Why should we avoid hazardous products in our healthy homes? For the obvious reasons of course, the health and safety of our family and companion animals. Did you know the use of hazardous products (also referred to as toxic chemicals) in your “healthy home” indirectly costs billions per year? It’s been estimated that hazardous products cost about $1 billion in medical bills and $5 billion in lost work time each year.
Did you know that due to their size and physiology, children and pets are the most susceptible to the toxicity of hazardous products? Their respiratory rate is 10 times higher than adults and therefore they inhale more air per body weight. Many pollutants are heavier than air and are found in greater concentrations closer to the ground, so children and pets have a much higher exposure rate than do adults. Not to mention they also play closer to the ground and ingest residues left behind. Children pick up toys and put them in their mouths or eat food with hazardous product residues on their hands. Pet health is at risk too because they lay on the floor and lawn absorbing the chemical fertilizers and conventional pesticides through their skin. They also ingest them when licking or cleaning themselves.
Indoor cleaning products and conventional pesticides are among the most hazardous materials found in an otherwise healthy home, and many lack adequate warning labels. Here is a short list of some potentially toxic substances found in and around the home and lawn that you should avoid:
Air Freshener (especially aerosols)
Dog treats (hooves and ears) that can be heavily preserved
Flea and tick medications
Formaldehyde (new carpets produce formaldehyde fumes)
Rawhide chews that may contain propylene glycol
Other hazardous materials you should be aware of are bright colored dog dishes that may contain heavy metals in the paint used to decorate them. An alternative for dog dishes is stainless steel. Other sources of lead or heavy metals are linoleum, batteries, tar paper, golf balls, fishing sinkers, and even water from lead pipes in old houses with brass faucets. Don’t forget about pressure treated woods that contain arsenic and copper fungicides. Use a safe wood treatment to convert your patio and fences from toxic to terrific!
From a holistic health perspective, the first signs of any unusual symptoms coming from your child or pet should prompt a complete investigation into your home environment. Read the labels of everything that goes into their mouths and everything that is used on or around them. As a good rule of thumb, if a product contains a word that you can’t pronounce, it’s probably not best to ingest. If the flea & tick control package warns that it “may be hazardous to humans”, it’s common sense that it’s not good for your pets either. Once a cause has been identified, contact a holistic practitioner to determine the best course of action for detoxification. With knowledge, you can avoid hazardous products in your healthy home!