Keep Your Child Safe From Household Toxins

Janet was a middle-class stay-at-home mom with 3 beautiful children. Life was going great until that dreadful day. Her son Joshua was rushed to the emergency room and then, flown by Life-Flight to Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh. The reason? He swallowed Resolve Carpet Cleaner.

She was cleaning a spot of Kool-Aid from the carpet and had the bottle sitting right next to her. Joshua, who had just turned two in July, was playing on the floor behind her. In the brief moment she had her back turned to scrub the carpet, he picked up the Resolve and squirted it in his mouth. By the time she turned around again, he had already begun to convulse. That is a day no one will ever forget.

They sent little Joshua home on a Friday at 2 AM, less than 18 hours after he drank the Resolve. The cleaner burned and corroded everything it came in contact with on its way through his digestive tract. All could do was sedate him, and put him on life support. Janet said he opened his eyes one time, and in those eyes, she said she could hear him saying, “Mommy, let me go. Let me die, I hurt, I’m in pain.” (This story was created using factual events but the sequence of events and names have been changed).

I could never imagine losing a child. But I do know that there is no reason why a child’s life should have been taken in this way. Joshua died because of thoughtless manufacturers who don’t have enough responsibility to make safe products. Janet was sitting two feet from her son and set the bottle of cleaner down for a second. All of us, when we are cleaning our windows, bathtubs or appliances, set the cleaner down next to us, while we clean up the mess. We don’t put it away in between wiping something down.

Most of us do this every day. We never think that it could be us. I know there are those of you who think, it will never happen to me, I keep things up high in a cabinet of locked up. Children can pick up a bottle in a split second and you may not be able to get it away fast enough. It is better to be safe than sorry. There is only one way to prevent this type of tragedy from occurring. GET THE TOXIC CHEMICALS OUT OF YOUR HOME. Your child’s life is not worth the risk you take by having them there. There are safer, less toxic alternatives.

Don’t wait for a tragedy to happen to make your home a “safe haven” for your family, especially your children. Parents and caregivers need to become educated about the dangers lurking in their homes. The average home contains more chemicals than are found in a typical chemistry lab. The Consumer Safety Commission has determined that cleaning products are some of the most dangerous substances in the home. Most states have laws against dumping household chemicals in standard garbage cans. There are special locations that dispose of chemicals. If these cleaners are too dangerous to dump at ordinary garbage disposal areas then why do we use these chemicals in our homes and around our children?

Our homes are so tightly sealed that toxins are trapped inside and we breathe them on a daily basis. Women and babies spend 90% of their time indoors.

According to Nancy Green Sokol the author of Poisoning Our Children (Noble Press 1991), “Indoor air pollution is a suspected culprit in sudden infant death syndrome, which will take about 5,000 U.S. lives this year. The incidence of SIDS is higher in the winter, perhaps because decreased ventilation in the cold months traps air indoors, where contaminants become concentrated. It’s no coincidence that SIDS was recognized after the introduction of synthetic chemicals.”

Toxins in U.S. homes now account for 90 percent of all reported poisonings each year,” says Rose Ann Soloway, administrator of the American Association of Poison Control Centers. And approximately 1.4 million children under the age of 12 are poisoned in the US each year. In fact, children account for 85 percent of all poison victims, and over 70 percent of these children are under the age of 5. Among children ages 5 and under, the most common poisons are from household cleaners or personal care products. Ordinary products used by adults each day around the home can become dangerous poisons in the hands of a child. Even products created specifically for children like baby shampoo contain harmful chemicals like formaldehyde, which you are rubbing on your child’s head. Even Dreft laundry detergent that is supposed to be safe for babies contains fiberglass and phosphates that stay in the clothing and come in contact with your child’s skin.

Many scientists and doctors are discovering that there is a connection between our increased use of household chemicals and the increased occurrence of chronic illnesses in our children like cancer, asthma, ADD, birth defects, and a host of other problems. And in 1985, an EPA report concluded that toxic chemicals in household cleaners are three times more likely to cause cancer than air pollution. Typically the air quality in our homes is worse than the polluted air we breathe outside. Housewives have a higher risk of certain kinds of cancer because they are at home all day breathing the chemically saturated air while they are cleaning their homes. Some of the common chemicals used in household cleaners, personal care products and cosmetics are formaldehyde, phenol, benzene, toluene, and xylene. These chemicals are cancer causing and tend to attack the immune system. More than 2500 chemicals in cosmetics are toxic. These agents cause tumors, reproductive complications, biological mutations and skin and eye irritations, according to the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health.

Of the chemicals found in your average personal care products like shampoo, toothpaste, body wash and make-up:
�¯�¿�½884 are toxic
�¯�¿�½146 cause tumors
�¯�¿�½218 cause reproductive complications
�¯�¿�½314 cause biological mutation
�¯�¿�½376 cause skin and eye irritations
(Source: United States House of Representatives report, 1989)

If you read the labels on the products you use in your home you may be surprised to learn how many harmful chemicals you are using in your home and exposing your children to on a daily basis.
The top cancer causing products in the average home include the following:

�¯�¿�½Johnson and Johnson Baby powder with Talc (Labeled Toxic Ingredient
TALC, Carcinogenic. Lung Irritant. NOTE: Also evidence of Causal relation to ovarian cancer.)
�¯�¿�½Crest Tartar Control Toothpaste (Labeled Toxic Ingredients
FD&C BLUE #1, Carcinogenic; SACCHARIN, Carcinogenic; FLUORIDE, Possible Carcinogen)
�¯�¿�½V05 Hair Conditioner (Labeled Toxic Ingredients FORMALDEHYDE, Carcinogenic. Neurotoxic. Contact Dermatitis and Sensitizer; POLYSORBATE 80, Can be contaminated with the carcinogen 1,4- dioxane; FD&C RED #4, Carcinogenic;
FRAGRANCE, Wide range of unlabeled ingredients. Contact Dermatitis.)

�¯�¿�½Clairol Nice N Easy Hair Color (Labeled Toxic Ingredients
QUATERNlUM-15, FormaIdehyde~Releaser. Carcinogenic. Neurotoxic. ContactDermatitis and Sensitizer; DIETHANOLAMINE (DEA), Interacts with nitrites to form a carcinogenic nitrosamine; PHENYLENE-DIAMINES, Includes carcinogens and other ingredients inadequately tested for carcinogenicity. Contact Dermatitis;
PROPYLENE CLYCOL, Contact Dermatitis; FRAGRANCE, Wide range of unlabeled ingredients. Contact Dermatitis.
NOTE: Also evidence of Causal relation to lymphoma, multiple myeloma and other cancers.)

�¯�¿�½AJAX Cleanser (Unlabeled Toxic Ingredients CRYSTALLINE SILICA, Carcinogenic. Eye, Skin and Lung Irritant; WASHING SODA,Caustic.
�¯�¿�½Lysol Disinfectant (Labeled or Unlabeled Toxic Ingredient ORTHOPHENYLPHENOL (OPP): Carcinogenic. Irritant.)
The chemicals mentioned above are just some the chemicals that have actually been proven to be dangerous to our health. A lot of the ingredients used in these types of products have not been tested and their side effects are unknown.
(Source: The National Cancer Prevention Coalition, Safe Shoppers Bible and Dirty Dozen website )
Liquid Dish Soap is the leading cause of poisonings in the home for children under the age of 6 (over 2.1million accidental poisonings per year) (contains formaldehyde and ammonia in most brands). We wash our dishes in this stuff and we eat off of the dishes that may have traces of the soap still on them. Our family is digesting these chemicals into our bodies.
Chemicals are stored typically in fatty tissue. The brain has a high content of fat and is rich in blood supply this makes it a prime target for destructive organics to nest. Fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, arthritis, lupus, multiple sclerosis, circulatory disorders, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome, depression, and Hormonal problems have all been link to side effect of chemical exposure. It has been proven that vision can also be affected by chemical exposure because your brain is part of the central nervous system, which controls your eyesight.

Manufacturers in the United States and Canada are not required to list all chemicals on or ingredients on their labels. They have to list individual chemicals that have been tested for health effects. But few chemicals have been tested for their combined health effects or the effects they have on women and children. You can however research MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheets) on the Internet. These documents list all ingredients used in individual products. Most large manufacturers have MSDS’s available to the public but you have to take the time to find them.

A good rule of thumb to use when purchasing a product is if you cannot pronounce the ingredients or do not know what they are then don’t buy it. Also if you can smell it although it is in a tightly closed container it is most likely out-gassing (which means fumes are escaping from the bottle and penetrating the air) toxic fumes.

Here are some cleaning tips published in a 2002 report by the Household Toxins Institute, based in Burlington, VT. They made the following recommendations:

1. Avoid petroleum-based cleaners as well as those with chlorine, ammonia and phosphates.

2. Traditional toilet and oven cleaners and furniture polish have the highest amounts of toxins. Use an alternative.

3. Opt for hand-applied cleaners rather than sprays, which disperse chemicals into the air.

4. Never mix cleaners; that could create higher toxicity.

5. Don’t clean with hot water; it enables volatile chemicals to evaporate into the air in greater quantities.

6. Don’t clean around children. Youngsters who are still developing are at higher risk to the effects of household chemicals.

7. Never use chemical cleaners in children’s bedrooms or playrooms.

Major cleaning brands are made with a petroleum base whereas environmentally friendly products are composed of vegetable compounds. Even the mere vapors of ammonia- and chlorine-based cleaners can be dangerous, according to Minnesota-base MidwestNaturalFoods,Coop.

What can you do?

You can buy safe natural products. Do your research there are less-toxic products available for cleaning your house, washing your clothes and cleansing your body. There are less toxic products available. You can purchase home cleaning products, laundry products, personal care and hair care products, dental care, skin care and cosmetics, vitamins, herbal supplements and weight loss products, pharmaceuticals and over-the-counter medicines that are manufactured without harsh chemicals.

You cannot rely on big name manufacturers or advertising companies for information most of them just want your money. You need to know your options! Do your own research. Your health and your children’s lives could depend on it.

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