How To Replace The Domestic Chemicals In Your Home*

*This is a collaborative post*

Many of us are now becoming more increasingly aware of the effects of chemicals. You may even have heard discussions in recent news about this very topic and the effects chemicals can have not just on ourselves, but on the home and in the garden. Some chemicals indeed look set to be banned in the near future due to their impact on air pollution. Many of my friends are now making the switch to chemical free products and completely natural makeup. Chances are you're using products that contain domestic chemicals and although you may not be aware of this, they can actually have negative effects on your well-being. According to a recent study, regular household cleaning products such as shampoo and oven cleaner can contribute to up to half of VOCs found in the atmosphere. 
In todays post we're exploring the effects that domestic chemicals can have and how you can replace them with safer alternatives.

The fight against chemicals

Education is the key to change and as the results of more studies are being revealed, it's becoming more apparent just how harmful domestic chemicals can be. Although some of these are on their way to being banned, there are still others that remain on our supermarket shelves. Examples of these include:
  • Hand soap — some of these often contain the chemical triclosan which has been found to affect thyroid hormones in animal studies and possibly contribute to the development of antibiotic-resistant germs.
  • Researchers from the University of Iowa discovered that some kitchen cabinets emit PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyl compounds), chemicals which are under investigation as causes of cancer.
  • Pesticides — neonicotinoid pesticides put both honeybees and wild bees at risk. Although, the UK government has said it will support a complete ban on the outdoor use of bee-harming chemicals.
As mentioned above, many brands of hand soap have been found to contain the chemical triclosan which has been linked to health implications. It is also a resilient compound that is not destroyed on its way to the ocean and can therefore destroy bacteria and intervene with the food chain.
Scarily, researchers from the University of Iowa have revealed that some kitchen cabinets emit PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyl compounds), chemicals which have been found to cause cancer. These compounds occur as sealants breakdown in kitchen furniture. 
Neonicotinoid pesticides put both honeybees and wild bees at risk when used in any outdoor setting. The UK Government has already said it will support a complete ban on the outdoor use of these three bee-harming chemicals
Joost de Gouw, a scientist at the University of Colorado at Boulder and co-author of the study, said: Many of the organic compounds in these products are reactive once in the atmosphere and can contribute to formation of two major air pollutants, ozone and fine particle. In that sense, they contribute to air pollution in a very similar manner as cars.
  • benzene (which is found in detergents and plastics)
  • formaldehyde (in varnishes and floor finishes)
  • xylene aerosol paint concentrates, automobile body polish and cleaners, nail varnish
The combination of some domestic chemicals can be harmful too. The mixture of bleach and rubbing alcohol for example can create toxic chloroform and make you unconscious.

So... What can you use instead?

As strange as this sounds, pineapple plants can actually improve air quality and can help to reduce snoring or so was reported by NASA. Peace Lily can reduce toxins such as benzene, ammonia, ethyl and acetone and can prevent the toxins from spreading across rooms. Research found that this plant can improve air quality by as much as sixty percent!
Red-edged Dracaena rids the air of chemicals including xylene, trichloroethylene and formaldehyde (found in varnishes and gasoline) which causes lack of concentration and increased anxiety.
Formaldehyde levels in homes can also be reduced by ensuring adequate ventilation, moderate temperatures, and reduced humidity levels through the use of air conditioners and dehumidifiers. 

*The research in this post was gathered by Compost Direct, suppliers of garden bark mulch.

*Photo via Pexels

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