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How Toxic Cleaners Affect Kids' Health

In this age, when we’re compelled to opt for products that promise superlatives, we’re often driven to think that by using cleaning brands boasting “maximum cleaning strength” or “highly toxic,” we can have the “safe” (i.e. microorganism-free) and clean home we’ve always wanted.

We buy hoping that by increasing the amount of toxicity caused to these organisms, we are getting the most out of our money—and of course, bettering the quality of our family's life, especially our children.

Sure, your house might be squeaky clean on the surface, but will you and your family be safe in it?

The truth is, a lot of the ingredients found in regular household cleaning products are in fact, too strong and too toxic to be suitable for our homes. Just skim through labels and note how many products have a “Keep out of reach of children” or “Harmful if inhaled/swallowed” warning on them.

According to the EPA, the average home has over 150 toxic chemicals lurking on surfaces, under their sink, and just about anywhere in their homes. These chemicals have been proven to cause health issues ranging from minor allergies to birth defects, to psychological problems, and cancer.

On the average, over 100 chemicals in household products cause tumors.

More than 200 are linked to reproductive issues, over 300 cause biological defects, nearly 400 result to skin and eye irritation or damage, and almost 900 are highly toxic.

One of these toxic chemicals is sodium hydroxide (or potassium hydroxide), a fancy name for lye. Lye is the number one cause of poisoning in children under five and it’s also the leading polluter in US households.

Sadly, it’s also one of the most used chemicals in homes, being a basic ingredient of soapy substances like detergents and liquid dish soap (quick trivia: liquid dish soap is the leading cause of accidental poisoning in children below six, followed by bleach and medicines).

Now bleach can be quite dangerous if ingested by a child, but a new study published in Occupational & Environmental Medicine suggests that even just “passive exposure” to the chemical in the home is associated with a higher chance of childhood respiratory illness and other infections.

The researchers examined over 9,000 children between the ages of 6 and 12 throughout 19 schools in the Netherlands, 17 schools in Finland, and 18 schools in Barcelona, Spain. They measured their levels of exposure to bleach, then attempted to test the negative impact it had on their health.

Researchers found that the frequency of infections among children was linked to higher amounts of bleach used by parents at home—and the differences were quite evident when it came to the flu, tonsillitis, and other infections (the risk of flu was 20 percent higher in bleach households, and the risk of recurrent tonsillitis 35 percent higher in bleach households). The risk of any other infection happening again was 18 percent higher among the children exposed to bleach.

Recent studies have also linked ADHD and worsening of ADHD symptoms to environmental toxins. Certain toxic chemicals present in common household products used at home by each one of you on day-to-day basis are identified as the major part of environmental toxic exposure at home.

Children are at risk!

It’s especially disturbing that often, the victims aren’t us adults, but children in our homes who, unaware of the danger, crawl, lie, eat, and put their hands on the very surfaces that we use these products onto!

Due to their smaller body mass, and since children have higher metabolic rates than adults and are different from adults in how their bodies absorb, detoxify and excrete toxicants, what may be an “unnoticed” dose of toxins for an adult may be a lethal dose for a small child.

Children can be sensitive to the chemicals in everyday cleaning products, especially if they have allergies or asthma. Because children spend 80% to 90% of their time indoors, cleaning products can pose health risks for them.

Household cleaners with harsh ingredients don't only kill germs and get out tough stains, they can affect your children's health in a number of ways.

  • Poisoning Every year, more than a million kids under age 5 swallow poisons like household cleaners, sometimes with devastating effects.

  • Airway irritation Powerful fumes from household cleaners can irritate your baby's airways, making allergy or asthma symptoms worse. Some cleaning chemicals in schools have been linked with higher rates of asthma.

  • Eye irritation Household cleaner fumes can also irritate your baby's eyes, causing redness and watering. If splashed directly into the eyes, some cleaners can cause serious damage.

  • Allergies Some researchers believe that having a home that's too clean can increase the long-term risk of allergies in a child. It's called the hygiene hypothesis. Without some exposure to germs, a child's immune system might not develop normally. Instead, it becomes hypersensitive and begins to overreact to harmless allergens, like pollen or dander.

  • Unknown health effects Some household cleaners have fragrances that contain chemicals like phthalates. While we don't know what their health effects are for sure, some studies have found a possible connection between phthalates and disrupted hormone levels.

  • Eczema A baby's skin is sensitive, and studies have found that irritants and allergens in household cleaners and detergents can cause skin irritation.

Household cleaning products can add to indoor air pollution in many ways:

  • They send toxins out into the air when they are used.

  • Residue can be left on indoor surfaces (like the floors and tables).

  • They gradually send toxins out into the home when they're stored.

With all these facts, it's important to take a hard look at the cleaning products you currently use and decide if their effectiveness is worth the potential health risk to you and your family, especially to your kids.

The good news in all of this is that you are here and are looking for a way to make your home healthier and safer for your kids.

There are many great natural options out there that can do the job without the harmful effects on you and your families health. So what are you waiting for?

If you are ready to make a switch, I strongly recommend Shaklee's Get Clean Starter Kit. Why? Well, these cleaners are:

- Natural - Nontoxic - Have no harmful fumes or chemicals - Super concentrated - Affordable - Outperforms 20 leading brands

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