How clean is too clean?

January 6, 2010

In wake of the recent H1N1 scare, many of us are resorting to antiseptics and antibacterial cleansers to rid our homes of germs. What many of us don’t know is that the chemicals we’re using to safeguard our health are actually making us sick.

Although cleanliness is a crucial element in the prevention of sickness and disease, it’s important to remember that our bathroom countertops and kitchen sinks don’t have to be as sterile as an operating room. Also, regular cleaning wouldn’t pose so much of a threat if we used natural, eco-friendly materials such as mild soap and warm water.

The term “chemical” isn’t necessarily limited to products stamped with a skull and cross-bones. Chemicals are found in other household items such as laundry detergents, air fresheners, toothpastes, perfumes, deodorants and other personal care products.

Here’s a list of some potentially harmful household substances that may be making you sick: 

  • Ammonia – Ammonia can cause irritation of the eyes and skin and can also damage the respiratory tract.
  • Chlorine Bleach – Bleach is the epitome of overkill. The only problem with eliminating 99.9% of germs is that you’re also killing off the “good” bacteria that your body needs to fight off infection.
  • Dishwasher Detergent – The #1 cause of household poisoning and with good reason. It’s very important to read labels of all chemicals you bring into your home – especially those that come into direct contact with food.
  • Toilet Cleaners – Hydrochloric acid, anyone? If you clean your toilet using a toilet cleaning solution, chances are you’re exposing yourself to concentrated quantities of a compound known for
  • its distinct corrosive properties, called hydrochloric acid.

Here’s an excerpt from a chapter in BodyLogicMD Chief Medical Officer Dr. Alicia Stanton’s new book Hormone Harmony, discussing how household cleaners and disinfectants are making us sick:

“Many soaps, wipes, hand sanitizers, dish soaps and other cleansers are promoted for their antibacterial action, but this may be a liability rather than an asset. Despite the wide promotion of bug-killing cleansers, they don’t appear to be any more effective than ordinary soaps in protecting against infection. Antibiotics have become so prevalent that they have created superbugs that are resistant to antibiotics and other medications used to treat serious illness.” 

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