The new generations have become accustomed to living in an era of excessive cleaning. Our houses are full of harmful detergents. The sink shines, the floors are like a mirror, germs and bacteria have a hard time, since everyone believes that in this way they are shielding their home and protecting their family.
And yet, according to recent studies, long-term exposure to cleaning sprays increases the risk of lung damage. A risk equivalent to smoking a pack of cigarettes a day.
What the studies say about detergents
One study, published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, looked at household cleaning products, including sprays and other cleaners. The aim of the study was not to investigate the risk of lung cancer in relation to these detergents, but to investigate lung function disorders.
The study looked at 6,000 women over a 20-year period and investigated the long-term effects of detergents on respiratory health, such as impaired lung function and airway obstruction.
Here are some important findings made by some Norwegian researchers:
- Although both respiratory factors are normally reduced by the age of 25, the study found that regular use of chemical detergents worsens lung function.
- According to the findings, the use of chemical detergents at least once a week for more than 20 years caused significant damage to the lungs.
- People who clean professionally experience lung disorders equivalent to smoking a pack of cigarettes a day for 10 to 20 years.
Researchers have suggested that irritants in cleaning products cause harm in the following ways:
- They promote dysfunction of the immune system.
- They promote the possibility of inflammation in the mucous membranes.
- They damage the cells, structures, and tissues of the airways.
Therefore, to reduce this negative impact, researchers have made the following proposals:
- Save money and protect your lungs by reducing the use of detergents. The cleaning industry doesn’t have to list every ingredient, so it’s impossible to really know the ingredients in a detergent…and how it affects our health in the short and long term.
- Avoid cleaning sprays as much as possible. If this is not possible, spray on a cloth first to reduce the number of small droplets that can be inhaled.
- Use microfiber cloths and water to remove dust.
These are the dangers of chemical detergents
There are many studies that refer to the way in which harmful detergents affect our body. Let’s take a look at some of the ways that toxic cleansers harm our bodies.
Pollution that infects the lungs
It may seem impossible, but the use of toxic detergents creates dangerous atmospheric conditions in the house. According to recent studies, household cleaning products often contain high levels of volatile organic compounds, also known as OMCs.
The researchers noted that these cleaners often contain glycol ethers, which are considered toxic gas contaminants. Terpenes are also other chemicals that lurk in cleaners and easily react with very fine particles and formaldehyde to generate lung-destroying ozone.
Studies show that the frequent use of cleaning products has increased the risk of childhood rhinitis by 97 percent. Rhinitis symptoms worsened with increasing total chemical load.
Professional cleaners are known to be at higher risk of developing asthma. A recent study showed that this can also happen at home. According to the study, the following products can cause asthma symptoms
- Cleaning sprays.
- Other disinfectants.
Unfortunately, dermatitis-causing ingredients are common in cleaning and laundry products, such as the dangerous methylisothiazolinone. And the bad thing is that this ingredient is usually found in cleaning products that are sold as “ecological”.
Often the way we mix cleaners is dangerous. The dangers of bleach don’t just include the development of some respiratory problems. A common mistake is mixing bleach with cleaners that contain ammonia.
This creates so-called “chloramine gas.” In fact, the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia warns that just a few inhalations of this chemical mixture can cause symptoms, such as:
- Irritation of the eyes, nose, throat and respiratory tract.
- Throat pain.
- Chest weight.
How to clean our house more safely
Let’s see how we can find safer solutions, taking into account the suggestions of the experts:
We do not need industrial detergents to clean our house effectively. We can use white vinegar, baking soda and green soap. If we need more powerful cleaners, we can use essential oils with antimicrobial properties, after making sure they are safe for our pets.
- If we have doubts about the products, it is better to choose those that do not have fragrances.
- If we use essential oils, it is better to avoid using them on days with high ozone levels.
- Avoid antibacterial soap, but also the active ingredient triclosan and those substances that replace triclosan.
- It’s best not to rely entirely on “green” cleaners. According to a recent study, many eco-friendly detergents contained carcinogens and toxic fragrances.