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How Cleaning Chemicals Enter The Human Body

January 11, 2014

Most people don’t think about the consequences of cleaning chemicals. Either they hire a Chicago Maid Service to clean for them without inquiring about the methods that they use, or, if they clean their homes themselves, they try to get it done as fast as possible. This leads to problems, especially when shortcuts are taken. They look mainly for things that promise to make cleaning easy (like the pre-moistened cleaning wipes) or powerful stain cleaners that work quickly and only need to be wiped off, not rinsed clean. The problem lies in the fact that some of these shortcut methods can contain harmful chemicals.

The 4 Main Ways That Cleaning Chemicals Enter The Human Body:

– Breathing/Inhaling. This is the most obvious way for chemicals to gain access to your body. Whether you are spraying a cleaning solution onto a counter and lean in too far and breathe them in, or you get too close when you are wiping the solution off, the cleaning solution and its harmful chemicals can enter your lungs, causing a number of respiratory problems – even ones that you won’t notice until many years later.

– Eating/Ingesting. Not properly removing the solution from a countertop, not washing your hands afterwards (especially if you don’t wear rubber gloves) and mishandling cleaning solutions are all ways that these chemical-laden solutions can end up in your food. Eating contaminated food can cause plenty of gastrointestinal problems.

– Touch/Contact. There is a reason why professionals wear rubber gloves. Touching the chemicals can cause irritated skin, redness and dryness or worse, depending on how sensitive you are to the chemicals and how much of them you have touched. You can also get chemicals in your eyes if you spray the solutions improperly.

– Puncture wounds or cuts/Injecting. If you are wiping down a countertop without gloves on and have a cut on your hand that is uncovered, the chemicals in the solution can enter your system through your cut. Worse, if you cut yourself while cleaning and think that spraying the wound with a cleaning “disinfectant” is a good idea (which it is NOT – do not do this) they can get in that way as well.

As you can see, cleaning chemicals can enter your system in ways that you never thought of before. And once they are in, they can cause a large number of problems. Some of these are seen right away (for example, not feeling well after accidentally breathing them in or eating something that they have touched, while others can take years to show up.

Health problems that have been linked to household cleaning chemicals fall into three different categories:

Carcinogens – A carcinogen is a harmful chemical that either is believed to cause various types of cancers, or is known and has been proven to cause them.

Neurotoxins – Neurotoxins affect the brain. They can cause a small issue, like a headache, or a large one, like a loss in brain function in adults, children and even unborn children.

Endocrine disruptors – The endocrine system deals with your hormones and related bodily functions. Chemicals that disrupt it can cause miscarriages, fertility problems, early puberty in children and a number of other issues.

There is something called “body burden” that most people have heard about in terms of nuclear fallout and radiation. It relates to the amount of chemicals, radiation, and other harmful substances that persist in our systems long after you have been exposed to them. Over time, these substances build up and cause the three problems explained above. The main problem is avoiding exposure, because once your system has been exposed to these things, they do not leave it. You are stuck carrying them around for the rest of your life – they are your burden, hence the name.

And while radiation is the most well-known of these burdens, cleaning chemicals are on that list as well. Some cleaning compounds contain things like formaldehyde, phthalates, organochlorines, APEs and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that are known carcinogens, endocrine disruptors and neurotoxins. This is why you need to limit your exposure to them as much as possible.

The better way to avoid these harmful chemicals is by not buying the products that contain them. If you’re in doubt, look at the back of the package or bottle. Manufacturers have to list the ingredients in the solution and provide a warning label. Avoid things that say “corrosive,” “poisonous” and that have the skull and crossbones symbol on them. These all mean that the cleaning supplies contain things that can add to your body burden, even if proper cleaning precautions are taken. However, knowing which category each chemical falls into can be tricky. It is much easier to look for green, environmentally friendly cleaning products. Unfortunately, “green washing” has been alive and strong in marketing household cleaners. Look for industry-recognized certification, such as Green Seal.

The best way to avoid these harmful cleaning chemicals is to utilize chemical free cleaning technology, such as steam and deionized water. Instead of depending on chemistry, these technologies use physics to clean surfaces without chemicals, resulted in cleaner, safer, and healthier results.

Another thing to keep in mind is that a clean home shouldn’t smell like anything. Many of the most popular products have artificial lemon or citrus scents that are designed to linger after the cleaning is done. Over the years, this has tricked the public into believing that a clean house is one that smells like citrus or lemon. However, this isn’t true. Ask a maid service Chicago – a clean house should smell like nothing. There shouldn’t be any lingering odors – lemony or otherwise!

Due to the harmful nature of many cleaning chemicals, it is important that you avoid them as much as possible and use those are less harmful and even better, chemical free methods. However, if you decide to hire a Chicago maid service to clean your home for you, you need to ask them about this as well. Find one that either uses only green cleaning or even better chemical free methods. This is the only way that you know that your exposure to these chemicals will be limited or even eliminated. Also, check out our article on the top three risks of hiring a private maid here!

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