Do you know the chemical constitution of the household cleaning products you use at home? Currently around 85,000 synthetic chemicals are being used with another 500 or so being added to the mix each year. Many of these new compounds are used to clean and sanitise your home!
These chemicals are produced in massive amounts and have such long lives that traces of them are routinely found in rain water, snow, sediment and surface water. This contaminated water ends up our wastewater treatment plants and eventually, in our homes via kitchen and bathroom taps.
The human body can handle small amounts of poisons. However, it starts to malfunction when burdened by toxic overload. Many chemicals are stored in body fat while others migrate to vital organs (the brain, spinal cord, nerves and muscles). It’s no coincidence that the increased use of manufactured chemicals coincides with a rise in health trends such as breast cancer and asthma.
Chemical Types found in Household Cleaning Products
Most chemicals found in household cleaning products fall into a few major classifications. A number of products also contain a mix of chemicals that cover more than one category:
A. Synthetic Organic Compounds
Some of these chemicals are building blocks for detergents and plastics, propane, heating oil and lubricants. They’re common in everyday household cleaning products and within this class you will find:
- Aromatic hydrocarbons – Many of these simple organics compounds are known to be carcinogens and are used in degreasers, deodorizers and pesticides.
- Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) – These chemicals evaporate easily at room temperature. They attach themselves to soft materials such as clothes, curtains, furniture and carpeting. Eventually they dissipate into the outdoor air where they can cause low-altitude smog.
- Petrochemicals – These chemicals are connected to a host of environmental and health challenges from oil spills to childhood development problems. The use of petrochemicals also reinforces our dependence on a dwindling supply of petroleum. Petrochemicals are found in a variety of household cleaners including floor waxes, furniture polishes, degreasers and all-purpose cleaners.
B. Chlorinated Compounds
Chlorine is a highly toxic gas and one of its first uses was as a poison in World War I. Today there are some 15,000 chlorinated compounds in commercial use. Some are also found in common cleaning products including sanitizing and bleaching agents, solvents (for dry cleaning for example), tub and tile cleaners and pesticides. Chlorinated compounds used within the home enter the environment when they get washed down the drain. Many of these chemicals are similar to human hormones and may be able to mimic them in the body. Chlorinated compounds are suspected of affecting sperm counts, the rate of male births and other biological functions.
Phosphates contain phosphorous which act as a nutrient in water systems. An overabundance of phosphorus encourages excessive growth of algae and weeds, robbing less aggressive plants and animal life of oxygen. This results in lifeless streams and rivers.
Most people are not aware of the make-up of the cleaning products that they use around their home and the damage that they are doing to themselves and the environment. The rise of ecological cleaning products and home made cleaning options now provide greater choice. The question is – will you switch to using products that have a minimal impact on your health and the environment?
If you’re looking for an environmentally friendly domestic cleaning service, give the guys at ProClean Team a call on 020 8742 1808 and they’d be happy to help!
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