell, and in its gaseous form, chlorine has a nasty history of use in warfare. On the home front , bleach has been shown to have a minimal effect on allergen causing growths like mold, and on an increase in asthma and respiratory issues. The combination of bleach and ammonia can create a potent gas that, in extreme cases, lead to death.

Laundry Detergent and Fabric Softeners

The laundry aisle can be an overwhelming choice of euphemistic scent names evoking spring or freshness. But those spring rains may be bringing more than brighter whites - common chemicals such as sodium lauryl sulfates or phenols have been linked to cancer, developmental and reproductive toxicity, as well as having a harmful effect on our waterways, and the artificial scents in these products can cause an array of allergic effects as well.

Scented Cleaners

While lemons may evoke cleanliness, scented home cleaners often contain a cornucopia of toxic ingredients, and scent can be one of the worst for causing allergies and reactions. Terpenes are naturally occurring fragrant oils found commonly in citrus and coniferous trees that  are often used as solvents or fragrances in household products. While not toxic on their own, they can react with ozone to produce a number of secondary toxic compounds. Keeping your home free and clear of dangerous chemicals can have a huge impact on your indoor air quality and help you breathe easier indoors. The first step is to switch to unscented products, and carefully read all labels if you have any doubts, but if you have any deep concerns about your indoor air quality, it’s best to get in touch with a professional at SafeAir for a more in-depth consultation. Don’t let cleaning products that impact your indoor air quality make your home an uncomfortable place to be - give us a call today at 416- 414-5690.

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