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Cleaning woman            After watching TV ad’s promising germ free environments for years, most Americans use endless amounts of disinfectant sprays, antimicrobial soaps, disinfecting toilet bowl cleaners, antiseptic wipes and other products designed to keep their home ‘germ free’. 

            Louis Pasteur is regarded as a hero in medical circles for his “germ theory” of disease.  The discovery of micro-organisms was an important issue since it led to better sanitation methods which helped reduce the spread of disease; however we have carried the obsession with germs way too far.

            The whole idea of maintaining a “germ free” environment is a gigantic joke.  Even after washing the counter or bathroom with the strongest disinfectant cleaner there are still millions of bacteria on the surfaces.  It is just not possible to achieve a ‘germ free’ home.

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Not just impossible, but unnecessary.

For example a 2005 FDA report concluded there is no additional benefit to antibacterial soaps over regular soap and water.  Even the AMA took an official stance against adding antimicrobial’s to consumer products in 2000.

            There are several reasons for this.  First, the chemicals used in antiseptic soaps are toxic.  Disinfectants create indoor pollution which can cause eye, nose, and throat irritations, headaches, asthma, loss of coordination, nausea, cancer, liver, kidney and central nervous system damage.  Also, in 1989, the EPA determined toxic chemicals found in common household cleaners are three times more likely to cause cancer than other air pollutants.

            Second, they contribute to the development of disease resistant microbes.  Also, they may make a person more prone to skin infections, partly because of toxicity and partly because they destroy the friendly microbes on our skin (just like in our colons) which help protect us.  These antiseptics – like antibiotics – kill the good along with the bad. 

            Our bodies need to be exposed to a certain amount of germs to develop immunity.  We don’t usually get sick from these organisms because the body was designed to deal with a certain level of infectious organisms.  Exposure to germs is what helps develop the immune system.  If you were raised in an entirely sterile environment, the immune system would never be challenged and there would never be any resistance built up.  The microbes naturally present in our environment provide a natural vaccination process.

            A third problem with these chemicals is they contribute to environmental pollution.  The Clean Water Fund estimates that the average American used 40 pounds of unsafe household cleaners each year.  If we multiply that by 295 million Americans, that’s 12 billion pounds of toxic chemicals released into the environment from household cleaning products alone.

            Here are just a few of the possible hazards in these cleaners.

  •  Antimicrobial soaps may contain toxic compounds such as the pesticide triclocarban (TCC).  It is known to cause cancer and reproductive problems in mammals and is a persistent organic pollutant that doesn’t break down readily in the environment.  60% of US streams contain this chemical.
  • Petroleum-based furniture polishes and sprays can contain ingredients that are neurotoxic.  They can act as central nervous system depressants, cause headaches or interfere with mental concentration.
  • Oven cleaners are very dangerous, corrosive chemicals.  They can cause severe burns and respiratory distress.  They typically contain ingredients that are neurotoxic and central nervous system depressants and which can cause headaches, depression, and a loss of concentration.
  • Commercial toilet bowl cleaners may contain sodium acid oxalate, chlorinated phenols and o-or-p-Dichlorobenzene, all of which are highly toxic.  Sodium acid sulfate is highly corrosive.  O-or-p-Dichlorobenzene is a liver and kidney poison, as well as being a powerful central nervous system depressant which can cause confusion, headaches, lack of concentration, and symptoms of mental illness.
  • The chlorine in chlorine bleach is corrosive and can damage skin, eyes and mucus membranes.  Chlorine was listed as a hazardous air pollutant in the 1990 Clean Air Act.

There is a hierarchy to the warning labels on household products.  So, from most toxic, to least toxic, here’s what the labels mean:

                       Poison/Danger: This means the product is highly toxic.  Ingesting small amounts – in some cases just a few drops – can be fatal.  This is the most important category to avoid.  Why would you want to use chemicals that are this toxic in your home?  It’s like creating your own indoor pollution problem.

                       Warning: This means the product is moderately toxic – as little as a teaspoonful can be fatal.  This is a little better, but still something to avoid.

                       Caution: These products are definitely less toxic – it would be necessary to ingest between two tablespoons and two cups to be fatal.  If you’ve got to use a commercial product, at least make sure this is as toxic as it gets.

                       Corrosive: Products with this word are those that can damage skin and mucous membranes upon direct contact.

Now is the time to make a change.  Take a look around your house, in the laundry room under the bathroom and kitchen sinks and pull out all of the chemical cleaners you find.  I think you will be amazed at how many chemicals you have in your house. 

Nature’s Fresh is Nature’s Sunshine line of green cleaning products.  These products are bio-degradable and totally chemical free.  Start improving your health today by reducing the chemical exposure with the Nature’s Fresh cleaning products.

Click here to Buy yours today sign up as a Nature's Sunshine Member and purchase at wholesale with a $40 order.

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