Chemical in cleaners and air fresheners may be affecting your health


A bleach-clean, lemon-fresh scented home may not always be a good thing.

According to recent research done by the Environmental Working Group, an organization that conducts research on household products to create safer environments for kids through healthier alternatives, many of the chemicals in household cleaners are exposing people to a host of undisclosed, untested and potentially toxic substances, that can result in increased asthma, allergies, lung disease and irritation.

One way to combat these bad circumstances may be as simple as proper ventilation. Tammy Hanks has been working on keeping the air quality of her home purer ever since her son was diagnosed with asthma and shares tips.

Stephanie Hengen, a BYU student, cleans her bathroom with chemicals that pollute the air. (Photo Elliott Miller)

“Open a window,” Hanks said. “It’s the best and easiest way to clear the air in your home and keep it smelling fresh. When I’m cleaning, I’ll open a couple windows, and when I’m done the air feels as clean as my counters.”

Another useful tool she has found for eliminating orders is baking soda.

“Baking soda is great,” Hanks said. “I use it all the time to get rid of bad smells. You can put it in the fridge, sprinkle it on the carpet or make it into a scrub. There’s really nothing that baking soda can’t help with.”

Baking soda, lemon and vinegar have become popular alternatives to standard chemical cleaners. This green cleaning movement attempts to combat the chemicals ingredients in cleaners with natural ones.

Stephanie Hengen has been a janitor at BYU for over a year and said that vinegar is a popular product carried by the custodial staff.

“I use vinegar for several things,” Hengen said. “When I’m cleaning desks and windows, It works great. I especially like using it to clean windows because it works better than the glass cleaner we have.”

Hengen’s one complaint about using vinegar as a cleaner is the strong smell.

“I don’t like the way vinegar smells,” Hengen said. “It’s really bad and lasts a while. I don’t use it in my apartment because I don’t want my apartment smelling like vinegar.”

Visit the EWG’s official site to become educated on the ingredients in cleaners and air fresheners as well as safer, natural alternatives.

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