Chemicals in Household Products – The Truth About Bleach

When we talk about “Bleach” we actually refer to sodium hypochlorite solution or chlorine bleach. We all recognize it by its very caustic and irritating smell. It has the “corrosive” warning symbol on the bottle, which means it will burn if comes in contact with your skin. It will also ruin your new red sweater or that pair of dark jeans you like so much with just one single drop. But in fact, there is more than one type of bleach. Bleaching is a process used to whiten either cloths or wood, or to remove stains.The most natural bleaching agent is the sun. You’ve probably seen drawings in the window all fainted, or clothes on the line that have lost their original vibrant colours. There are also several types of man-made bleach, which will be discussed in this article.How does bleach “bleach”
The way bleach works is surprising. It actually changes the properties of what it touches so it no longer absorbs visible light. The reaction is at the molecular level. So when we put bleach on a stain, the stain does not go away, it only becomes invisible to the human eye. Bleach also has antimicrobial properties. It denature microbes, bacteria and pathogens and kill them.Chlorine-based bleach?
Chlorine-based bleaches are found in household cleaners. Respect the warnings on bleach containers: NEVER mix it with an acid like vinegar or with another cleaning product containing ammonia. The mix will cause a very toxic and potentially deadly chemical reaction. We also find chlorine bleach in drinking water and in swimming pools to keep them free of infectious agents and algae.Peroxide-based bleach
Hydrogen peroxide is the most common peroxide-based bleach. Among other things, it is used to bleach hair. It is also used by some people to disinfect wounds but this practice is no longer recommended: it is damaging the tissues and therefore slows the healing process. Oxygen bleach is also peroxide based and it is used as a whitening agent for the laundry. It is relatively safe to use on clothes compared to chlorine-based bleach but it still can cause skin and respiratory irritation.Other bleach
Other type of bleaches are used to bleach flour, paper and wood pulp.Conclusion
All types of bleaches are strong oxidants that should be handled with precaution to prevent burns and respiratory irritations. Their use as cleaning agents is questionable since they do not get rid of dirt, they only whiten it, and they are very strong antimicrobial that kill not only pathogens but also good bacteria.What can you do to reduce your family’s exposure to chemicals in household products when you have no time to make your own ineffective cleaners or run around town to expensive natural stores? Get my Free Report to discover 4 simple steps to make your home safer, while saving time and money.

Chemicals in Household Products – The Truth About Formaldehyde

When you first look at formaldehyde on Wikipedia, you find that it is an organic compound which can lead to confusion. Most people associate “organic” and “natural” to “good” and “safe”. It is not always the case. Arsenic and cyanide are found in nature but I wouldn’t recommend eating it or even rubbing it on your skin… Formaldehyde is one of those “natural but not safe” compounds.90% of formaldehyde is produced in the upper atmosphere by the action of the sun and oxygen on methane and hydrocarbons (forest fires, cigarettes smoke and car exhaust). But we can also produce formaldehyde industrially and that is where most of the problem lies.In 2011, formaldehyde has been declared by the US National Toxicology Program as “known to be a human carcinogen”. However, it is still found in hundreds of places such as textile (anti-wrinkle), cars (transmission, brake shoe, door panel, etc.), plywood, carpet, paper (napkins, facial tissue), insulation, paints and explosive. Because of its disinfectant proprieties, it is also used in many topical creams, lotions, shampoos, sunscreen, deodorant, body wash, soap bars, make-up, toothpaste, baby shampoo and baby wipes as a preservative to prevent growth of bacteria. Formaldehyde is also present in many cleaning products (disinfectants, all-purpose cleaners, air and carpet deodorizers).The dangers of formaldehyde exposure are: eye, nose and throat irritation, asthma-like reactions, skin irritation, headaches & migraines, nausea, fatigue and bronchitis. Longer exposure can lead to anxiety, depression, convulsion, coma, cancer and possibly leukemia.Did you know that formaldehyde is also used to preserve biological specimen (formol) and embalmment for open casket burrials? Apparently, there is so much formaldehyde build-up in our bodies nowadays that when we die (in many, many, many years), our bodies will start decomposing after seven days instead of the four days 20 years ago!Your best defence is of course to limit your exposure to this chemical. But because formaldehyde and formaldehyde-releasing preservatives can be identified under different names in cosmetics (Quaternium-15, Formalin, Methanal, 1,3-Dioxetane, Methylene Oxide) and since manufacturers of cleaning products are not required by law to list the ingredients on their bottles, it can be really difficult to know what is safe and what’s not. My best recommendation would be to find a manufacturer that clearly states that its products are “formaldehyde-free”. Otherwise you will never know if the bath & body products, cosmetics and cleaners are not doing more harm than good.Formaldehyde is unfortunately only the tip of the iceberg. What can you do to reduce your family’s exposure to chemicals in household products when you have no time to make your own ineffective cleaners, cosmetics and bath&body products, or run around town to expensive natural stores? Get my Free Report to discover 4 simple steps to make your home safer, while saving time and money.