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Healthy Products Make a Healthy Home
by Caroline Blazovsky, Healthy Home Expert

With fall and winter approaching, our houses will once again be sealed tight; trapping toxins and preventing the exchange of fresh air.

Construction materials, heating and cooking fuels, cleaning products, detergents, plastics, and gasoline are just a few commonly used products contaminating our living spaces with chemicals such as formaldehyde, benzene, trichloroethylene, and toluene. These chemicals may contribute to many common health complaints. By switching to natural home cleaning and personal care products, you can reduce harmful exposure, while promoting better indoor air quality and a healthier home.

Most detergents, commercial cleaners, and personal hygiene products populating grocery shelves contain chemicals that may have negative impacts on our health. Commercial dish detergents, for example, can contain petroleum-based surfactants, chlorinated materials, and germicidal agents, as well as naptha (a central nervous system depressant); diethanolsamine (a possible liver poison); and chlorophenylphenol (a metabolic stimulant considered toxic).

By choosing all–natural dish detergents, you eliminate these unnecessary chemical compounds from seeping into groundwater, polluting animal and plant life, and contaminating the plates and dishes you use for food preparation and meals.

Laundry detergents are another major indoor contaminant. It is often difficult to ascertain official ingredients since many companies are not required by law to list them. Plus some claim that their formulations are confidential. Most detergents contain pertroleum-based artificial fragrances—shown to have toxic effects in animals. Which can lead to severe allergies, analphlaxis, and skin and eye irritation. These toxins contaminate our air, cling to our clothing and furniture, and leave behind an almost–indelible chemical residue. Because they may appeal to our sense of smell, we often think they must be healthy. WRONG. Artificial fragrances are chemicals and bring a plethora of health risks.

Commercial detergents also may contain alkyl benzene sulfonates or linear alkyl sodium sulfonates. These are synthetic surfactants that can release benzene into the environment, especially upon manufacturing. And, being extremely slow to biodegrade, they linger in your home and the environment.

Personal care products are also a big contributor to toxins in your environment. They can contain formaldehyde, methylene chloride, toluene, methyl ethyl ketone, and benzyl chloride. Many are considered carcinogens and carry with them numerous side effects.

One way to educate and protect yourself is to READ LABELS. If you see an ingredient you do not recognize, call the manufacturer and request an MSDS (material safety data sheet). You have a right to know what is in the products you are using! If they can't tell you what they contain, switch to a naturalbased product that lists ingredients you recognize. Common sense says that the less synthetic compounds we use, the better off we will be, especially since most of these products are placed directly on our skin—our largest bodily organ.

Then bring label reading to your cabinets and cupboards. Laundry detergent, fabric softener, furniture polish, window and glass cleaner, and bathroom cleaners are all potentially toxic products that may contain harmful chemicals. Many great companies are now supplying more wonderful and affordable non–toxic cleaners, beauty aids, cosmetics, and hair products than ever before. Buying naturally helps promote a healthy planet and a healthy you!