We all use a wide range of scents, soaps, detergents, bleaching agents, softeners, scourers, polishes, and specialised cleaners for our bathrooms, windows, drains, and ovens to keep our homes clean! Many of the conventional cleaners contain chemicals that are poisonous if ingested and can be harmful if inhaled or touched.
Many cleaning ingredients contain the foaming agents diethanolamine (DEA) and triethanolamine (TEA). When these substances come into contact with nitrites, often present as undisclosed preservatives or contaminants, they react to form nitrosamines – carcinogens that readily penetrate the skin. 1,4-dioxane, another suspected carcinogen, may be present in cleaners made with ethoxylated alcohols.
Many of the household cleaning products found in our local supermarket aisle contain chemicals that cause DNA damage and hormone disruption. These toxins interfere with the body’s natural chemical messages, either by blocking or mimicking the actions of hormones. Possible health effects include decreased sperm counts, increased rates of male birth defects such as cryptorchidism (undescended testicles) and hypospadias (where the urethra is on the underside of the penis), and increased rates of some kinds of cancers. The alkylphenol ethoxylates (APEs) used in some detergents and cleaners have been shown to mimic the hormone estrogen; one APE, p-nonylphenol, has caused estrogen-sensitive breast cancer cells to multiply in a test tube study.
This information is vital in motivating you to ‘switch’ to non-toxic cleaning products so that you limit the load on your DNA and biochemistry.