11 September 2014
How A Clean House Can Harm Your Children
If your life is anything similar to mine, balancing time to clean dirty toilets, bathrooms, showers, and kitchens is a juggling act. Top this magic trick with picking up dirty laundry, as well as, washing, sorting, folding and the dreaded putting clean clothes away, and you truly steal the show. In fact, you are my superhero if you pull this all off in the midst of kids and work.
One of my favorite infrequent moments in my momma circus life, is when for some strange cosmic reason, my house is entirely clean. That is, all the rooms, laundry and floors. That very precious moment when I realize the mess and dirt is all gone. Clean. Healthy. Done.
Well, maybe clean and done, but let’s question healthy.
You see, we typically equate a clean home to a healthy safe place for our children. And, the amount of work and magic that goes into making sure our homes are clean and safe for our children deserves superhero awards. However, if we use toxic chemicals to clean our homes, we actually are leaving behind unhealthy hazardous residues both on our home’s surfaces and in the indoor air that are extremely harmful to our family. Yikes.
Imagine. All that effort and craze to get our houses clean, yet we fail to keep our children healthy when we use the wrong cleaning products. Insane, right?
Let’s dig into this deeper…
Through much of my research over the years, I have found that toxins in the home, food and environment are linked to creating health problems such as asthma, eczema, childhood and breast cancer and neurological problems such as behavior, learning and Autism Spectrum Disorders.
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 that contain carcinogens such as kerosene, hydrochloric acid, ammonia and chlorine bleach. According to the EPA, indoor air pollution within our homes is a serious health concern.
Children are at a higher risk to the harmful effects of toxic chemicals because their immune systems, organs, tissues and nervous systems are growing and developing rapidly each and every day. Also, children tend to crawl, play in dirty areas, and use their hands and mouth to explore and learn about their world. Even as children get older, their play, behavior and lack of awareness to hygiene continues to make them more vulnerable. Adding harmful toxins for them to breathe in or lather onto their skin and hair only increases risks of health problems.
Household products such as bleach, ammonia, window, wood, oven, bath and toilet cleaners, dish and laundry detergents, and air fresheners can be dangerous to a child’s health.
The Children’s Environmental Health Center (CEHC) has developed a list of ten chemicals found in consumer products that are suspected to have a link to autism and learning disabilities. The top ten chemicals are lead, methylmercury, PCBs, organophosphate pesticides, organochlorine pesticides, endocrine disruptors, automotive exhaust, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, brominated flame retardants, and perfluorinated compounds.
At this time, two papers were published by researchers from University of California – Davis suggesting the need for more studies. One stated a correlation that PCBs disrupt early brain development and another advised the exploration of the link between pesticide exposure and autism.
It is true; a CLEAN house can be a harmful to our children. Ugh.
What You Can Do to Create a Healthy Clean Home
Our goal is to build a family and home that is safe, healthy and clean for our children. In order to do so, you must be aware and avoid the following common household cleaning chemicals. They are reported to be toxic and create diseases such as breast and childhood cancer, asthma, eczema and neurological problems.
Common Toxic Cleaning Chemicals
Alkylphenols are chemicals used in detergents and other cleaning products. They're also found in personal care products, especially hair products. These chemicals interact with cellular estrogen receptors in the body, capable of creating estrogen displacement and havoc.
Triclosan is an antibacterial and antifungal chemical used in cleaning products and household items such as soaps, detergents, toothpastes, mouthwash and cleaning supplies. The pesticide chemical can affect the body’s hormone systems, such as thyroid hormones, and consequently, may disrupt normal breast development.
Aldehydes, such as glutaraldehyde, are chemicals that may cause when the are breathed in or come in contact with the skin. They can cause permanent damage to the eyes, ears, nose , throat and lungs. Formaldehyde is a lung and respiratory irritant and is also classified as a category 3 carcinogen. Formaldehyde is commonly used as a preservative in cleaning products.
Benzalkonium Chloride is a sensitizer especially dangerous for people with asthma or skin conditions such as eczema and chronic dermatitis. There is also a stated correlation between an increase in childhood asthma and the exposure to this chemical through household disinfectants, sanitizers, and personal care products.
Sodium Hypochlorite is a strong oxidizer that can burn skin and cause eye damage. Mixing bleach with other household products can be extremely dangerous. According to the American Association of Poison Control Center’s annual reports, sodium hypochlorite has been implicated in many household accidents and/or deaths.
Phthalates are endocrine-disrupting chemicals commonly used to render plastics soft and flexible. They are found in plastics, cosmetics, fragrances especially in cosmetics and household cleaners, baby care products, building material, modeling clay, cars and insecticides. They enter the body by skin, ingestion, inhalation and medical injection. They are found in the air and dust in homes.
Ammonia Hydroxide is a common sanitizer used in the home, and according to the World Health Organization and the United States Environmental Protection Agency, is considered carcinogenic. It also had been linked with creating health problems with skin, liver, kidneys, lungs and eyes. The Environmental Working Group has stated a correlation with asthma, respiratory and skin issues as well.
Dyes in Cleaning Products
Dyes in cleaning products are often unlabeled on the products' ingredient lists, but are often comprised of several different chemicals, some of which are known carcinogens. Dyes in food and cleaning products have been linked to cancer and neurological problems, such as behavior, attention, learning problems.
Citrus Red 2, Red 3, Red 40, Yellow 5, Yellow 6, Blue 1, Blue 2, and Green 3 are derived from coal tar and petroleum, and according to the Center of Science in Public Interest (CSPI) have or have been contaminated with cancer-causing chemicals. The British Food Standards Agency in 2001 concluded after a study that 6 dyes/colorants and sodium benzoate were linked to increasing hyperactivity and ADD in children. As a result, the European Union Law required all beverages with these 6 dyes to have warning labels that consumption can lead to hyperactivity. We must be aware that our children are not ingesting dyes through foods or inhaling it the air as well.
How to Detox and Create a Toxic-Free Home
You are a supermom. Your hard work and love does not go unnoticed. Simply yield here and allow this as an opportunity to learn and grow.
First, start by making an effort to use nontoxic products. Use natural products for cleaning agents such as baking soda and vinegar. There is a variety of nontoxic products that you can buy in local stores and supermarkets, but check the labels carefully and research each ingredient. Sometime what you think is a clean green eco product really is not, and they are pricey to boot, so make sure they are in fact, clean.
The healthiest and most affordable means to creating a toxic-free healthy home is to learn how to make your own clean non-toxic cleaning products. Once you tackle each room and stock up on safe clean ingredients, you will be a true superhero with the ability to tackle health problems that once were caused by a toxic home.
Join the Ultimate Home-Detox Boot Camp
My friend and environmental engineer Laura Trotta has just opened the virtual doors to her new online program, the Home- Detox Boot Camp, where she shares her framework for a cleaner, greener, healthier home. I am jumping on board to fine tune my home.
I love how Laura will be my personal guide on how to remove toxins, step-by-step. She removes the overwhelming feeling of not knowing if I am doing this right or if I forgot something, but most of all, she is the leader in creating a healthy home for my children, especially my son who is on the Autism Spectrum.
Remember, toxins can create neurological problems in the body. Thus, having a toxin-free home helps our children regulate their nervous systems and overcome challenges related to asthma, allergies, sensory processing, ADD/ADHD and Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Clean. Safe. Healthy.
I now feel like a real Super Mom.
Will you join me?
Yours in Health and Happiness,
Dr. Lisa DeRogatis Sulsenti
Dr. Lisa DeRogatis Suslenti received a Bachelor Degree in Nutrition and Dietetics from the University of Delaware and her Doctorate Degree in Chiropractic from Life West Chiropractic College in 1996. She currently owns Atlantic Coast Chiropractic, a wellness center with her husband in Brick, NJ. Dr Lisa is a well-known chiropractor and nutritionist in her community. She has helped thousands of patients reach amazing healing potential in body, mind and spirit. Over the past 17 years, she has adjusted and coached patients with various health problems such as heart disease, high blood pressure, digestive problems, allergies, ear and sinus infections, back and joint pain, headaches, Autism Spectrum Disorders, Sensory Processing Disorders, ADD/ADHD and weight gain. Dr. Lisa is a member of the Association of New Jersey Chiropractors. She is also creator of DrLisaSulsneti.com, a website dedicated to creating healthy and thriving families with Autism Spectrum Disorders. She is a nutrition and educational advocate coach for families with ASD, SPD and ADD/ADHD needs. Dr. Lisa has a son with ASD, SPD and ADD which has taught her how to create successful academic classrooms and also, advocate for him. In doing so, she is experienced in advocating for families with special needs children. Her journey also led her to writing her book, The Overtilted Child: Creating a Sensational Classroom for Kids with Autism Spectrum Disorders, Sensory Processing Disorders and ADD/ADHD. This ultimate parent and teacher guide propelled her to create DrLisaSulsenti.com with a mission to help as many families as possible.