Household cleaning products have been linked to all sorts of health risks such as cancer risk and a Boston University study just added another one: breast cancer. The study, published in the journal Environmental Health, found that women who reported heavy use of household cleaning products and air fresheners were more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer.
Critics point out that the study remains inconclusive, and members of the scientific community and industry experts have suggested the strong influence of recall bias on the findings. However, it still serves as a reminder that the products we use each day could have dangerous consequences.
Both air fresheners and household cleaners can contain substances
that are either known mammary gland carcinogens in animals or known endocrine disruptors that affect the hormone estrogen, the study’s authors pointed out. Although such chemicals tend to be present in minute doses, they may build up in our bodies over time.
Scientists have long warned against ingredients like phthalates, alkylphenolic surfactants and terpenes, yet the Environmental Health study notes that most household products also include “chemicals whose mechanisms of action are not understood.” The recent scandal over the chemical BPA provides a great example of a substance that managed to get into everything, from the lining of soup cans to baby bottles, before its toxic potential was discovered.
The jury may still out on household cleaning products and air fresheners as human carcinogens, but one thing’s for sure: women, as primary homemakers, undergo the most exposure.
Protect your family by choosing non-toxic cleaning products. Savvy shoppers should look beyond product claims, and to always read the label. Vague statements like ‘natural’ or ‘earth-friendly’ can be marketing ploys. Always check the ingredients list on products; if a manufacturer doesn’t disclose the full list of ingredients, see if you can at least obtain an MSDS report to determine potential health and safety risks.
A simple vinegar mixture can tackle all but the toughest messes
Perhaps the cheapest solution comes straight from your pantry: a simple vinegar mixture can tackle all but the toughest messes. For those who aren’t up for the hassle of making homemade cleaners, consider safe and effective enzyme-based cleaners that are now available, or the ionator HOM, an innovative and totally non-toxic day-to-day cleaning and sanitizing appliance. Banish toxic products from your home, and create a happy, healthy, and safe environment for you and your family.