Poisons Under Your Sink: Hidden Dangers of Cleaning Products
Poison and Cleaning Products
The American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC) has recorded many exposures to household cleaning substances that were serious enough to require treatment in a health care facility. Incredibly, according to the AAPCC the largest number of occurrences of poisoning in 1993 were due to cleaning products: drain cleaners, toilet bowl cleaners, bleach, soaps and detergents.
One Million poisonings in Canada each year are due to household cleaner ingestion. Some are fatal. Thousands of children and adults are permanently disfigured or injured through contact with chemicals in the home each year.
Our pets are also at risk. Animals that don't have access to clean, fresh water are more likely to drink out of puddles, gutters, toilet bowls, or any old container left sitting around with a liquid in it. Even though my cats always have access to clean water in a bowl, they seem to prefer the toilet, the sink, the bathtub, or even a basin with cleaning solution in it.
Here is an alphabetical list of some of the most hazardous cleansers found around the house:
AIR FRESHENERS: interfere with your ability to smell by releasing nerve-deadening agents or coating nasal passages with an oil film, usually methoxychlor, a pesticide that accumulates in fat cells. Known toxic chemicals found in an air freshener are formaldehyde, a highly toxic, known carcinogen, and phenol. When phenol touches your skin it can cause it to swell, burn, peel, and break out in hives.
AMMONIA: is a very volatile chemical and is very damaging to your eyes, respiratory tract and skin.
ANTIBACTERIAL CLEANERS: may contain triclosan, which is absorbed through the skin and can be tied to liver damage.
BLEACH: is a strong corrosive. It will irritate or burn the skin, eyes and respiratory tract. It may cause pulmonary edema or vomiting and coma if ingested. Never mix bleach with acid toilet bowl cleaners or ammonia. These mixtures may produce fumes which can be DEADLY.
CARPET AND UPHOLSTERY SHAMPOO: Most formulas are designed to over power the stain itself; they accomplish the task but not without using highly toxic substances. Some include perchlorethylene, a known carcinogen that damages liver, kidney and nervous system damage; and ammonium hydroxide, a corrosive, extremely irritable to eyes, skin and respiratory passages.