Maintaining a clean, healthy home simply does not require “weapons of mass disinfection”. Antibacterial and toxic household cleansers are unnecessary and carry potential risks to the long term health of our families and the environment. And to put it simply, these products don’t work any better than their natural or non-toxic counterparts.
“The antibacterial soap we buy in the store doesn’t clean hands or reduce the spread of illness any better than regular soap.” (source)
-Allison Aiello (PhD, Assistant Professor of Epidemiology, University of Michigan)
Home Toxicity Culprits: Hand Soaps, Laundry Pods & Dish Detergents
Antibacterial hand soaps, laundry pods and dish detergent pods are three of the products being most widely investigated for safety and effectiveness. As an example, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) wants proof that the germ-fighting chemicals in antibacterial soaps are safe, and that they work better than plain soap and water.
Hand Soaps Invite Triclosan & Triclocarban Into Your Body
The FDA is particularly focused on the chemicals triclosan and triclocarban. Researchers have cautioned for two decades about the hazards of these two chemicals, which are common ingredients in most antibacterial products. Despite their warnings and research, little has been done to regulate their use.
In a recent Young and Healthy article, Dr. David Haslam, an infectious diseases expert at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, described the concern with these chemicals:
“Triclosan and triclocarban are not like the well-characterized antibiotics that doctors use to treat bacterial infections. Instead, triclosan is a chemical that damages bacteria in ways that are not well-understood. Surprisingly, triclosan-induced damage makes bacteria respond in a way that makes them partially resistant to standard antibiotics.” (source)
This means that triclosan, and the related triclocarban, are likely contributing to the growth of antibiotic-resistant super bugs. AWESOME! Not.
Consider an Alternative Hand Soap: Non-Toxic…You Guessed It.
There are “green” products on the market that are safer for you and your family. Shaklee offers a product called Hand Wash Concentrate that offers natural extracts of oat protein and aloe to moisturize and soy protein to condition and soothe skin.
The peace of mind is priceless.
Another Source of Worry in the Home: Laundry Pods
Laundry detergent pods are another source of concern, both for their appealing, candy-like appearance and for the harsh chemicals those alluring, colorful wrappers contain. They are finding their way into the hands and mouths of young children.
Since their debut in the United States in 2012, these pretty, multicolored and convenient laundry pods have become wildly popular for their convenience. Throw a pod into the machine and you’re ready to go! Unfortunately, their toy and candy-like appearance mean the pods have shown amazing appeal to the five and under set. Because of young children’s unique method of exploration – infants/toddlers/preschoolers use their mouths as much as their eyes and hands to explore – they may be at risk for injuries if the detergent pods are in arm’s reach. And no matter how good a parent you are, they will be in arms reach at some moment in time…even when you do the laundry.
The American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC) first started sounding warning bells in May 2012. ABC News ran a subsequent story warning parents about the risks. There are a variety of factors that make the pods a true risk for youngsters:
- their appealing, brightly colored appearance
- small in size – i.e. ‘bite size’
- their purposely-designed thin membrane chocked full of highly concentrated soap
- laundry detergent is typically not considered a ‘poison’ by parents and thus is often placed on a laundry room counter or in an unlocked cupboard within a child’s reach
Emergency rooms are seeing confusing symptoms and dangerous side effects in children who have ingested the soap or inadvertently squirted it in their eyes. These range from vomiting, coughing, rare severe breathing problems and changes in level of alertness or seizures. Dr. Suzan Mazor, an emergency physician at Seattle Children’s Hospital, adds she’s seen several eye abrasions, which happen when children accidentally squirt the pod contents in their eyes. She states, “Most ultimately heal just fine but can be painful and distressing to the children and parents.” The ingestions have been serious enough that some children have been sent to intensive care units for mechanical ventilation.
According to recent reports in Time Magazine and CBS News, the journal Pediatrics states that 17,230 children under the age of 6 were poisoned by the contents of laundry detergent pods between March 2012 and April 2013. The first comprehensive study on the dangers of laundry pods was conducted by researchers at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. They found that 769 children in the U.S. were hospitalized and one child died after ingesting a laundry detergent pod during the period.
Manufacturers have responded, with several making major changes to their packaging, including the addition of easy-to-understand safety icons, improving warning labels to advise proper use and storage instructions, and changing to opaque packaging so the single dose packets are not visible from the outside. Will this be enough, or should you consider other options?
There are Alternative Laundry Detergents: Non-Toxic…You Guessed it.
All of this begs two questions: is it really possible to have laundry products locked up 24/7 in your home, and is it necessary to use toxic detergents anyway? The answer to both questions is absolutely not, when there is Shaklee Fresh Laundry Concentrated HE Compatible Liquid, which is the industry leading non-toxic laundry detergent.
Shaklee laundry, home cleaning, hand soap and dish detergent products are part of the company’s Get Clean line. All of these home care products contain no nitrates, phosphates, chlorine bleach or borates, only biodegradable surfactants and sustainable ingredients from natural sources. All Shaklee Get Clean products are non-toxic without harmful fumes and are hypoallergenic.
One Danger Leads to Another: Dish Detergent Pods
The very public research into laundry pods has led doctors to expand their warnings into all sorts of these new convenience items. Like laundry pods, dish detergent pods also have high concentrations of chemicals, which can burn the lips, mouth, throat and stomach when eaten. The body then starts treating those chemicals like poison. According to Dr. Dennis Rhoades, Director of Doctors Care Beach Region:
“The liver gets involved because your body is trying to detoxify these substances. You can get comas and even death because you’re ingesting a poison.” (source)
Dish detergent pods are even more likely to find their way into the mouths of young children, because they are traditionally kept right at their level under the kitchen sink.
There is No Reason to use Toxic Dish Detergents Anymore
I want to tell a personal story. My granddaughter is living proof of the benefits of living in a home that shuns toxic cleaning products. In a split second, when her mother turned her back, toddler Lilly dipper her finger into the dishwasher detergent that was in the dishwasher detergent dispenser. It makes no sense to you or me as adults, but toddlers put everything that smells good (or is brightly colored) into their mouths. As a mom, you surely know that by now.
In a panic, my daughter called her local poison control center. After much discussion about the product, brand etc., the poison control representative calmed her down and told her Lilly might have a stomach ache, but would be fine. The reason? The family uses Shaklee Dishwasher Automatic Powder Concentrate.
Non-Toxic Household Cleaners: What Consumers Need to Know
Growing awareness and insistence by ecologically-minded consumers, not to mention parents committed to keeping their family healthy, has resulted in a myriad of environmentally friendlier and non-toxic products on store shelves and available for Internet purchase. Many of these products, including laundry detergents, dryer sheets, fabric softeners, household and floor cleaners and dish products are indeed safer for people, pets and our planet. Others, unfortunately are actually “green-washed,” which means they are marketed as natural but continue to include suspect chemicals.
A consumer can educate themselves by reading in detail product labels to see if the cleaning manufacturer is clearly disclosing all ingredients. If it is not, check the manufacturer’s web site or contact them to see what’s really inside.
For independent reviews, you can also use Consumer Report’s Greener Choices to understand what label claims actually mean and the level of regulation. You can also use the resources of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Household Products Database to look up specific products and find out their ingredients. Find even more information at WebMD.
The green effort has certainly taken flight over the past few years, and that’s a good thing. But it’s comforting to know that Shaklee has led the environmental movement for more than 57 years! From creating one of the first biodegradable cleaners to becoming the first to earn complete Climate Neutral certification, Shaklee is committed to doing what’s right for consumer and the environment. The company is built on making products that are safe for you, your home, and your planet.