Home Air Quality and Health

My daughter, a healthy young lady, began developing symptoms of allergies a few months ago. Some of the symptoms we observed were red, itchy, watery eyes, coughing, headache, fatigue, and nasal discharge. I started keeping track of when this happened and made an awful discovery. Every time she cleaned her room or I cleaned the house these symptoms would develop. It could be possible that dust mites and dust particles caused this because we have animals but this happened even when I used air freshener or cleaned the counters. I wondered: “Could household cleaners cause allergic reactions?” After some research and testing in my home the answer became a definite – yes.

“A growing body of evidence suggests that environmental exposure binnenmilieu to pollution, household chemicals and other substances in early life may increase the risk for allergies and asthma in children, explains Carl Gustaf Barenlag (Karlstad University, Sweden) and colleagues in the journal PloS One.” (Cowden, Mark; 2010) As a young mother I was cleaning constantly when my daughter was a baby. Her room was disinfected daily and I felt like a good mother, keeping all those nasty germs away from her. I didn’t know that I could have been contributing to injuring her health. I experimented some with the cleaners I used in the home, replacing things containing ammonia and chlorine with a natural cleaner. This reduced her symptoms in terms of the frequency of their occurring. Then another interesting phenomenon occurred. Every time I walked down the isle of cleaning products at the store I went into a coughing and sneezing fit, eyes watering and all. This was after using a more natural product in my home for only one month. I tried this multiple times to be sure it wasn’t all in my head. It wasn’t. It was all in my lungs and thus…in my bloodstream.

This is when I began my quest to discover what was in those cleaners. Many of the cleaners/air fresheners used in the home list some of the ingredients but, they are not required by law to list all of the ingredients. The levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) can be measured in the home. VOCs are fumes that can irritate airways causing narrowing and difficulty breathing. It is important to remember that the lungs bring oxygen into the blood system. Anything in the oxygen enters the blood stream and is transported to other parts of the body. Are you comfortable with toxic chemicals causing potential breathing issues then entering your bloodstream and organ system including your brain? To make matters worse, manufacturers of cleaning products often mask the odors with toxic synthetic chemicals that smell pleasant but are equally dangerous. Researchers have found that the more spray household cleaners you use, the more likely