I didn’t know those things were toxic…

From on March 04, 2009 in CalFinder News

cleaningstuff.jpgWe’re talking about household products you use every day, like air fresheners, insect sprays, and kitchen cleaners. Most people think of pesticides as chemicals used to destroy or repel pests, such as insects, mice, or weeds. But did you know that kitchen floor cleaner and bathroom mildew sprays are also pesticides?

The items listed below are just a few examples of how toxic these products really are, with facts about their impact to our health and environment and natural solutions for a truly cleaner home.

Toxic Facts about Insect Foggers and Insect Sprays

  • The chemicals used in these products include pyrethrins, permethrin, methoprene, diazinon, propoxur, and chlorpyrifos.
  • Common health risks are burning eyes and/or skin, trouble breathing, and sickness if you breathe the fumes or get some on your skin or in your mouth. Can be fatal.
  • Flammable – a fire or explosion can happen if you don’t properly follow the directions.

Detox with Natural Pest Repellents

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  • Keep your kitchen cupboards and countertops clean of food and crumbs. Clean your dishes as they’re used. Don’t leave food in pet bowls; only feed your pets the amount they’ll eat at that time. Take your garbage out frequently.
  • Standing water attracts insects – fix leaky faucets and any damp areas. Drain your houseplant trays each time you water.
  • Vacuum regularly.
  • Caulk cracks and small openings where pests can enter your home. Weatherstrip doors and windows.
  • Give your pets a bath every week to control fleas.
  • Use Have-a-Heart (actually it’s Havahart) mousetraps. Www.Havahart.com

Toxic facts about Glass and All-Purpose Cleaners

  • Basic ingredients are ammonia and isopropanol. Some all-purpose cleaners can contain chemicals such as sodium hypochlorite, ethelyne glycol monobuytl acetate, or trisodium phosphate.
  • Can cause irritation to skin, eyes, nose, and throat and may cause drowsiness, unconsciousness, or death. Highly poisonous if swallowed.

Detox with Natural Cleaners

  • Use vinegar and water recipe: 1/4 cup vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon liquid soap or detergent, and 2 cups of water. Combine in a spray bottle. Shake to blend. Use old newspapers to dry off.
  • Use rubbing alcohol and spray bottle.
  • Use vinegar; pour undiluted white vinegar into a spray bottle and you’re ready to start killing bacteria and germs. Don’t be afraid of the smell, it goes away in a couple hours.

Toxic Facts about Carpet Cleaners

  • Basic ingredients are perchloroethylene and naphthalene.
  • Health hazards are nausea, dizziness, and sleepiness. The fumes can cause cancer and damage your liver.

Detox with Natural Cleaners

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  • Sprinkle corn starch on rug or carpet and vacuum.
  • Deodorize your carpets by sprinkling baking soda before vacuuming.

Toxic Facts about Air Fresheners

  • Available in spray or solid, these fresheners have four basic ingredients: formaldehyde, petroleum distillates, aerosol propellants, and p-dichlorobenzene.
  • Strong irritant to eyes, skin, throat, and lungs; can cause allergic reactions and trigger asthma attacks.
  • Highly flammable.
  • Fatal if eaten by people or pets (solid fresheners).

Detox with Natural Air Fresheners

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  • Place fresh cut flowers in your bathrooms and kitchen.
  • Place essential oil, such as vanilla or lavender, in a burner.
  • Put a small pot of water on the stove, set temperature on low, and add cinnamon sticks and sliced lemons or oranges.
  • Purchase scented soy or beeswax candles – natural waxes that smell good even when they’re not lit.
  • Open your windows and let the fresh air in.

Links: Natural cleaning concoctions
More information on pesticides
Health & safety