Household Cleaners May Be Linked to Childhood Obesity by Altering Gut Bacteria: Canadian Medical Association Journal New Study
Naturopathic Nuggets about Natural Cleaning
- Natural Cleaning Products have become a critical necessity to protect your family’s health, as growing evidence shows toxicity with detrimental health effects from chemical products.
- Many household cleaning products release dangerous compounds called VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) into the air. They also contain hidden toxic chemicals that aren’t labelled, and are linked to infertility, birth defects, weight gain, diabetes, cancer, asthma & allergies.
- A recent study revealed that the highest VOCs per use are released from air freshener sprays & cleaning wipes, while the lowest VOCs were from air freshener plug-ins & body wash.
- Household chemicals keep their potency in nature, causing potentially lethal health effects to exposed organisms, including fish.
- Other environmental consequences from household cleaners include accumulation of plastic packaging, non-sustainability of petroleum based chemicals and phosphates that indirectly kill fish.
- Eco-friendly natural cleaning options include homemade or store bought, although both are as powerful as chemical cleaners, if not less expensive.
- The Environmental Working Group top natural cleaning products with “A” ratings are listed within.
- Household products that should be completely avoided due to their inherent toxicity include air fresheners, antibacterial products, fabric softeners & dryer sheets and oven & drain cleaners.
- Natural cleaning is easy, cheap & powerful. Nature’s arsenal for natural cleaning includes apple cider vinegar, lemon, baking soda & water. These ingredients in various combinations formulate many safe & cheap cleaning alternatives.
- Natural fibre cloths make even natural solutions unnecessary as they easily remove dust, dirt & grease without chemicals.
Natural Cleaning has become a critical necessity to protect your family’s health. Growing evidence shows toxicity with detrimental health effects from chemical products. Most of us have grown up using these hazardous products to sterilize our homes, not realizing that we are destroying our health and environment in the process. In fact, chemical cleaning products contain hidden toxic chemicals, which aren’t labelled due to lack of regulations. These dangerous substances are linked to infertility, birth defects, cancer, asthma & allergies.
Chemical Cleaning Spreads Toxicity
How Household Cleaners Affect Your Health
Many common cleaning products release toxic fumes called Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). Even small amounts of VOCs are dangerous to inhale. As your exposure builds up, the VOCs can cause headaches, nausea, eye, nose, throat irritation and even liver, kidney & nervous system damage.
Dangerous VOCs Are Damaging Your Family’s Health
VOCs & Allergies
Studies have shown that certain VOCs have been linked to the Allergies & Asthma (Wolkoff, Wilkins, Clausen, & Nielsen, 2006) and even Sick Building Syndrome, wherein occupants become ill from sources of mold &/ VOCs within the building (Joshi, 2008)(Sahlberg et al., 2013).
VOCs Linked To Allergic Conditions
Household Cleaners Cause Weight Gain
A recent study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) found that household cleaners (VOCs source) have become suspect in childhood obesity through altering gut bacteria (Tun et al., 2018).
Toxic VOCs Promote Obesity
Gut Bacteria & Health
Gut bacteria has been thoroughly researched to support all aspects of health from digestion, gut health, immunity & autoimmunity, inflammation, mental health & brain function to weight control, cravings, heart disease and diabetes prevention.
Gut Bacteria Affect Your Family’s Health
Household Products Containing VOCs
VOCs can be found in many household products including:
- Aerosol Sprays
- Cleansers & Disinfectants
- Copiers & Printers
- Cosmetics & Makeup
- Dry-Cleaned Clothing
- Glues, Adhesives, Permanent Markers
- Hobby Supplies
- Moth Repellents & Air Fresheners
- Paints, Paint Strippers And Other Solvents
- Stored Fuels & Automotive Products
- Wood Preservatives
Your House is Full of Products Releasing VOCs
Ode, a company that creates environmentally-conscious cleaning products tested the VOCs released by common brands of air fresheners, cleaning sprays, wipes and soaps.
Your House is Full of Products Releasing VOCs
VOCs Vary Amongst Household Products
According to this data, on average, air freshener sprays and cleaning wipes emit the most VOCs per use. Meanwhile, air freshener plug-ins and body wash release the fewest VOCs per use. Indoor levels of VOCs were found to be 2-5X higher than outdoors.
Highest VOCs: Air Fresheners & Cleaning Wipes
The Toxicity of Household Cleaning Products
Other dangerous chemicals are found in household cleaning products including:
- 1,4-Dioxane: Carcinogen, Detergents
- 2-Butoxyethanol (2-BE, BCEE, or Butyl cellosolve): Eye, Skin, Laundry Stain Removers, Oven Cleaners & Degreasers, Canadian EPA toxic list
- Ammonia: Lung & Skin
- Antibacterials (Triclosan): Hormone Disruption, Antibiotic Resistance, Banned in Soaps but still in Cleaners
- Chlorine Bleach: Lungs, Brain, Cancer, Do not mix with Ammonia or Apple Cider Vinegar
- Diethylene Glycol Monomethyl Ether (also DEGME or Methoxydiglycol): Fertility Issues, Solvent, Degreasers, Heavy Duty Cleaners, Banned in EU Cleaners
- Formaldehyde: Carcinogen, Preservative
- Fragrance: Hormone Disruption, Asthma, Allergies, Code for Hundreds of Unregulated Chemicals including Phthalates
- Perchloroethylene (PERC): Carcinogen, Neurotoxin, Spot Removers, Dry Cleaning, Upholstery Cleaners
- Quaternary Ammonium Compounds (QUATs): Asthma, Fabric Softeners, Spray Cleaners
Cleaning Products Contain Many Dangerous Chemicals
Household Chemicals Destroy Nature
Environmental damage is a big concern with household chemicals. A team of U.S. Geological Survey scientists published their findings in Environmental Science and Technology. The disturbing results showed that many contaminants hardly decreased in concentration and flowed miles away from the source. These substances include detergent degradation products, personal care products, pharmaceuticals, steroidal hormones, pesticides, and other compounds, Importantly, some of these contaminants were found at concentrations that are known, or suspected, to cause sublethal health effects to exposed organisms, including hormonal disruption in fish (Barber et al., 2013).
Chemicals Are Lethal to Nature
Environmental Consequences of Household Cleaners
Other environmental issues include Phosphates in detergents & cleaners that spawn overgrowth of algae, killing off fish; Plastic packaging of cleaning products; Petroleum based chemicals that are not sustainable.
Household Cleaners Damage Our Environment
The Deception of Natural Cleaning Products
Natural cleaning products provide safe, non-toxic, biodegradable ingredients that are naturally-derived & eco-friendly so they won’t harm the environment or your family. The issue with store bought eco-cleaners are the lack of regulation. Companies are not required to list their ingredients so hidden chemicals may be present, despite the “natural” or “organic” claims. Also, many of you may think the natural products do not work as well as their chemical counterparts. This is not the case and it just takes some knowledge of what to use when.
“Organic” & “Natural” Still Contains Hidden Chemicals
Store Bought or Homemade?
There are two options when it comes to natural cleaning; store-bought or homemade. The Environmental Working Group investigated more than 2,000 cleaning supplies on the North American market.
Eco-Friendly Cleaning Can Be Made or Bought
Store Bought Natural Cleaning Products
Here are the Top Natural Cleaning Products per the EWG’s “A” Ratings:
All Purpose Cleaners
Lion Bear Naked Soap Co. Nuttin But Suds, Unscented
Heinz Vinegar Distilled White Vinegar
Whole Foods Market All Purpose Concentrated Cleaner, Pine
Whole Foods Market Green MISSION Organic All-Purpose Spray Cleaner & Degreaser, Lemon Zest
Aussan Natural Nursery All-Purpose Cleaner
Whole Foods Market Glass Cleaner, Unscented
Whole Foods Market Green MISSION Surface Cleaning Wipes, Minty Fresh
The following products should be AVOIDED due to their inherent unavoidable toxicity:
Air Fresheners: mixtures not labeled can cause allergies & asthma
Antibacterial Products: may cause Drug-Resistant Superbugs
Fabric Softeners/Dryer Sheets: may cause allergies & asthma, irritating the lungs
Oven Cleaners/Drain Cleaners: TOXIC burning eyes & skin AVOID
Homemade Natural Cleaning Products
These ingredients are safe and environmentally friendly. They can be used in many formulations to provide healthy, inexpensive, natural cleaning products for the benefit of your family.
Natural Cleaning is Easy, Cheap & Powerful
Ingredients for Homemade Natural Cleaning Products:
- Removes grease & dirt
- CAUTION Rubbing Alcohol due to safety issues
- Vodka is a great odour remover
- Cleans, Deodorizes, Scouring Agent
- Cleans paintbrushes, oil, grease, some stains
- BEWARE: skin, lung, eye irritation in allergic individuals
- Cleans windows
- Polishes furniture
- Shampoo carpets & rugs
- Disinfectant, deodorizes, prevents rust from setting in
- Disinfectant for bathroom & kitchen
- Bleaching effect to remove stains in grout & fabrics
- BEWARE: skin & lung irritation
- Acidic Disinfectant against household bacteria
- Removes oily stains
- Removes stains
- Whitens fabrics
- Unscented soap in any form is biodegradable
Vegetable Oil (Olive)
- Polishes Wood
Vinegar, Apple Cider
- Cuts grease & grime
- Removes mildew, odours, stains & wax buildup
- Mineral based
- Cuts grease
- Removes stains
- Softens water
- Cleans tiles, sinks, tubs, walls
- BEWARE: may irritate mucous membranes
- AVOID on aluminum
Recipes for Homemade Natural Cleaning Products
Using various combinations of the above ingredients, you can make almost any cleaner that rivals toxic household cleaners. Below are recipes to provide a safe, cheap alternative to protect your family & your wallet. One thing to note that if you buy natural fibre cloths, many solutions are unnecessary as they lift off dust, dirt & grease without any chemicals!
Nature’s Arsenal: Vinegar, Lemon, Baking Soda & Water
½ cup Apple Cider Vinegar + ¼ c Baking Soda + 8 cups Water
Removes water stains on shower glass, chrome & mirrors.
Baking Soda / Apple Cider Vinegar + Lemon Juice
Coffee Grounds: keep freshly ground beans on counter
Flowers/Herbs: keep dried in rooms
Lemon: grind slices in garbage disposal
Spices: simmer on stove
Apple Cider Vinegar: simmer on stove / wipe odorous items with vinegar then wash
1 cup Baking Soda + 10-20 drops Essential Oils
Sprinkle on carpet, wait 2 hours before vacuuming
Carpet Stain Remover
1 part Apple Cider Vinegar + 1 part Water in Spray bottle
Spray on stain, wait 5 minutes, clean with warm soapy water & scrub brush
NON-GRANITE / MARBLE: All Purpose Cleaner ½ cup Apple Cider Vinegar + ¼ c Baking Soda + 8 cups Water
DISINFECTANT: 100% Apple Cider Vinegar
GRANITE / MARBLE: Soap + Water AVOID Vinegar as acids will damage it
Water + ½ cup Baking Soda
Soak for 2 hours to remove odours & stains, AVOID soaking longer
1 part Baking Soda + 1 part Washing Soda + 1 part Sea Salt
HARD WATER: 1 part Baking Soda + 1 ½ part Washing Soda + 1 part Sea Salt
STORE: Nellie’s Dishwasher Powder
1 part Liquid Soap + 3 parts Water
STRONGER: 1 part Liquid Soap + 3 parts Water + 2-3 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
STORE: Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap
2 tsp Borax + 4 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar + 3 cups Hot Water
STRONGER: ¼ tsp Liquid Castile Soap + 2 tsp Borax + 4 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar + 3 cups Hot Water
SPONGES: Run through dishwasher with dishes
MILD: ½ cup Salt + 16 cups Water, Heat DO NOT BOIL, pour down drain
STRONG: ½ cup Baking Soda + ½ cup Apple Cider Vinegar => CHEMICAL RXN – breaks fat down
Wait 15 minutes, pour boiling water to clear residue
AVOID Boiling Water with plastic plumbing
AVOID Vinegar after Chemical Drain Opener to prevent dangerous fumes
VINYL / LINOLEUM: 5 drops Olive Oil + 1 cup Apple Cider Vinegar + 4 cups Warm Water
WOOD: ¼ cup Apple Cider Vinegar + 8 cups Warm Water, use only barely damp mop, test area 1st
BRICK / STONE: 1 cup Apple Cider Vinegar + 16 cups Water, rinse with plain water
1 part Hydrogen Peroxide (3%) + 2 parts Water
Spray on moldy areas, wait 1 hour before rinsing
100% Apple Cider Vinegar / Lemon Juice, scrub on moldy area, rinse
¾ cup Baking Soda + ¼ cup Salt + ¼ cup Water, makes thick paste
Apply water to oven surfaces, then apply paste everywhere, leave overnight, wipe clean
Use steel wool on tough areas
INTERIOR: All Purpose Cleaner ½ cup Apple Cider Vinegar + ¼ c Baking Soda + 8 cups Water
Also exterior for non-stainless steel materials
EXTERIOR: 100% Apple Cider Vinegar to avoid streaks
100% Baking Soda, apply with damp sponge
Soap + Water / Diluted Apple Cider Vinegar
STUCK ON FOOD: Apply Soap + Hot Water, sprinkle on baking soda, wait 30 mins, wipe clean
100% Apple Cider Vinegar, spray stain before washing
GRASS, SWEAT, FOOD: 1 part Hydrogen Peroxide + 1 part Water, spray stain before washing
Tile & Tub Cleaner
100% Baking Soda, apply with damp sponge, rinse with plain water
TOUGH: Rinse with 100% Apple Cider Vinegar, use Baking Soda to scour then rinse
¼ cup Baking Soda + 1 cup Apple Cider Vinegar, pour into toilet, wait 5 mins, scrub & rinse
2 parts Borax + 1 part Lemon Juice
RUST: 100% Apple Cider Vinegar, spray & wait overnight, brush with Baking Soda to scour
2 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar + 4 cups Warm Water, clean with newspaper / cotton cloth
Only black & white newspaper, not coloured
AVOID windows with sun to prevent streaked drying
AVOID excess vinegar as it can etch & cloud glass
All Purpose Cleaner ½ cup Apple Cider Vinegar + ¼ c Baking Soda + 8 cups Water
Resources for Natural Cleaning
- Chemicals in Household Products: Canadian Partnership for Children’s Health and Environment (CPCHE)
- Cleaning Supplies: Secret Ingredients, Hidden Hazards: Environmental Working Group (EWG)
- Decoding the Labels: Environmental Working Group (EWG)
- Guide to Healthy Cleaning: Environmental Working Group (EWG)
- Household Chemical Safety: Government of Canada
- Safer Choice: United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA)
- Safe Cleaning Products: Women’s Voices for the Earth
- The Dirt on Cleaners: Toxic Ingredients in Cleaning Products: The Health and Environment Awareness Project
Related Household Cleaners May Be Linked to Childhood Obesity by Altering Gut Bacteria: Canadian Medical Association Journal New Study
Barber LB, Keefe SH, Brown GK, Furlong ET, Gray JL, Kolpin DW, Meyer MT, Sandstrom MW, Zaugg SD. Persistence and potential effects of complex organic contaminant mixtures in wastewater-impacted streams. Environmental Science & Technology. 2013 Feb 11;47(5):2177-88.
Joshi SM. The Sick Building Syndrome. Indian Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. 2008 Aug;12(2):61.
Sahlberg B, Gunnbjörnsdottir M, Soon A, Jogi R, Gislason T, Wieslander G, Janson C, Norback D. Airborne molds and bacteria, microbial volatile organic compounds (MVOC), plasticizers and formaldehyde in dwellings in three North European cities in relation to sick building syndrome (SBS). Science of the Total Environment. 2013 Feb 1;444:433-40.
Tun M, Tun H, Mahoney J, Konya T, Guttman D, Becker A et al. Postnatal exposure to household disinfectants, infant gut microbiota and subsequent risk of overweight in children. Canadian Medical Association Journal. 2018;190(37):E1097-E1107.
Volatile Organic Compounds’ Impact on Indoor Air Quality | US EPA [Internet]. US EPA. 2018 [cited 21 September 2018]. Available from: https://www.epa.gov/indoor-air-quality-iaq/volatile-organic-compounds-impact-indoor-air-quality/
Which Cleaning Products Are Polluting Your Home the Most? [Internet]. Ode to Clean. 2018 [cited 21 September 2018]. Available from: https://odetoclean.com/blogs/fresh-air/which-cleaning-products-are-polluting-your-home-the-most/
Wolkoff P, Wilkins C, Clausen P, Nielsen G. Organic compounds in office environments – sensory irritation, odor, measurements and the role of reactive chemistry. Indoor Air. 2006;16(1):7-19.
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This post is for educational purposes only and does not advocate self-diagnosis. Due to individual variability, consultation with a licensed physician is highly recommended, prior to starting a natural treatment plan.
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