Warning: Green Jihad alert 🙂 But perhaps you should hear it out, for the sake of your health!
As G gets more mobile, I’ve been researching how to make my own cleaning products. I’ve seen too many articles on how bad the harsh chemicals in most store-bought products are (yes, even the “green” ones at Target). I’ve always known that once G is crawling around, drinking bath water, etc. that things should be clean. But I never realized that the very same cleaning agents keeping away harmful bacteria (read: Claire feces) could also be hurting him! Bleach residue, for example, is HIGHLY toxic, especially for young kids. Almost all cleaning products also contain ethylene-based glycol, which is classified by the EPA as a hazardous air pollutant.
Cleaning products are one of the reasons indoor pollution is starting to exceed the outdoor! From Web MD: But the truth is, the air inside homes, offices, and other buildings can be more polluted than the air outside. The air inside your home may be polluted by lead (in house dust), formaldehyde, fire-retardants, radon, even volatile chemicals from fragrances used in conventional cleaners. Some pollutants are tracked into the home. Some arrive via a new mattress or furniture, carpet cleaners, or a coat of paint on the walls.
Radon, a known carcinogen, is responsible for 20,000 lung cancer deaths/year. According to the EPA, based on a national residential radon survey completed in 1991, the average indoor radon level is about 1.3 picocuries per liter (pCi/L) in air in the United States. The average outdoor level is about 0.4 pCi/L. Apparently, houses act as a vacuum, drawing radon in from the foundation and soil around it. Radon is also released into the air from the water when one showers. I can’t let myself be terribly worried about this, simply because we don’t OWN our residence. All we can do is make sure we ventilate our rooms with plenty of fresh air.
Until we own a home, there’s nothing I can do about the fact that most paint is bad for a baby’s room (the only kind that ISN’T has to be specially ordered online. Just because the “paint” smell is gone doesn’t mean the fumes are!). If I’m gonna have to repaint it when we move out in a couple months, I’m NOT spending $45/gallon on non-toxic wall paint. We’ll just have to make sure G’s room is well-ventilated.
But there are things we can do to reduce our indoor air pollution (North Americans spend 69-90% of their time indoors). It’s one of the reasons why I’ve always tried to have lots of indoor plants. It’s also one of the reasons I’m so thrilled about trying to find a place with wood floors– I simply don’t have the money for a fancy steam clean vacuum. Wood floors are extremely easy to keep clean, and the only rugs I’ll buy will be 100% machine washable (who in their right mind would buy an expensive rug when they are planning on lots of kids? Have you seen that Modern Family episode?). I’m also going to institute a “no-shoes” policy at our next place. I don’t want my sons hands and face in a pile of e-coli bacteria.
That’s why I’ve decided to figure out how to make my own cleaning supplies. Most involve pretty cheap ingredients, such as white vinegar and baking soda. I have no idea how they work yet, especially when it comes to disinfecting a bathroom. You may not believe this, but the first time I cleaned a bathroom was when I lived in Stewart Hall at Biola!! You could say I was spoiled, and I definitely was when it came to not having to do chores, but I just happen to have a really selfless Momma 🙂
Anybody got any tried and true recipes/concoctions they want to share? Please!
Toxic Baby Products
Chemicals in Cosmetics
Greenwashing- A True Story