Tag Archives: Health Risks of Chemicals

Reasons to Support a Ban on Bottled Water

bottles-60479_1280The consumption of bottled water in the United States has exploded over the past few decades. Statistics show that Americans spend billions of dollars each year to buy it. While drinking more water is something that doctors have long suggested as healthy, commercially bottled water may not be any safer than tap. In fact, recent research suggests that plastic bottled water could be cause for concern.

One: A Bottle Issue?

One of the chief reasons to worry about the escalating usage of bottled water is actually the plastic bottle. After the water is bottled, it often sits for months in warehouses and storerooms until it is moved to the shelves of the grocery store or put into the vending machine. Many of these plastic bottles contain chemicals, such a phthalates and Bisphenol A (BPA), that have now been linked to some types of cancer, hormonal and developmental abnormalities and other serious health conditions. The longer the water is stored, the greater the risk that these chemicals will leach into the water stored inside.

Two: Bottled Spring Water or Bottled Tap Water?

Thanks to massive ad campaigns, bottled water is often perceived to be a healthier, safer alternative than common tap water. Unfortunately, if you read the fine print on the labels of many of the leading brands, you will find that it is often sourced from “public water sources“, otherwise known as tap water. Public water supplies must undergo regular testing to ensure the safety of the water, even though the bottled water companies do not tell you this.

Three: What Does Everyone Else Know?

The United States is the leading consumer of bottled water, but that doesn’t keep it from lagging behind many other countries who have already taken a hard look at bottled water and decided to do something about it.

Many countries, including France and Canada, have now banned or are in the process of banning BPA from being used in the production of some food-related containers, such as drinking bottles, and some, are actively working on legislation to ban bottled water altogether. In the United States, some municipalities and college campuses have taken up the fight, but as of yet, no national legislation has even been proposed.

Four: It Starts With You

Mopfrog of Brooklyn offers some eco-friendly advice:

  • Ridding the food supply of dangerous chemicals is a task that must begin on a personal level. The first step is to stop supporting the bottled water industry. Re-introduce your family to the convenience and savings associated with choosing tap water, instead of bottled.
  • Outfit each member of the family with an attractive, personalized stainless steel-lined water bottle of their own and help them enjoy learning to use it, instead of grabbing a bottle from a vending machine. If taste is an issue, opt to install an inexpensive filter on the kitchen tap. In addition, consider using the amount of money typically spent on bottled water to save toward a fun family outing as an extra incentive to encourage children to participate.
  • Once you have weaned your family from bottled water, speak with others and encourage them to do the same. Talk to your boss, school administrators and city groups about your concerns and let your senators and congressmen and women know about the risks associated with bottled water.
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How Safe Are Your Cleaning Products?

green-cleaning-spray-bottlesMany popular mass-marketed cleaning products use persuasive language that promises consumers a more sanitary, more healthful home by choosing their product. While it may be true that their chemical composition will kill germs and bacteria, the potentially harmful effects of exposure to these chemicals may not be mentioned. In addition, many of these harmful chemicals have unfamiliar, hard to pronounce names that consumers may not recognize when reading the ingredient list.

The Who, What and Where of Potentially Harmful Cleaning Ingredients

This list focuses on helping consumers become more familiar with the chemical names of these harmful substances, as well as understand what problems they can cause and what type of cleaning product may contain them.

Ammonia (Azane)

This chemical has been used for cleaning for generations. Mass-produced and cheap, ammonia is found in many major brands of kitchen and glass cleaners, paint strippers, polishes, fertilizers, pesticides and adhesive removers.

The bad news is that ammonia is now known to irritate the respiratory tract, eyes and skin of those that are exposed to its fumes. To avoid the dangers of ammonia, consumers can opt to use the household staple, white vinegar, as an extremely effective substitute.

Bleach (Sodium Hypochlorite)

Similar to ammonia, bleach has been a household staple for decades. Bleach is found as a stand-alone product, as well as an ingredient in many detergents and laundry aids, automatic dishwashing products and disinfectant cleaners.

Bleach can cause severe skin and eye irritation, as well as respirator problems. More importantly, if accidentally mixed with other cleaning solutions, such as ammonia, it can emit poisonous gasses that are potentially fatal.

Today, households should banish bleach and replace with effective, natural solutions. Due to their antimicrobial properties, distilled white vinegar and hydrogen peroxide are both great substitutes for sanitizing. Hydrogen is also an effective whitener and can brighten your whites. Similarly, lemon juice can also provide a natural option for brightening laundry and removing stubborn stains.

Glycol Ethers (Ethylene Glycol Mon-Butyl Ether, EGBE, or 2_Butoxyethanol)

Many of the air freshening spray and mist products available today contain some form of glycol ethers, as well as popular glass cleaners, oven cleaners and spot removal products. Exposure to glycol ethers is now thought to cause serious health issues, like liver and kidney damage, as well as symptoms such as lethargy, nausea and fatigue.

Consumers may want to consider replacing any products that contain any form of glycol ethers with safe, natural and effective choices, such as white vinegar combined with essential oils to combat those tough cleaning jobs.

Lye (Sodium Hydroxide)

A common ingredient in household soaps, solvents, floor strippers, drain cleaners, oven cleaners and polishes, sodium hydroxide can actually cause poisoning when absorbed through the skin, inhaled or ingested. Additionally, the fumes from this chemical can irritate the eyes, respiratory tract and skin, when it is used without proper ventilation or protective clothing.

Consumers who want to avoid the dangers of exposure to sodium hydroxide can choose safe, natural alternatives such as vinegar, salt, lemon juice and baking soda to effectively clean and freshen drains, clean greasy ovens and even polish metals.

Opting For Health

These are just a few of the many chemicals commonly used in cleaning products sold today, as well as those used by the conventional cleaning industry. Consumers can lessen their risk to these and other chemicals by choosing natural cleaning agents and methods for their own homes, and by choosing professional cleaning services, like Mopfrog of South Milwaukee, who also embrace natural, more healthful cleaning options.

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A 3-Pronged Approach to Help Protect Your Body From Toxins

Safe food, clean air and access to extensive supplies of food and potable water are more readily available in America than many other countries around the globe. Even though this is true, there are still many Americans dealing with serious health issues caused by exposure to toxins, many of which are found in products we believe to be safe for us to use or consume.

Three Most Common Ways in Which Toxins Enter the Body

In order for any substance to influence the health of the human body, it must first get inside where it can attack the systems and organs of the body. The three basic ways in which this usually occurs are ingestion, inhalation, and absorption

Ingestion

While most people would never consider drinking or eating anything that bears a label proclaiming it to be toxic, many of us may be unknowingly exposed to toxins each day by the food, beverages and medications we ingest. In many cases, we may even think we are making the healthiest possible choices.

One example of a toxin that we commonly ingest is BPA (Bisphenol A). This chemical has been used in plastics and resins over the past several decades to harden them and make them more durable. Commonly found in beverage containers, baby bottles, food storage containers and even as a dental coating for teeth, BPA deteriorates over time and is now viewed as a possible cause of cancer, insulin resistance, reproductive issues and many other serious health problems.

BPA usage is so widespread that it would be nearly impossible to completely remove it from our daily life. However, there are some ways in which you can help limit your exposure. These include:

  • Choosing glass bottles, dishes and containers for food storage, re-heating and table use
  • Avoiding cookware and utensils with non-stick coatings
  • Avoiding protective coatings and sealants offered by your dentist
  • Choosing fresh, unpackaged fruits and vegetables instead of those in metal cans or plastic containers

Woman Cleaning Counter

Inhalation

Inhaling toxic chemicals happens frequently in the home environment. Oven cleaners, bleach, paint and even room deodorizers release chemicals during their use. This is particularly dangerous when they are used with little or no ventilation and recirculated by the heating and cooling system.

The best way to limit exposure to toxic chemicals that might be inhaled is to stop using chemical cleaners and choose non-toxic, natural cleaners instead. The following list of safe cleaning ingredients will clean your home thoroughly, leave it fresh smelling and give off no toxic chemicals for your family and pets to inhale.

  • Lemon juice – a natural whitener, degreaser and air freshener
  • Kosher salt – a natural scrubbing agent
  • White vinegar – a natural disinfectant, sanitizer, degreaser and fabric softener
  • Baking soda – a natural scrubbing paste, freshener, drain and oven cleaner
  • Citrus oil – a natural wood polish and deodorizer
  • Tea tree oil – a natural disinfectant and sanitizer
  • Hydrogen peroxide – a natural disinfectant, sanitizer and stain remover

Absorption

The skin is the largest human organ, with every square inch capable of bringing toxins into the body. Whenever we splash gasoline on our hands at the gas pumps, immerse our hands in bleach water while cleaning or apply chemical laden soaps, lotions, creams, tanning agents and dyes, we are allowing our skin to absorb toxins.

Avoid absorbing toxins into the body by wearing gloves when handling toxic materials and choosing natural, non-toxic cleaners, soaps and cosmetics. Your body will thank you for it!

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