Conventional Cleaners | Seventh Generation
Skip to Content

Conventional Cleaners

  • Pin It

Heavy Breathing

0 comments
Author:

If you’ve ever sat at a restaurant while someone cleaned the table next to you, and you experienced an unpleasant sensation in your throat, nose and eyes, that was likely your body telling you that the contents of the spray cleaner were bad for your health. Studies over the past several years have documented that the VOC’s like those found in conventional cleaners are asthma triggers for children. Now, the evidence that spray cleaners are linked to asthma in adults is back in the news.

VOCs are Volatile Organic Compounds. They’re carbon-based chemicals that form vapors at room temperature, and these vapors are very easily inhaled by anyone nearby. Cleaning product manufacturers like to use VOCs because their tendency to evaporate quickly means they help the surfaces being cleaned dry quickly. The VOCs evaporate and carry away much of the rest of the moisture in a given cleaning product with them.

We can’t tell from this new study whether or not it’s the VOCs in cleaners or something else they contain that’s triggering asthma in adults. The study only says that the more you use conventional cleaning products, the greater your chance of contracting the disease. It could be another compound or family of chemicals that’s responsible. There’s also evidence, for example, that phthalates contribute to asthma risk, and just a week or so ago I was talking about how aerosols can carry all kinds of chemicals deep into our lungs.

See Full Post
  • Pin It

Making Accidents Hurt Less

0 comments
Author:

A recent news story about a baby who died after crawling into a bucket of bleach left me thinking about the refrain, “our products are safe when used as directed.” We hear this over and over and over again. But we also hear of many cases – most of them accidents – where people fail to use products as directed.

To me, these cases raise many questions about the responsibility of manufacturers of products that contain harmful chemicals. For example, why do some companies make bathroom cleaners that require open windows when so many bathrooms have no windows? Why are some dishwasher powders filled with chemicals that are harmful to children if swallowed? Why do some glass cleaners come with ingredients you wouldn’t want a child to breathe if she pressed her nose against the window? The biggest question of all is when will these products be replaced by ones that are safe even if not used as directed? While we can’t prevent accidents, we can certainly take steps to make sure they hurt a lot less.

See Full Post
  • Pin It

Making Ourselves Sick

0 comments
Author:

Over the weekend, the Times of London reported on a study published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine by the American Thoracic Society. The results are not surprising and speak for themselves.

“The relative risk rates of developing adult asthma in relation to exposure to cleaning products could account for as much as 15 per cent, or one in seven, of adult asthma cases.”

In fact, the study found that subjects who used household spray cleaners at least once a week increased their risk of developing asthma symptoms by an incredible 30 to 50 percent.

Singled out as particularly likely to trigger asthma were conventional glass cleaners, furniture sprays, and air fresheners, which typically contain chemicals like ammonia, chlorine-releasing agents and sodium hydroxide. Researchers suggested that it's significantly easier to get exposed to these and other chemicals when they're released into the air in spray form. This, of course, is something we've been concerned about for years. When we spray a cleaning product, a certain amount never makes it to the surface we're cleaning. Instead, it goes out into the air in the form of something called aerosols, super-tiny microscopic particles that are so lightweight they can stay suspended in the air for hours--the same air we then breathe.

Let's wake up before too many more people smell the spray cleaners.

See Full Post
Subscribe to RSS - Conventional Cleaners