Are You Poisoning Your Family?

by classicalgeek

Common household products contain dangerous toxins, and using them too often can play havoc with your family's health (children are especially vulnerable).

No, I'm not asking you to confess to attempted murder!

I see aisles upon aisles of household products in the grocery store: toilet bowl cleaners, tile cleaners, other bathroom cleaners, kitchen cleaners, general-purpose cleaners, air fresheners, floor cleaners, and so on. Each is a cocktail of different chemicals--some known carcinogens and toxins (the government does not monitor the safety of personal care or cleaning products). If you are using more than one of these cleaners, you may be creating a dangerous chemical combination that could endanger the health of your family.

But do you really need all these products? It may be that just a few will suffice for your need to clean your house, and you can do without the rest. By lessening your family's exposure to toxins, you may be able to reduce your medical expenses and need for drugs (more chemicals).

I Am Not Against Chemicals!

My Father Was an Industrial Chemist

Everything in the world is made up of chemicals, and most of the things in the world get on quite well together. But there are some chemicals that are dangerous when combined, and have killed or severely injured many people, and many of those chemicals that should not combine are found in the very products that people are most likely to combine: household cleaners.

 

Most people know that you shouldn't combine bleach and ammonia, and yet they do, every day, because they are not reading the labels on their cleaning products. For example, if you have a drop-in tablet in the tank of your toilet, that is fine. But does it contain bleach? If so, what happens when you combine that with a toilet cleaner that contains ammonia? (Do you know if your toilet cleaner contains ammonia?) You get so-called "mustard gas," a chemical weapon which killed or disabled thousands of soldiers in World War 1!

 

 

But . . .

Crude Carbolic Acid - Not For Medicinal Use - Poison
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A Tiny Bit of Chemistry

Don't let your eyes glaze over. Nothing complicated here.

  1. Most stuff (including dirt) is either acid or alkali (also called basic). For most effective use, if something is acidic, use a base to clean it, and vice versa.
  2. Molecules are more highly reactive if they are polar (i.e., all their electrons are not evenly spaced). The more polarity, the higher the reactivity. Water is a good example of a polar molecule.
  3. Everything has a pH range. Remember that to a 3.4 pH acid, or a 8.3 pH alkali, water, at 7.0, will seem either acidic or basic.
  4. Molecules will be molecules. That means, they can't help reacting with each other when they come into contact.

Some Chemical Examples

If you are of a certain age, you will have seen the baking soda/vinegar "volcano" in science class. When you put the two together, they foam, and they create a chemical reaction.

Even chefs put this knowledge of chemical reactions to good use when they develop recipes and cooking methods, so there's nothing to be scared of!

Vinegar is acid.

Baking soda is a base.

Soap is made up of lye (a strong base) and fat (a weak acid), therefore soap is slightly basic. How basic soap is varies with its qualities.

The Elements Needed in Cleaning

Since all dirt is either acidic or basic, what we need is the opposite, plus a polar molecule to enhance reactivity, plus an abrasive if the dirt is tough.

Therefore, if you want to clean only with two of the safest elements on the planet, vinegar or baking soda is ideal. Put one on the dirt, add some water, and scrub. If that doesn't work, rinse completely, add the other, and scrub. However, this takes some time and a lot more effort than most of us are accustomed to using, so there are some other safe products out there that are effective and nontoxic (when used by themselves).

The Absolute Safest Ingredients

Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps Pure-Castile Soap, 18-in-1 Hemp Unscented Baby Mild, 32-Ounce Bottles (...

Made with Organic Oils! No detergents. 100% Vegan. Health is our greatest wealth. Oregon Tilth Certified Organic. No foaming agents. Enjoy only 2 cosmetics, enough sleep and Dr....

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14OZ Bon Ami Cleanser

Bon Ami, 14 OZ Polishing Cleanser, Gentle Feldspar & Calcite With Detergent, For Fast Stain Removal & Cleaning. Bon Ami is pure Calcium Carbonate (the same ingredient as chalk).

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Vinegar Solutions: Green Cleaning Made Simple

Vinegar Solutions lists the many versatile uses of vinegar as a household cleaning agent. Listing recipes for various cleaning solutions, tips on how to use vinegar most effecti...

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But MY Family Is Not Having a Reaction!

Can You Be Sure? Take the Challenge!

Not all chemical reactions are obvious, or immediate. Indeed, in chemistry there are slow reactions that may take years before someone untrained in molecular biology will notice the symptoms of chemical toxicity.

Take this challenge: list the different cleaning products you have around your house. Don't forget things like soaps, shower gels, laundry detergents, and shampoos. Add in the waxes, polishes, dish soap, dishwasher detergents, air fresheners, carpet fresheners, etc. How many do you have?

Part two of this challenge is to take a look at ingredient lists for each of those chemicals. Do you really know what each ingredient is and how it will react with ingredients from other cleaners? (Don't forget that "fragrance" is not one chemical, but up to 4,000 different chemicals listed under a single ingredient.)

Part three of this challenge is to look up each ingredient, and find out whether it is considered safe.

Now take a moment and think about all those chemicals in combination. Hand soap in the bathroom, plus whatever you used to clean the basin with, together in the drain with toothpaste, mouthwash, all the products used in cosmetics, etc. Can you be sure those chemicals aren't reacting together? Remember that many chemicals, even in combination, are odorless and colorless.

If You Don't Want to Figure All That Out

And still remain safe

Some people just don't have the time or energy to figure out how to clean with only baking soda and vinegar. Therefore, the next best solution is to pick just one general-purpose cleaner, and use that for everything that you can. Recently a popular magazine tested nineteen general-purpose cleaner, and one was at least twice as effective as anything else on the list. That general-purpose cleaner has been around for decades, and your parents probably used it. You would probably never guess that the best commercially available cleaner is Pine-Sol! You may not care for the smell, but is a fragrance worth your family's health?

In Tests, It's the Best!

This one cleaner beats out just about everything
Pine Sol Original 24 Fl Oz

Cleans. Disinfects. Deodorizes. All purpose cleaner and disinfectant. Kills bacteria (Broad spectrum disinfectant against Salmonella choleraesuis and Staphylococcus aureus). Rem...

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Was This Helpful?

Points to Consider

  • Even experienced chemists, who work with dangerous substances as a matter of course, are apt to have a tiny moment of forgetfulness over the course of years in the laboratory. I've read and heard of many instances of chemists being injured, even when they knew the chemicals involved and the reactions they were expecting, and the dangers, and still that one moment of forgetfulness resulted in severe injury.
  • No matter how old the stain is, never use bleach on a urine stain of any kind. Urine contains ammonia, and although bleach vapors will eventually disappear, ammonia remains locked in the urine stain. Use an oxygen-based product to clean urine stains.
Updated: 10/24/2013, classicalgeek
 
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blackspanielgallery on 07/03/2015

There are some things now that are all natural ingredients, like oranges. We have some of these products, and they actually work well. But, chemicals are indeed potentially dangerous. In some cases reactions take so ling to occur they are not yet known to be dangerous. Our chemist on campus often has said that he s glad we went through before things were dangerous, and as a physicist who has used too many of those formally "safe" chemicals I am now very skeptic.

WordChazer on 06/04/2014

Baking soda is an awesome cleaner! I use more of it to clean than I do in my food. I love vinegar on my garden too, use it in a homegrown mix with salt and washing up liquid where I have weeds but would rather have a plant urn standing. As far as reactions go, yes, just experienced one from removing cows' milk from my diet because soya milk keeps better. But my body LIKES cows' milk. Bones ache and skin goes dry without it. So, not a poison exactly, but a definite reaction against too much soya milk in my diet. Odd how things happen - it's usually the other way on but for some reason I need my dairy.

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