In 2018 alone, the Poison Control Center received over 50,000 calls regarding human exposure 47 percent of which were children age six and younger. In addition, during the same year, 53 percent of the exposures to children fewer than five years old was due to personal care products and household cleaning substances. Adults are not as much at risk, however, still 18 percent of exposures to adults over the age of 20 was due to household cleaning substances (Children’s Hospital, 2019). Though these statistics are startling, there are ways exposures can be reduced significantly. Households should consider the benefits and risks associated with the type of cleaning products they use. Going “Green” will keep members of the household and the planet healthier, keep children safer, and, beyond popular belief, save money, and be an excellent essay writer.
Dangers to Skin
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Believe it or not, humans walk around with their largest and most vulnerable organ out in the open every day – the skin. In fact, it is said that rubbing a garlic clove under the toe can be tasted in the mouth surprisingly quickly. This example of how the skin works begs the question: How does the skin protect us from bacteria and chemicals daily? Surprisingly, much of this effort begins right at home or work where adults and children spend much of their time. Standard household cleaning products will boast “kills 99 percent of bacteria;” however, antibacterial products also kill good bacteria which are needed to build the human immune system as well as assist in balances within ecosystems that surround humans. In addition to killing good bacteria, standard household cleaning products without ingredient regulations contain chemicals such as Triclosan, Phosphates, and even Methylisothiazolinone – a common ingredient in cleaning products marketed as “green” – are all harmful to humans and marine life. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warns consumers of products containing Triclosan that have caused cancer, developmental defects, hormone disruptions and liver toxicity in laboratory studies even though this agency does not regulate cleaning products. Additionally, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) can regulate federal government agency use of certain ingredients in cleaning products (EPA, 2018), and states such as California, Oregon, and Michigan have made great strides in regulating the contents of consumer products on a state level. However, using environmentally friendly cleaning products, particularly those that can be made at home, is a good start to protecting members of households and the planet.
Green Cleaning: Creating a Cleaner, Greener World
A tidy home is an extension of the homeowner, more importantly, the substances used also demonstrate the homeowners’ care and consideration for the environment. Many times, sadly, the chemical compositions of harmful products is often left ignored and unnoticed, since only its cleaning abilities are advertised on the market. Therefore, due to this willful, or forced negligence, many people will clean, scrub, and fumigate their homes and surrounding areas of land; without, thinking about the toxicity that he/she is being exposed too, except in later years. Furthermore, and most importantly, he/she is, unconsciously, poisoning the majority of our planet with harmful elements and chemicals.
Environmental experts state that there are more than 60 harmful substances found within common household cleaning products (Sholl, 2011). Manufacturers, however, claim that there are only small percentages of it in the chemicals, and only prolonged exposure will put a person’s health at risk. Even if human beings will only suffer in the long-term from “prolonged exposure” to these chemicals, the short-term repercussions, that the improper disposal and possible spillage of these products will have on both the land and the sea cannot be ignored.
Meza (2017) also noted that some cleaning products contain a toxic chemical called perchloroethylene, or perc, that causes nausea, fatigue and dizziness if inhaled. Further damage to the human body can occur when the chemical is ingested. However, this chemical has not been banned for use, and is still lurking in the air and water, continually being breathed in unconsciously by both human beings and wildlife.
Duty to Contribute
As both inhabitants, and caretakers of this planet, it is our duty to contribute to the salvation of our lands and sea through the utilization of more environmentally friendly cleaning products. Products that contain more natural ingredients that are easier to decompose and exert fewer health-endangering chemicals should be the norm and not the outlier. In addition, eco-friendly cleaning products are considerably cheaper than other chemicals, as they contain fewer anti-bacterials and the raw materials, that are used, can be sourced from naturally existing and abundant resources, e.g., trees and herbs (Weber, 2019).
Facts are indisputable, and the moral compass of humanity, is shifting towards the use of more environmentally friendly cleaning products to preserve a happy and healthy life not only for their loved ones, but for the earth, itself.