How often we talk about changing our eating patterns, buying more locally produced and/or organic groceries, exercising more and having a healthier lifestyle overall. While I think these things are important pieces to the puzzle, I also think that many are missing a large chunk of the picture of health. Until recently I was included in this group.
I'm talking about radically reducing the number of chemicals in your home. Yes, I realize I'm biased now because I am a Norwex Independent Sales Consultant. But, honestly, the reason I'm buying, selling and telling everyone I know about these products is because I have been doing researching, reading and becoming more educated about the number of chemicals we are bringing into our homes under the premise of cleaning our homes and clothes and the harmful effects of these chemicals.
Linking Household Chemicals and Cancer
PreventCancer.org reports, "Approximately 70,000 chemicals are now in commercial production, many of which are used in household products. Many of these chemicals accumulate in the human body and cause cancer and other diseases, yet they have been inadequately tested or remain completely untested for their safety."
When I searched, "connections between cancer and chemicals in household cleaners" I was shocked at the alarming number of articles in the query results on links between chemicals in household cleaners and breast cancer.
Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in women. It was expected that in 2011, almost 300,000 new cases of breast cancer would be diagnosed in women. Breast cancer and lung cancer kill more women each year than any other cancer.
Interestingly, there was a study done a few years ago by Silent Spring Institute in MA that found a significant link between household cleaners and breast cancer. This study was made up of 1508 women; 787 of the women had been diagnosed with breast cancer; 721 of the women had not been. The women who reported the highest use of cleaning products had a doubled risk of breast cancer; the use of air fresheners and products for cleaning mold and mildew was associated with the highest increased risk for cancer.
The Silent Spring researchers are the first to admit that the results are imperfect though, considering the data came from surveys. So, that means that women who had been diagnosed with cancer may have been influenced by the belief that the cause of their cancer was something other than a genetic link; or it could mean that women diagnosed with cancer more accurately recall their past product use. Either way, the results of this study show that further research is warranted in this area.
In another study conducted by Silent Spring Institute researchers took air and dust samples from 120 homes on Cape Cod and measured the concentrations of 89 chemicals identified as endocrine disrupting compounds. They identified 67 of these chemicals in these samples, but the most interesting finding of this study was that they identified a number of chemicals that had been banned for years. One such chemical found in dust collected from the homes sampled was DDT. This banned chemical was found in 65% of the homes, even though it was banned 30 years ago. This fact suggests that chemicals don't break down indoors.
Making Healthy Changes
There are a number of hazards concerning the numbers of chemicals contained in household cleaners besides cancer including asthma, allergies, headaches, fatigue, pulmonary issues, depression, conditions involving the nervous system and more. These chemicals are inhaled, absorbed and ingested.
So, should you stop cleaning, fling open the windows and flee your home? No. Well, opening the windows more often might be a good idea, but you can still clean your house. You just have to clean smarter and better. I happen to think the most efficient and smartest way to clean is with Norwex products.
This isn't a shameless plug for my business though; regardless of whether you're interested in buying Norwex products or not, please take a look at these studies listed above and others; do some research for yourself; start reading the labels on the cleaning products you have in your home; evaluate any illnesses or chronic symptoms you or a member of your family is suffering from; notice the reactions you have while cleaning your house or after your house is scrubbed down with potentially toxic chemicals; and I think you will find the missing piece to the whole picture of health.
You can find more of my thoughts on this issue and information on Norwex at State of Clean. I'm a reformed cleaner, a Norwex convert, and I feel better knowing I've made this change for me and my family. Seeing is believing; so, contact me if you want to know more.
We have a choice about our health. Let's take control of it. Here's a good place to start. Over and out...