With the spring season in full swing and the warm weather right around the corner, families around the nation will begin to embark on their annual spring cleaning rituals. However, there are a large number of household cleaning products that are not only toxic to the environment, but are linked to childhood cancer as well. The Children’s Cancer Recovery Foundation’s (CCRF), Toxic-Free Kids program encourages parents to use safe cleaning alternatives to lessen their children’s exposure to hazardous and potentially cancer-causing products.
Although typical household cleaning products assist in clearing away dirt, many of them leave behind toxic chemicals that linger in the home. It is not uncommon to find carcinogens, such as kerosene, hydrochloric acid, ammonia and chlorine bleach, in everyday products. According to the EPA, indoor air pollution is one of the nation’s most pressing personal health concerns. Peak concentrations of 20 toxic compounds — some linked to cancer and birth defects — were 200 to 500 times higher inside some homes than outdoors, according to a 5-year EPA study that surveyed 600 homes in six cities.
CCRF urges families to seek healthier, more environmentally-friendly options to avoid exposure to carcinogens and help lower the risk of childhood cancer. The following tips can help your family clean without chemicals this spring:
- Always look for “toxic-free” on the front of the bottle, as this is the easiest and most obvious way to assure you are purchasing a safe product.
- Be sure the ingredients are listed on the label. Products that fail to do so should immediately raise a red flag.
- Use natural alternatives, such as white vinegar and baking soda. It may sound simple but due to its acidity, vinegar is extremely effective for killing mold, bacteria and germs. Not to worry, it is safe on virtually every surface, including wood (as long as it is sealed or finished).
- Avoid products with chlorine bleach. The fumes from this chemical have negative affects on the nervous, respiratory and immune systems. The risks of chlorine bleach also increases when mixed with other substances.
- Steam cleaning is a safe and effective way to clean without using chemicals. Steam sanitizes and releases dirt at the same time.
- Many laundry detergents also contain cancer-causing toxins. It is best to avoid products containing fragrance, dye, optical brighteners and phthalates.
- Commonly found in window cleaners, ammonia is an extremely toxic element that brings forth an array of health risks, including cancer. It is best to avoid products containing this element entirely.
ABOUT CHILDREN’S CANCER RECOVERY FOUNDATION
Headquartered in Harrisburg, PA with a division in The Woodlands, TX, the Children’s Cancer Recovery Foundation supports children under 18 and their families facing the hardships of cancer. The foundation performs acts of care and kindness through the following programs: Bear-Able Gifts (largest distributor of gifts to children with cancer in the U.S.); Toxic-Free Kids (educates families on the dangers of environmental toxins); New Era Cancer Research Fund (funds research for less toxic, minimally-invasive pediatric-cancer treatments); International Aid (provides medications and supplies to clinics in developing and impoverished countries); Helping Hands Fund (provides emergency financial assistance to families); and Camp Scholarships (allows children in remission to reconnect with activities they love). With a national pediatric-hospital partner network of 215+ locations, the foundation directly helps more than 15,000 children affected by cancer and their families every year. Please visit www.ChildrensCancerRecovery.org.