You May Be Cleaning Your House With Pesticides

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Disinfectants are widely used to keep homes germ and virus free. While they provide temporary effectiveness, they are hazardous.


Disinfectants are widely used to keep homes germ and virus free. While they provide temporary effectiveness, they are hazardous.

Most parents are concerned about keeping their homes germ and virus free. The most common way to do this is with a disinfectant. But did you know that most disinfectants are considered pesticides? While they do provide temporary effectiveness against germs, they are very hazardous especially in aerosol form because the vapors can be inhaled and seep into skin. You may not think this is bad but consider this; medicines today can be given through a patch or nasal spray because those areas of our body are porous. When cleaning products are inhaled or get on skin they enter the body's system.

What kinds of chemicals in disinfectants are we talking about?

Ammonia fumes can irritate eyes and lungs. It can cause burns or rashes on skin. If mixed with products containing chlorine, it can produce deadly chloramine gas.

Detergents are toxic and poisonous to ingest, causing nausea and in extreme cases - coma

Cresol is corrosive to tissue leading to damage to the liver, kidneys, lungs, pancreas and spleen

Lye is a caustic product that burns skin and can cause blindness.

Phenol is a neurotoxin meaning it can cause central nervous system depression. It can severely affect circulatory system as well. It is corrosive to skin. Finally, its a suspected carcinogen (causing cancer).


Pine Oil irritates eyes and mucous membranes.

No wonder many environmental health organizations such as the EPA and the Consumer Products Safety Commission attribute household products to the rise of a variety of ailments such as asthma, allergies and even cancer. Its important to note that these ailments are not attributed to the improper use or accidental poisoning. They are thought the be result of just using the product without gloves or masks, and the lack of ventilation in homes (homes are more energy efficient now which is good for lower power bills but bad for trapping the out gassing of household products thus causing indoor air pollution).

What's even more concerning is that manufacturer's are not required to list every single ingredient in their products that are used in homes. The results can be tragic because without proper labeling, the Poison Control Centers cannot help provide intervention when accidental poisoning occurs.

The best way to kill germs in a manner that is safe for you and your family is to opt for non-toxic cleaners that don't have phenol, lye and other dangerous chemicals that are known to cause cancer, neurological problems or other irritations. These can be found in health related stores and through online or mail order outlets.

The week of March 22 is National Poison Prevention month. Take time to learn more about how your everyday household products may be harming your family by visiting the Home


(c) 2004 Leslie Truex

Leslie Truex is a stay and work-at-home mom who used to equate light-headedness from breathing cleansers as a sign of cleanliness. Now she uses non-toxic products thus preserving her remaining brain cells and insuring a healthier environment for her children.

This page is updated on March 14, 2013