Toxic Materials in the Home

Toxic Materials in the Home

Everyday household products that many people use for cleaning, polishing, painting, or getting rid of pests work well for practical applications. Unfortunately, most mass manufactured items that people purchase can contain harmful chemicals or other irritants that can be annoying and sometimes dangerous for both people and pets. When cleaning the kitchen, products like ammonia can severely irritate the eyes and lungs, and can cause headaches or dizziness. Bleach is another product that can cause irritation, and is often used in the kitchen and bathroom for cleaning. Aerosol products like furniture polish can also contain irritants that bother people with allergies or those who are sensitive to strong smells or additives. For both the interior and exterior, paints and finishes are also toxic and can be the cause for headaches and a general feeling of lightheadedness. Of course, the outside of the home requires products that can also be dangerous. Pesticides can kill pets and affect certain plant life. Charcoal fluid used for the grill is highly flammable, and also causes headaches and dizziness. Anything with a warning label that is produced for the home should be used with caution. It is important to always read the warning labels for any special instructions in regards to use and storage. It's a good rule of thumb to assume that anything used to clean or perform certain maintenance around the home is very dangerous when ingested. Keep all household items locked away from children so they cannot get to it. Even those who work with hobbies and use a soldering iron should be aware that a lot of commonly used solders contain cadmium, a harmful element. Lead has also been found in certain ceramic glazes, although it has been outlawed in paints.

The good news for consumers is that there are plenty of safe alternatives for household cleaning. Baking soda is an excellent all purpose cleaner that is fairly neutral. It can be mixed with water and used to clean grout, fixtures, floors, and counter spaces. Mineral oil is a wonderful and natural alternative to furniture polish and for floor wax. Even lemons make an excellent cleaner. Some natural lemon juice mixed with water can clean rust, dirt, and grime. It also smells great and will not irritate the eyes or lungs. Borax mixed with water can serve as dishwashing detergent, spray disinfectant, or when combined with lemon and salt, an abrasive cleaner. Vinegar and baking soda combined can clean windows and unclog drains. Toothpaste helps to remove water spots from silver fixtures. Peppermint oil helps to repel pests and can be used on pets to help prevent fleas. Garlic has been known to combat mold and mildew. Even beer works as a good form of pest control. To prevent slugs or snails, simply bury a container of beer to level-deep, and it will attract and then trap the slugs or snails. Beauty products can be replaced with alternative items as well. Cucumber is a great item for puffy eyes, while lettuce leaves and water makes a great skin astringent, as does chamomile tea. There are limitless possibilities for safe, natural, and easy to make household products. The good news is that most of them are also less expensive than the major brands of chemical filled and often harmful products.

To find more information on safe alternatives to toxic materials in the home, see: