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How Toxic is Your Everyday Cleaning Routine?

  • 2 min read

Don't drink bleach, don't inject it either. How about inhaling it?

In case you missed it, last week the President of the United States recommended injecting disinfectants to deep clean the lungs. Following the strange White House press briefing, urgent warnings were issued by doctors and manufacturers saying disinfectants pose lethal dangers. They should be used with extreme care and only as advised. 

Many manufacturers of these lethal disinfectants confirmed that their products are "not for human consumption in any way". Reckitt Benckiser, the manufacturer of Lysol, Dettol and Vanish, issued this urgent statement:

"We must be clear that under no circumstance should our disinfectant products be administered into the human body (through injection, ingestion or any other route)." 

Well, how about constantly breathing them in?

"These products have corrosive properties that melt or destroy the lining of our innards," McGill University thoracic surgeon Dr Jonathan Spicer told the BBC. 

That doesn't sound promising. 

 We can't help but wonder if disinfectants are lethal, it can't be good that we are constantly inhaling them in poorly ventilated spaces. The truth is, in most homes, directions are not read properly, disinfectants are used liberally. They are commonly mixed with other cleaning products and used in poorly ventilated spaces. 

Here is some research-based evidence:

  • A study spanning over 30 years by Harvard University found that using bleach just once a week could increase the risk of developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) by 30%. 

  • The American Lung Association warns that ammonia, bleach, and VOCs in cleaning products can irritate the eyes, throat, and lungs and may lead to chronic respiratory problems, allergic reaction, headaches, and even cancer. 

  • A Norwegian study suggests exposure to cleaning products has the same effect on the lungs as smoking 20 cigarettes a day. 

  • Quaternary ammonium compounds (QUATS) in household cleaning products are known to sensitise the airways. Repeated exposure to QUATS could lead to remodelling of the airways and long term lung decline. 

  • Multiple studies have reported that women cleaning at home or as professional cleaners show accelerated declines in lung function and a higher risk of long-term respiratory and cardiovascular health.

  • Triclosan, a registered pesticide used in antibacterial cleaners, is believed to lower the body's natural immunity. Studies also link the use of Triclosan to child obesity. 

  • Some types of childhood leukaemia and brain tumours have been associated with exposure to pesticides, according to the US National Cancer Institute.  

It seems we have been paying for the extra streak-free shine with our health and that of the planet's. Perhaps its time to ditch the harmful chemicals and opt for toxin-free cleaning. 

At Spruce, we have formulated our products without harsh chemicals. We only use ingredients that are safe for humans and the planet. Our products are formulated without bleach, ammonia, chlorine, VOCs, phosphates, parabens, SLS, triclosan, artificial dyes or synthetic fragrances. If you are ready to make the switch, sign up for our non-toxic cleaning products. We are launching soon. 

Photo by Laura Vinck on Unsplash

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