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Household products include cleaning agents, personal care products, hobby materials and maintenance products.  Exposure from these products comes from skin contact, ingestion or inhalation.  Over 75,000 chemicals are used in household cleaning products alone, and only a fraction has been tested for human health concern.   Some agents release the chemicals into the air right away and others release it slowly over time.  Many cleaning agents as well as disinfectants, cosmetics, degreasers, hobby products, paints, varnishes and waxes contain VOCs (volatile organic compounds) of which are in the air for long periods after the products are no longer in use.

A new topic under discussion is scented candles, as they can emit lead from the wick and become airbourne.  In addition, frequent candle burning is one cause of black soot deposition, a byproduct of the incomplete combustion of carbon-containing fuels, and soot emissions are significantly higher from scented candles than non-scented ones. This black soot deposition acts much like diesel soot in its chemical and physical properties and therefore in its toxicity.  The size of the particle emitted (<1 micrometer) allows for deep penetration of the respiratory system.  Gel candles can be very toxic to children because they contain plasticizers and phthalates. Residence time of emissions can continue for up to 10 hours after extinguishing a candle. Candles are becoming such a concern because there are no standards to govern candles and candle soot.

  • Short term effects can be dizziness, nausea, shortness of breath, allergic reaction, eye and skin irritation
  • Long term effects may include multi-chemical sensitivity and cancer
  • Excessive inhalation of some model glues can be fatal
  • Air fresheners may contain chemicals that can irritate and burn skin, and can affect your natural sense of smell making it harder to detect other air quality problems such as mould
  • Cleaners containing phosphates can be very harmful if swallowed
  • Long term exposure to rug and upholstery cleaners can lead to anemia and liver damage
  • Inhalation from spot removers may lead to damage to the central nervous system
  • Particles inhaled from aerosol cans can cause short term effects but can also cause liver damage in the long term
  • Hobby materials such as clay, stone, paper mache and wood can send particulate matter airborne and affect those the suffer from pre-existing respiratory conditions
  • Methylene chloride found in paint strippers, adhesive removers and aerosol spray paints is converted to carbon monoxide in the body and is known to cause cancer and mimic symptoms of carbon monoxide exposure
  • Possible impacts of frequent candle burning can be increased risk of cancer, neurological and behavioral deficits and acute aggravation of existing respiratory diseases such as asthma
  • Avoid using hazardous products- try to use phosphate free cleaning products or use non-toxic alternatives instead
  • Use steam cleaning rather than chemical cleaning for carpets / upholstery
  • If these hazardous products are needed, always follow manufacturers instructions when using
  • Only buy as much as is needed at the time and do not keep leftover product in a living area of your home (try shed or garage)
  • Never keep toxic products around the furnace; the chemicals will seep out of sealed containers and be carried throughout the home through the ventilation system
  • When using these products, use them in a very well ventilated area and wear a mask for protection against particulate matter and chemicals
  • Be careful where you are performing your hobbies; make sure it is very well ventilated, as the adhesives are especially noxious
  • When using personal care products, keep bathroom fan on and opt for non scented products
  • Don’t burn scented candles, especially when pregnant or use 100% beeswax candles.
To learn more about natural alternatives for household products, call Home Heroes today!
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