Creating a Healthier Home for Your Family

Our home is a safe place, a refuge from the dangers of the outside world. It is where skullour children play and where we invite family and friends to hang out and share memorable experiences. In preparation for their visit, we mop floors, clean counter tops, wash linens, and spray “air fresheners” all the while spreading toxins throughout our home.

Cleaning isn’t one of my favorite pastimes. I can think of a few things I’d rather be doing; heading to the beach, taking a few laps around the block. I would even prefer going grocery shopping, which is another task that takes some motivation because I’m learning the layout of a new store.

Obviously, cleaning is a necessary daily task. Many of the products we continue to clean our home and personal care items (clothing, eating utensils, etc.) with contain ingredients that are linked to illnesses such as various forms of cancer, birth defects, and immune system issues (ex: allergies, asthma). That is definitely no incentive to clean.

I am a label reader with my food items as well as any product that comes in contact with my family. Generally, the reading of an ingredient label on a conventional cleaner does not provide more clarity into the toxicity of a product. Unlike many food labels which now require disclosure of trans-fat and other ingredients that may not be as healthy and/or nutritious as we would like, companies manufacturing cleaning products that use hazardous ingredients, are not required to fully disclose all ingredients of their products. If they don’t have to disclose ingredients, then be sure they definitely do not disclose all of the possible health dangers from using their product.

As long as a reference of “danger, warning, or caution” (signal words) is listed on the product container, any further detailed information regarding one of those classifications and the health affects is pretty much left up to being discovered by the consumer.

Fortunately, there are ways for us to make safer consumer choices when purchasing the cleaning products we use. Knowing what to look for and how to read product labels makes the task a little easier and less daunting. When shopping for cleaning products, consider the following:

- Read the label and take the time to learn about the ingredients.
- Organic and natural products do work. Take the time (and money if necessary) to find a product that works best for you.
- The addition of an organic or natural ingredient does not make a cleaning product safer.
- If you feel ill after using a product, need to wear a mask, open windows, or wear goggles, then do not use.
- Try to find a cleaner that serves multiple purposes which reduces the amount of clutter under your sink and provides savings due to not having to purchase many products for various cleaning jobs around the house.
- Get rid of all toxic and conventional cleaners in your home. Since they are classified as hazardous waste, remember to dispose of properly.
- Take five easy steps.

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