Healthy, clean, well-maintained spaces are what we all strive for, whether it’s at home or work. When it comes to keeping your home clean, cleaning supplies can help. As a result, our interior air is free of dust, allergies, and bacteria. Unfortunately, cleansing chemicals can have negative effects on the environment and the human body.
Commercial cleaning chemicals have an impact on the indoor and outdoor environment, resulting in pollution and waste.
- Water pollution: Thousands of chemicals from cleaning goods run into streams and rivers, polluting the water. Some of them survive in the environment and make their way into the food chain.
- Air pollution: Cleaning chemicals containing volatile organic compounds (VOC) can degrade interior air quality and contribute to outdoor smog. Furthermore, trucks emit carbon dioxide as a result of transportation.
- Waste: Many containers are not made of recyclable materials, which is a waste. Empty bottles, washing bowls and packaging frequently wind up in landfills. In addition, hazardous materials may have unique requirements, such as energy to transport and dispose of them.
Detergents (powders, foams, etc.) are in almost every product. In fact, 97% of common household cleaners contain at least some type of detergent. These cleaners contain compounds such as phosphates and bleach, which can end up in water supplies and cause health issues.
Detergents can also impact our environment in many other ways. They can include the use of fertilizers and other pesticides to grow cotton and corn, which is then harvested and processed into a sticky textile product that is used in detergent and cleaning products, such as fabric softener and laundry detergent.
What are the health hazards?
More than 2.1 million janitors work in the United Kingdom, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Chemical exposure causes damage to about 6% of janitors in the workplace. That’s just the professional cleaning crew. Cleaning products come into contact with all building residents in some form. Light cleaning activities include wiping down desks and counters. Furthermore, the volatile substances from cleaning products can be inhaled by everyone on the premises.
Chemical cleaning products pose a low risk of harmful health effects when used at regular levels. Nonetheless, minimising possible dangers is an important aspect of chemical management safety. Chemicals can irritate the skin, eyes, and throat. In concentrated forms, several commercial-grade goods may be harmful. Cleaning products pollute the environment by washing down the drain or evaporating into volatile compounds during normal use. Surfaces and cleaning tools can accumulate residue.
Environmental Impact of Bleach in Home
Bleach is a common household product that is being used every day by the average U.S. family. It’s used for cleaning, including for cleaning clothes. While there is much debate about whether bleach is harmful or not, if we take a closer look at its usage, one can see that it is significantly harming the environment.
Over the past several decades, bleach manufacturing home use has become a large scale industry. Since all these years, it has generated a substantial amount of environmental pollution as its environmental and social impacts have not been thoroughly assessed.
A study done by the Environmental Working Group looked at the usage of 8 common household chemicals for cleaning. Most of these chemicals were manufactured by companies based in the U.S. All 8 were tested for their impact on the environment.
Bleach was the only chemical to score the lowest of all, having a 43% impact on the environment compared to an average 65% impact for the other 6 chemicals.
Bleach Usage and Environmental Impacts
Bleach is also used in many household products, including dishwashers, laundry soap, laundry and dishwasher detergents, and some cleaning agents. It’s used to clean clothes, and it’s found in many laundry soap products. On average, consumers use 2600 liters of dishwashing liquid per year. As an average, households use 52 liters of dishwasher detergent per year.
When bleaching clothes and dishes, bleach is used at a rate of 44% in washwater and 22% in rinsewater. About 100 liters of water is used for cleaning dishes per year, compared to an average of 230 liters per household.
When bleaching dishes, bleach is used at a rate of 55% in washwater and 30% in rinsewater. About 13 liters of water is used for cleaning dishes, compared to an average of 4.2 liters per household.
Based on these numbers, and considering how many people still use bleach in their daily lives, it’s safe to say that almost half of the U.S. population use bleach everyday. When considering how much bleach the average household uses per year, the number of homes using bleach daily is more than a million.
Using bleach for cleaning can have major consequences on the quality of the water. Just like other chemicals, bleach is absorbed by soils and leaves a residue on it. When water from the soils or the soil is polluted, the chemicals can leak into the groundwater.
A study from the University of California, Riverside showed that when bleach is used in large quantities, it can leach and contaminate groundwater in the areas where it is being used. In a study done in the California towns of Pleasanton and Fairfield, large amounts of chloramines were found in groundwater, causing health problems for the local populations.
Many homes use bleach as a cleaning agent in their homes. But, many people don’t know how much bleach is required to clean different items and even if it is possible to clean a whole home in bleach.
If bleach is being used to clean clothing, it can contain traces of bleach in it. Most people wouldn’t notice the amount of bleach in their clothing unless they’re looking for it. However, when bleach is used to clean other items, such as dishes or even the silverware, it’s often not clear what percentage of bleach is still in the items.
For example, using a cloth and a cup of bleach in the sink can remove some stains, but the residual bleach will be noticeable after rinsing and if rinsing is followed by washing with detergent.
When the cloth and cup are taken outside, the bleach can leak into the air. As soon as it rains, the bleach can dissolve into the soil and could get into the groundwater, just like it did in Pleasanton and Fairfield.
Although bleach has harmful environmental impacts, it is a common ingredient in dishwashing products. Chlorine is commonly found in all kinds of household cleaning products and has been used in households for decades. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, one out of five dishwashing products contain chlorine.
In fact, bleach is the most widely used cleaning product in the U.S. In 2016, there was a 2.9% increase in the use of bleach for cleaning, compared to 2015.
Many chemicals that are in bleach, such as chlorine, can cause skin rashes. However, more than half of the water supply in the United States is not safe to drink due to its chemical content.
Exposure to Bleach Could Cause Chlorine Toxicity
Many people use bleach in their daily lives, but how many of them are aware of the risks that they might be taking with their health? In addition to the health concerns, another reason to be concerned about using bleach in our daily lives is the potential health impact that is being overlooked.
When bleach is used in the wrong way, it can cause chemical toxicity in the body. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has found that when people were exposed to a high concentration of chlorine, it caused symptoms that can include difficulty breathing and light-headedness. Even though it’s not the kind of toxicity that most people think of when they think about chlorine, it could cause serious health issues, especially for those who are already vulnerable to health conditions, such as elderly or children.
The highest amounts of chlorine are found in commercial cleaners. When compared to some of the cleaners that we use in our homes, commercial cleaners contain higher amounts of the disinfecting chemical.
Some common commercial cleaners that contain chlorine include, but are not limited to, bleach, phosphate, baking soda and Clorox Bleach. To learn more about the difference between these commercial cleaners, click here.
When it comes to cleaning the kitchen, I’ve found that Clorox Bleach is the most commonly used product in homes, as it is so effective at removing grease and grime. I even use it to clean the bathroom, because the cleaning and bleaching properties of bleach are so strong. I was shocked to learn about the potential health impacts of bleach, so when I had the opportunity to test products that claim to be natural, I was anxious to take on this project.
A new study published in the journal Scientific Reports earlier this month revealed that there are as many as 5.25 trillion plastic pieces floating in the ocean. It’s easy to believe that microplastic is a problem for the ocean, but what about the health impact of it on the human body?
Microplastic is known as plastic that is less than 5 millimeters in size. When found in the ocean, the microplastics enter our bodies through water, food and even by being blown into our nose and mouth. This is also known as “bycatch,” which is the name that scientists give to the byproducts that are created when plastic is used for packaging.
Microplastics can come from both water and land. In their study, the researchers found that when plastic is found in the environment, it becomes trapped in algal cells. This tiny piece of plastic can then migrate into the stomachs of animals. The only way for this microplastic to be cleaned out from the body is by passing the bacteria that live in the gut on to the digestive system and other areas of the body, where they will be ingested. Once they are ingested, the microplastics can be passed from one animal to another, spreading the plastic through the environment and into our bodies.
Microplastics can also be found in the environment, such as in lakes, rivers and oceans. When we eat fish that are eaten by other animals, these microplastics can be found in the fish as well. According to many of the studies that have been done on microplastics, most of the microplastics that we eat will eventually be ingested through the digestive system, where they will be eaten by our own bodies.
There is no research that has been done on the health impact of ingesting microplastics, but it’s very likely that microplastics can have an adverse effect on our health, as the plastics that we consume from other sources may not be filtered through the human digestive system.
Petroleum-based chemicals in cleaning products
A small amount of petroleum-based chemicals are used in the production of commercial cleaning products. Because these chemicals are present in everything, they often end up in our body via our skin. A recent study found that when people were exposed to one of these chemicals during a full day of testing, their blood and saliva tested positive for this chemical after just one exposure. The results showed that they were even more likely to have adverse health effects when exposed to a higher amount of the chemical.
This chemical has been named xylenes, which are similar to psoralens. Psoralens are what makes pine-scented candles such a problem to many people. Psoralens are also in many other chemicals, such as dry cleaning chemicals and many fragrances.
There are many ways that we can reduce our exposure to the xylenes. First, we can choose to purchase organic products instead of commercial cleaning products. We can also opt to use natural products on the floor instead of commercial products. A study was done with dry-cleaning chemicals, and there were many reports of people having adverse health effects as a result.
Even if you do not have allergies to fragrances, you may be experiencing adverse health effects. At their most extreme, xylenes can cause chemical burns to the skin, eyes and respiratory tract. The symptoms of xylenes include nausea, vomiting, itching and muscle and joint pain. They can also cause damage to the liver and nervous system.
To reduce your exposure to xylenes, try to use products that are fragrance-free, or limit your use of cleaning products that contain xylenes to just the cleaning surface. Even better, just buy products that are not made with xylenes in the first place. There are plenty of all-natural cleaning products that work as well, or even better, than commercial products.
The Tar sands lead to 20,000-40,000 tons of oil being spilled into the water every year. Chemical residues from home chemicals are also found in local waterways, leading to major environmental issues and human health issues.
Due to the exponential production of chemicals and other chemicals, the demand for carbon dioxide increases. The destruction of marine habitats due to the extraction of oil and gas also resulted in the death of 11,000 marine mammals and 1,000 sea turtles in the last decade.
Sustainable Cleaning with Eco-Friendly Products
When one thinks of “green cleaning,” they often assume it is the use of “natural” products, however, other, less well-known ways to cleanse the house include non-chemical products that do not add to the energy consumption of the home, household products that add natural, organic ingredients and clean with a light hand without harming the environment and eliminating the use of harsh chemicals such as bleach, which pollutes the environment.
Plastic waste’s impact on the environment:
According to a paper published in Science Advances, the amount of plastic used could soon treble. By 2050, the amount of plastic in the environment could be close to 10 billion metric tonnes. All of those water bottles, washing bowls, lotion bottles, food containers, and plastic bags will end up cluttering landfills and the environment.
According to a recent estimate, the entire amount of plastic produced since 1950 has been roughly 8.3 billion metric tonnes. The majority of plastics that wind up in the environment are purchased and discarded within a year of each other. This is because most plastic objects utilised in the foodservice business are disposable.
On the other hand, plastics are employed in the manufacture of appliances, electronic equipment, machine components, and construction materials.
What happens to plastic when it is used?
They end up in a landfill, where they decompose for hundreds of years. During thermal degradation, plastics are burned. Then, they’re taken to be reprocessed at a recycling centre. Currently, fewer than 10% of all plastic garbage in the United States is recycled. So while thermal destruction (burning) is used to deal with a small fraction of plastic trash, most of it ends up in landfills or elsewhere in the environment.
Plastic burning isn’t any better for the environment than throwing it out. Toxic gases and chemicals are released into the atmosphere during thermal degradation, lowering air quality and posing a public health danger.
Why should you buy eco-friendly products?
The environment should use green products. With green chemicals, the building is kept clean, and the interior air pollution is minimised. They are also less hazardous to building occupants and cleaning personnel. Packaging and shipping costs can be reduced by using concentrated cleaners. Products that are environmentally friendly employ packaging that may be reused or repurposed. There may be a reduction in the expense of appropriate disposal of leftover cleaners by using less hazardous cleaners.
Environmentally friendly products should have some or all of the following features:
- minimal packaging with reduced VOC levels and low energy consumption
Switching to Washing Up a Bowl That Isn’t Made of Plastic
Many of us want to cut down on how much plastic we use in our homes, and the kitchen is usually one of the first areas we start. Plastic wrap is discarded in favour of beeswax food wrapping. We say goodbye to plastic storage containers and say hello to stainless steel and glass containers. We say goodbye to plastic sponges and hello to natural bristle brushes that can be composted.
But when it comes to the ordinary plastic washing up bowl, we tend to get stuck. Is there a good plastic-free option that does the job without affecting the environment?
We went to great lengths to identify the best plastic-free washing up bowls available in the U.K., so you don’t have to.
We’re confident you’ll like the eco-friendly and fashionable options we uncovered, such as stainless steel, enamel, and rubber washing-up bowls.
Washing Bowls in Stainless Steel
One of the greatest alternatives to standard plastic washing-up bowls is a stainless steel washing up bowl. It will look amazing in your kitchen and speak volumes about your ethics and taste. In addition, it is easy to clean, quite hygienic and has a sleek and very modern appearance.
Dexam’s substantially sized 10-litre stainless steel mixing bowl is one of the best washing bowls. It’s about the same size as a typical washing up bowl, with a flat base that fits neatly into your sink, and it’s quite easy to clean.
This stainless steel washing up bowl is inexpensive, long-lasting, and well worth the investment for a plastic-free home.
Organic Rubber Dishwashing Bowls
The incredibly distinctive bowl by Normann Copenhagen may appear to be a little extravagant since it costs more than £50 at the time of writing.
However, it is sturdy, durable, and flexible enough to fit into almost any sink.
This award-winning washing up bowl is made of coloured rubber and comes in vibrant red, black, and grey. It also comes with a natural wood washing-up brush, is dishwasher safe, and is a very special replacement for that old plastic washing up bowl.
Unlike stainless steel or plastic, you won’t have to worry about scratches or fading, though be warned that tea and baked beans might stain the bowl.
Enamel Washing Up Bowls
If you want to add a touch of nostalgia to your plastic-free kitchen, you’ll love enamel washing up bowls.
Based on the iconic enamel wash bowls of the 1940s and 1950s, these bowls are light, easy to care for, and extremely flexible.
These lovely washing up bowls can be found in several places. Retro enamel bowls can also be found on Amazon. Before purchase, make sure you measure your sink and double-check that the enamel washing up bowl will fit before you part with any money.
As you can see, even though it’s difficult to locate a plastic-free washing up bowl, there are several fantastic alternatives. As an alternative, why not use a stopper in your sink’s bottom instead of a washing up bowl altogether? As a plastic-free option, it may not be as convenient as using a washing-up bowl.
How are Aquatic habitats being polluted by our detergent footprint?
Disinfectants such as nonylphenol have been found in water bodies and food chains. Contamination and contamination of water are major concerns nowadays. Fortunately, there is a solution. Toxic and dangerous chemical compounds are often dumped in water bodies. Waterborne illnesses in people and animals are only caused by disease-causing microbes such as bacteria and viruses.
Dishwasher-induced contamination of the world’s waterways has become a major worldwide issue.
Use eco-friendly detergents for the following reasons:
As an easier and less expensive alternative, conventional detergents may appear to be a good option to consider. Know that using traditional, chemical-filled detergents may negatively impact the health of you and your family and the rivers and aquatic life in the area?
Heavily processed chemicals and additives make up most non-eco detergents nowadays, and unlike traditional soap, they’re usually liquids rather than solid. Natural and non-toxic ingredients are used to manufacture organic laundry detergent or detergent powder; environmentally friendly dishwashing tablets; washing-up liquid; and toilet cleansers.
The first thing to note is that they are all natural, safe, and highly efficient. The second reason is that they are more environmentally friendly. For example, 149,000 barrels of oil might be saved annually if every U.S. family switched from petroleum-based to plant-based detergent, research by Seventh Generation found.
Which eco-friendly items should you invest in out of the many on the market? Be sure to use detergents that don’t include phosphates and aren’t tested on animals. They should also come in recyclable packaging. If you want to save energy, you should search for efficiency at 30°C. When using concentrated laundry soap, you may save money and water. Traditional laundry detergents are diluted with millions of litres of water before they are bottled, which wastes a lot of water. Listed below are some of the most effective and best-valued goods.
If you are looking for a non-biological powder for hand washing or automated and twin tub machines, then Bio D Washing Powder is the product you need. Whenever feasible, it’s manufactured from renewable raw resources, and it doesn’t test on animals or use animal byproducts. Aside from the Vegan Society and Naturewatch Trust certifications, Bio D is also approved by BUAV and the World Wildlife Foundation.
As we have come this far, using eco-friendly products helps nature from harmful chemicals and other waste products. Choose the eco-friendly way for a better future.
You can choose to purchase sustainable cleaning products, which contain less than 0.1% of detergents. They do not have the phosphates or bleach in the cleaning products that are linked to health issues.
You can avoid using chemicals altogether by using natural products that add natural ingredients to cleaning products and are not harsh. These products add only a few ingredients to their cleaning products. You can buy many of these natural products at your local grocery store or drug store.
Because of the decrease in oil prices, non-toxic products are more widely available, and the demand for more eco-friendly cleaning products has increased.
Many of these natural products are naturally derived, and have been used in the house for years. They are not only free of harmful chemicals, they are also safer to use.
Choosing to use products that are environmentally-friendly helps protect our home against the toxins in the air and the soil that contaminate the air and soil. It also benefits the earth by reducing the amount of waste that comes into landfills.