(AscendHealthy.com) – Last year, the manager of a Massachusetts Buffalo Wild Wings died in the process of evacuating the restaurant after an employee mixed two chemicals while cleaning the kitchen floor. The cause? Two incompatible cleaning agents were erroneously mixed together, causing a volatile, toxic, caustic chemical reaction. The manager, in an attempt to be sure that everyone else evacuated, did not remove himself to fresh air in time.
While cleaning chemicals won’t kill you if you use them properly, this incident serves as a cautionary tale. Cleaning agents are chemicals, and there are consequences to using them. If you use too much, the wrong kind, the wrong combinations, do not ventilate properly or have a sensitivity to certain chemicals, cleaning could make you sick or worse.
How Many Common Toxic Cleaners Are in Your Home?
How Cleaners Make You Sick
Many cleaners contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that can cause respiratory illnesses. What’s more, one study showed that people who use bleach and disinfectants once a week are at an increased risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
When used properly, most chemicals are safe. However, you can inhale or absorb chemicals through your skin while you’re cleaning. If these chemicals reach unsafe levels in your body, or if you are sensitive to them, you can become ill. Repeated exposure can do just as much harm as not diluting products properly, not ventilating or taking any other precautions to protect yourself.
7 Toxic Household Cleaners
Ammonia, bleach, disinfectants, degreasers and fragrances all can contain toxic substances. Some of the products to watch out for are:
- Aerosol cleaners
- Air fresheners
- Chlorine bleach
- Dishwashing liquid
- Carpet cleaners
- Floor polish
- Oven cleaners
To determine if your products are toxic, watch out for these harmful chemicals in the ingredient list: phthalates, perchloroethylene, triclosan, ammonium compounds, butoxyethanol, ammonia, chlorine and sodium hydroxide.
How to Protect Yourself
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) sets forth several guidelines for protecting yourself while working with cleaning chemicals. In addition to using green cleaners that have been certified by an independent organization as safe, you should take the following precautions when using these or any other cleaners:
- Wear protective clothing, gloves, safety goggles and a respirator mask, if necessary.
- Ensure that there is adequate ventilation.
- Read all warning labels for each product you’re using.
- Do not mix cleaning agents unless expressly instructed to do so in the directions.
Never let down your guard around cleaning agents. Always take steps to protect yourself and use cleaners in a safe way. If you have any doubts as to the safety or warnings associated with a particular product, do research before using it. Do not assume that a cleaner is safe because it’s legally sold. Even legal products can make you sick.
~Here’s to Your Healthy Ascension!
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