Having A Healthy Home Environment

Having a healthy home environment means having a healthy family

 

Everyone wants a healthy home environment. Some information can help you understand more about this topic, as well as help you make informed choices.

Why Is A Healthy Home Environment Important?

Your main concern may be your family’s health. This is one reason to not use cleaning products that contain toxic chemicals. When you choose products that are free of toxic ingredients, you will have better air quality in your home. Clean, fresh air is safe for your family members’ respiratory systems.

A second health concern is residue from unhealthy products. Regardless of your particular cleaning task, there is always some reside left behind. Products that do not contain toxic chemicals are harmless to your skin. There is no risk of allergic reactions, and both children and pets can safely play on the floor.

Another concern is the environment itself. After performing a cleaning task, the cleaning product is rinsed away. Environmentally-safe or eco friendly products will not harm the waterways or the soil. Biodegradable packages will not accumulate in the landfills. The outdoor environment will stay cleaner for future generations.

What Are The Trends For Green Household Supplies?

Manufacturers of green cleaning products are making healthy choices easier for consumers.

One example is the performance of green products. As cleaning products need to be effective in order to be useful, manufacturers are producing newer products that require less time and lead to satisfactory results.

Second, cost is a factor for many consumers. Consumers no longer have to rely on cheap products with toxic ingredients because healthier options are becoming less and less expensive.

Third, products are being developed that can serve more than one purpose.

Fourth, consumers are learning more about environmentally-safe products. When individuals learn the importance of choosing the right products, they are less likely to settle for anything less.

Fifth, green products are becoming nicer to look at and nicer to use. From packaging to scents, they are more appealing to the person who is shopping for cleaning products. Consumers can appreciate the pretty packages, and scents that are much more pleasant than the scents of old-fashioned products.

Why Do People Choose Unhealthy Products For Household Cleaning?

There are a number of reasons some people continue to make poor choices. One reason is some individuals are not as aware as they should be about health and safety. They do not realize the potential dangers to their families and the environment.

A second reason is the belief that green products are too expensive. All it takes is wise shopping to find this is not true. Between comparison-shopping and taking advantage of sales, consumers can find healthy options that are within their budgets. Green items can often be found at the same price as toxic alternatives.

A third reason is the misconception that chemicals are necessary. This misconception may come from the past, when household cleaners were all made of chemicals and very harsh. Fortunately, this is not true today. Green cleaners can do a through job, and are completely safe.

Is There A Growing Awareness About Healthy Home Environments?

More people today are aware of this issue than ever before. People know why it is important to choose the right kinds of products, and where they can locate the products.

However, there are still too many people who believe chemicals are better. As long as there continues to be a large market for chemical products, education needs to be a priority. From schools and homes to the media, there must be more emphasis on choosing environmentally-safe products.

Manufacturers And Advertising

Manufacturers are doing an excellent job of advertising their products with the environment in mind. The best products are advertised as environmentally-friendly, environmentally-safe, or green.

When ingredients are listed on the labels, every consumer can make an informed decision. It is no longer necessary to purchase a product without knowing what is in it.

It was not too far in the past that consumers did not have many options. Products to clean the home were harsh, abrasive, and toxic. They were often time-consuming to use, as well as being hazardous to the health of people, pets, and the outdoor environment.

When green products were developed, they were generally quite costly. Consumers could expect to pay much more when they wanted to make healthy choices. Green items were also harder to find. They were not as readily available as they are today.

Today’s consumer can have it all, simply by reading labels and making smart choices. It is completely unnecessary to settle for inferior products that can be harmful to one’s health. All a consumer needs to do is read labels, and look for the words environmentally-safe, environmentally-friendly, or green. He can then choose excellent products that will keep him, his family, and the environment healthy and safe. Creating a healthy home environment is now inexpensive and easy.

Plastic Waste In The US

Only 8 percent of plastic waste was recycled in the US in 2010

 

According to Columbia University’s Earth Institute, Americans discard 33.6 million tons of plastics every year. Worryingly, only 6.5% of this waste is recycled while a further 7.7% undergoes combustion in waste-to-energy facilities. The rest ends up in landfills or in oceans where up to 100 million tons float putting marine life at great risk. Dumping plastics in landfills is not a perfect solution because they can take up to 1,000 years to decompose. In addition, decomposing plastics can leak pollutants into soil and underground water sources.

An In-depth Look at the US Plastic Waste Problem

For most people, the term plastic garbage conjures up images of plastic water bottles, paper bags, and cups. However, this is a simplistic view that does not capture the magnitude of the plastics problem in the US. To start with, plastics are found in a wide range of products, not just water bottles, cups, or bags. They are widely used in vehicle parts, PVC products, magazines, pens, toys, medical devices, and beauty product packaging. Another problem is there are different types of plastics with varying chemical compositions.

Moreover, separating plastics from non-plastics is a labor-intensive process. It is also worth noting that a report published by the Earth Institute at Columbia University states that only two types of plastics are widely recycled in the US. This is in spite of the Society of Plastic Industries establishing codes for seven types of recyclable plastics. All these aspects make recycling discarded plastics a difficult task.

As a result, most of the plastics discarded by Americans end up in landfills or litter urban areas and the countryside. Light breaks plastics lying in the open into increasingly smaller particles that leach into surrounding soil and water. Over time, these particles pass up the food chain into human bodies via seafood.

Plastic Waste Awareness in the US

Plastic recycling rates in the US compared to the EUAlthough many campaigners and environmental advocacy groups regularly warn consumers about the plastic waste pandemic, very few seem to have grasped this message. A study carried out by MSLK, a New York based graphic design firm, found that Americans discard 50 billion plastic water bottles every year. Out of these, only 20% are recycled.

Americans’ love affair with bottled water is financially unhealthy given bottled water is 1,000 times costlier than tap water. Even more saddening is the fact that the bottled water industry uses 17 million barrels of oil per year, which translates to more environmental pollution.

A study carried out by the American Chemistry Council (ACC) in 2012 found that the level of plastic waste recycling across the US should be significantly higher. To be precise, 91% of Americans could recycle plastics bags locally while up to 75% of US population could recycle various types of plastics locally.

Sadly, this is not the case in many parts of the US. A good example is New York City, which sends its waste to landfills in states such as Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Ohio, according to grownyc.org. The same ACC study found that Americans rarely use plastic recycling programs even in cases where such programs are easily accessible.

Researchers involved in this study found that plastics recycling collection points conveniently located in or near grocery stores, major retail centers or local shopping centers were underutilized. This means awareness about the impact of plastics on the environment and human health is very low.

Plastic Waste and Recycling Trends

Plastic waste recycling has not changed much in the last few years and experts expect this trend to continue in the near future. Nevertheless, the plastics recycling cloud has a silver lining in the form of new recycling plant technology, according to the Earth Institute at the Columbia University. This includes the use of near-infrared spectroscopy technology to speed up the recycling process by identifying chemical composition of various plastics.

The amount of plastics discarded by the average American will continue to rise in the coming years. There are several reasons why this is so. Firstly, Americans only use 50 to 80% of products that come in plastic packaging once translating to increasingly larger piles of discarded plastics. Secondly, manufacturers are ramping up output of plastics every year.

At the same time, they are conjuring up new forms of plastics that can appeal to consumers as healthier and less harmful. For instance, a report published by MarketWatch paints a picture of a plastics industry gravitating towards anti-microbial plastics. In simple words, anti-microbial plastics are infused with antimicrobial compounds to inhibit growth of bacteria or fungi.

An article published by ecowatch.com states that American manufacturers have churned out more plastics in the last 10 years alone than over the last 100 years. Without legislation to curb rampant production of plastics, this trend will hold in the near future.

Another factor likely to hamper recycling efforts is the low number of recycling plants and programs relative to magnitude of discarded plastics problem. The low percentage of households (less than 35%) and businesses (less than 10%) that participate in recycling programs is also a major challenge.

How to Curb the Plastic Waste Menace

Since the current state of affairs is not sustainable over the long term, it is necessary to come up with ways of reducing and managing plastic waste. An effective solution is for consumers to reduce amount of plastic they discard every day. This is according to the US Environmental Pollution Agency (EPA).

One way of achieving this goal is by recycling plastics whenever possible. For instance, you could use large shopping bags to pack household trash. The EPA also recommends sorting plastics before taking them to nearest collection center. Consumers could also shop at green stores that do not pack groceries or other items in plastic bags.

Conclusion

Although plastics offer unparalleled benefits to diverse businesses, they translate into a waste headache of gargantuan proportions. This is in addition to human health problems as 93% of Americans six years and older would test positive for BPA, a harmful plastic chemical, according to ecowatch.com. The plastic waste problem is further compounded by low awareness among consumers on its environmental impact.


This will make you think…

Chemicals And Cleaning Products: Facts and Figures

The chemicals in cleaning products you should be aware about

 

It is not uncommon for you to worry about the chemicals that are added to the cleaning products which you use in your home. Most people would rather use all natural products, which contain no chemicals. While this is the safest way to clean your home, it is not always possible. It seems as though the more doctors, scientists, and manufacturers learn about the chemicals used in household cleaning products, the more they worry about what these chemicals could be doing to our health.

Household Chemicals Banned in the Last Few Decades

As people learn more about what certain chemicals can do to the health of you and your family, the faster these chemicals disappear from the shelves. Over the past few decades, you may have noticed that products that you normally have purchased have changed. This is because certain chemical have been banned, due to health concerns.

Dishwasher Detergents Containing Phosphates: In the 1980’s and 1990’s, most dishwasher detergents and other cleaning products contained phosphates. Over time, it was discovered that they contributed to algae blooms in water bodies where sewage plants were located. This caused water pollution. As a result of this discovery, most cleaning product manufactures had removed phosphates from their products. Soon, this became a mandatory ban. The only product which did not have this restriction was dishwashing products. Most manufacturers claimed that it was impossible to make these products without phosphates. That was not true then, and it is not true today. As a result of this find, in 2006, Washington passed legislation banning phosphates from all cleaning products, including dishwasher products.

Cleaning Products Containing Sodium Hypochlorite: There are several cleaning and disinfectant products, which contain sodium hypochlorite that have been banned in the United States over the past 20 to 30 years. This is because these products can irritate the nose and lungs. It can also cause burns on the skin. There have also been many complaints of dizziness, vomiting, and nausea in people who have used these products.

Window Washing and Waxing Products Containing Isopropanol (Methylethanol): Products containing this chemical have been banned since the 1980’s. Over time, hundreds of household cleaners have been recalled due to the dangerous effects of this chemical. Over the years, skin irritation, chemical burns, and respiratory issues have all been reported.

Household Cleaners With Dangerous Chemicals Which are Still on the Market

Dangerous cleaning products that are still on the marketWhile U.S. Legislation and the EPA are banning certain chemicals and household cleaners, there are still hundreds of dangerous ones on the market. It is important to know which products are dangerous and why. This is the best way to protect your health and the health of your family.

Citra-Solv Cleaner & Degreaser: Because this product comes in orange, you may think that it is all natural and safe. This is not true. These sprays contain d-limonene. When this chemical reacts with the ozone in the air, it can form lung penetrating particles to enter your lungs, called carcinogen formaldehyde. This can cause respiratory problems.

Mr. Clean: Many people use this product because they believe that it is safe and effective. This is not entirely true. Mr. Clean products contain quatenary ammonium compounds. These compounds can trigger asthma attacks for those with compromised respiratory systems.

Whink Rust Stain Remover: This product boasts its ability to brighten up your toilet and sink. Its label also states in fine print, “may be fatal or cause permanent damage”. The chemicals in this product can penetrate the skin, and attack the underlying bone and tissue.

Spic and Span Multi-Surface Floor Cleaner: This product contains nonylphenol etoxylate. This ingredient is toxic to the environment and can also disrupt your hormonal system.

Ajax: Ajax has been available for almost 100 years. Considering that this product contains formaldheyde, a cancer causing agent, it is a wonder why this product has not been pulled off the shelves yet.

CVS Fume-Free Oven Cleaner: This product’s name says fume free, however, if it really was fume free, why would the label tell you to use in a ventilated area to protect yourself from harmful vapors. This product contains an ingredient which is linked to cancer.

Drano Professional Strength Kitchen Crystals Clog Remover: The label on this product states that it can cause blindness or death. If there are any crystals left lodged in the plumbing, it can mix with other products being washed down the drain, causing a very dangerous chemical reaction.

Simple Green Concentrated All-Purpose Cleaner: This product states that it is a green product, however, it contains 2-butoxyethanol, which is far from green. It is a solvent which soaks into the skin, and damages red blood cells. If you do not dilute the product like the label states, this product can be even more dangerous.

Scrubbing Bubbles Antibacterial Bathroom Cleaner: This product contains 10 percent of butoxydiglycol. It is a solvent which can irritate and inflame the lungs. Products containing this solvent have already been banned in Europe.

Up & Up: This product makes a toilet bowl cleaner and glass and surface wipes. The ingredients on the label list only two, therefore, you have no idea what is actually in this product.

Clean home without toxic chemicals

Keeping your home clean is very important. A clean home looks nice and keeps your family healthy. It is important to know which products will clean your home safely, and which chemicals in cleaning products will clean your home while making you sick. Having this information can protect you and your family from serious health problems.

Tips on choosing safer products: EPA – Safer Choice