Three years ago when I was first introduced to the wonderful world of Norwex, I had no idea how these antibac* cloths would change my life!! Seriously… clean with JUST WATER and a cloth? At first glimpse, it sounded too good to be true. But three short years later, our nasty cleaners have truly been REPLACED- we now “Norwex our home” with some unbelievably high-quality antibac* microfiber and WATER. It just doesn’t get more SIMPLE or safer than that.
So sometimes we think… what does it matter? Really, if those cleaners are sold at our nearest Target or Walmart, how bad can they be? Today, I saw a read a synopsis of harmful cleaners commonly found in homes across America. Below are just a few of the things Anne Marie Helmenstine covered in the About.com article:
She mentions something that we all intuitively know… many or our common household cleaners contain toxic chemicals, and she also says that they can even degrade over time into something more dangerous. In the article, she talks specifically about some of the most dangerous ones and some ingredients to watch for.
air fresheners – Anne Marie writes that air fresheners may contain several dangerous chemicals, including formaldehyde (which irritates the lungs and mucous membranes and may cause cancer), petroleum distillates (which irritate eyes, skin, & lungs, are flammable, and may even contribute to fatal pulmonary edema in certain individuals. Another ingredient that she mentions may be found in some air fresheners is “p-dichlorobenzene”, a toxic irritant. And of course we understand that the aerosol propellants used in some products are NOT good- they may be flammable and may cause nervous system damage if inhaled.
ammonia – Ammonia is a product that many customers deem “safe” because it’s been around for so many years. Did you know that if ammonia and chlorine bleach are combined, it can produce a deadly chloramine gas? And ammonia can irritate the respiratory system and mucous membranes if breathed in, and can cause a chemical burn if it is spilled on skin.
bleach – We mentioned how dangerous chlorine bleach can be, especially when combined with certain other chemicals like ammonia, toilet bowl cleaners, & drain cleaners. Also, bleach contains sodium hypochlorite, a chemical that can cause irritation and damage to the skin and respiratory system if inhaled or spilled on the skin.
drain cleaners – I’m so glad Anne Marie covered these cleaners in her article … many people simply don’t realize how dangerous they can be! And to think that very often they are found under a sink that it not even locked from children. It is scary! Drain cleaners typically contain lye (sodium hydroxide) or sulfuric acid. Either can cause very serious chemical burns if splashed on the skin, and if splashed in the eyes, could cause blindness. They are, of course, very toxic to drink- we can imagine the extreme damage this could do.
laundry detergent – Who knew that what we wash our clothes with DAILY could actually be harming our health?? According to Anne Marie, laundry detergents contain a variety of chemicals, and in the case it were ingested, cationic agents may cause nausea, vomiting, convulsion, and coma. Non-ionic detergents are irritants. Many people experience chemical sensitivity to dyes and perfumes present in some detergents.
mothballs – Mothballs are either p-dichlorobenzene or naphthalene. Both chemicals are TOXIC and are known to cause headaches, dizziness, and irritation to the eyes, skin, and respiratory system. Prolonged exposure can lead to liver damage and cataract formation.
motor oil – Norwex clearly does not have any alternative for motor oil, but I’m leaving this tidbit in for your own health and knowledge, in case you work with motor oil on a regular basis. Exposure to the hydrocarbons in motor oil can cause cancer. Many people don’t realize that motor oil contains heavy metals, which can damage the nervous system and more!
oven cleaner – Again, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out the typical Oven Cleaner is NOT safe! Anne Marie says that some contain sodium hydroxide or potassium hydroxide, which are extremely corrosive strong bases. These cleaners can be deadly if swallowed, and can cause chemical burns on the skin or in the lungs if the fumes are inhaled.
windshield wiper fluid – I’m leaving this info in because Norwex cloths can be a much better alternative to keeping a clean windshield- inside and out! I had know idea that wiper fluid is toxic if you drink it, plus some of the poisonous chemicals are absorbed through skin, so it is toxic to touch. Anne Marie writes, “Swallowing ethylene glycol can cause brain, heart, and kidney damage, and possibly death. Inhalation can cause dizziness. The methanol in wiper fluid can be absorbed through the skin, inhaled, or ingested. Methanol damages brain, liver, and kidneys and can cause blindness. The isopropyl alcohol acts as a central nervous system depressant, causing drowsiness, unconsciousness, and potentially death.” Yikes!!
So all of this bad news… we need some good alternatives!! This is why the Norwex mission of “radically reducing chemicals in personal care and cleaning” is SO important!
Norwex has developed a fabulous Oven & Grill Cleaner that harnesses the cleaning power of ENZYMES that are tailored toward digesting.