Natural Cleaners: Healthier for You and the Planet

Reader Contribution by Ginevra Holtkamp

The staff of Natural Home & Garden and the folks atBon Ami have teamed up to bring fair goers information on why they should choose all-natural cleaners. Did you know an arsenal of conventional furniture polishes, air fresheners, carpet deodorizers and stain removers can contain literally hundreds of chemicals and include dozens of safety warnings?

Consider these reasons to choose all-natural cleaners: 

  • The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency notes that conventional cleaning products make a significant contribution to indoor air pollution. 
  • In one study conducted at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, researchers found that the chemicals in everyday conventional household cleaners can trigger the onset or worsening of asthma. 
  • Conventional floor and furniture polishes include nitrobenzene, a carcinogen and reproductive toxin that can also cause short-term shortness of breath and nausea. 
  • Children with asthma can experience respiratory symptoms in a home newly cleaned with conventional products. At least one study also suggests a possible link between prenatal exposure to low doses of common cleaning chemicals and attention deficit disorder or even autism in children. 
  • Exposure to these everyday products can also affect your heart. Results from the Detroit Exposure and Aerosol Research Study showed that people exposed to pollutants–including conventional household cleaners and air fresheners–experienced a narrowing of blood vessels and an increase in blood pressure. 
  • Conventional glass cleaners often contain ammonia, an eye irritant that can cause headaches and lung irritation. 
  • Conventional disinfectants often harbor phenol and cresol, two petroleum derivatives that can cause dizziness and fainting. 
  • Conventional cleaners often contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs)–toxic chemicals that can remain suspended in the air for days after use. Able to cross the blood-brain barrier and placenta, VOCs can depress the central nervous system; irritate the eyes, nose and throat; and reduce pulmonary function. Long-term exposure can contribute to a variety of cancers. 

The good news is you don’t need to rely on toxic chemicals to clean your home. You can power through household dirt with effective homemade cleaners or nontoxic, natural cleaners such as those from Bon Ami.

And, one lucky winner will receive a year’s supply of Bon Ami cleaners worth more than $200 – dish soap, all-purpose cleaner, liquid and powder cleansers, plus great Bon Ami swag (tote bag, T-shirt and apron. Four first place winners will each receive a cleaning gift pack worth $40!

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