Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Have Asthma?

I've blogged several times about the hazards of household cleaning chemicals. This topic is always fresh on my mind for two reasons. First, I face a constant barrage of news articles publicizing the growing knowledge that our new-fangled chemicals pose long term health threats. Second, I clean my home regularly... I am one of those who follows a cleaning schedule. In my frequent cleaning episodes, I am consistently thankful that I have found safe cleaning products.

Here are my thoughts on one interesting article that crossed my desk yesterday:

The article described a 12-week study published in the in the January issue of Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. Researchers determined that women with asthma exhibited a higher number of respiratory tract symptoms when exposed to commercial cleaning products. In case this is the first time you've heard about the associated risks of cleaning products, consider this a red flag for women who struggle with asthma and use toxic spray cleaning products.

Dr. Jonathon A. Bernstein, of the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, and colleagues found that "women in both groups exhibited increased upper and lower respiratory tract symptoms in response to cleaning agents rated mild in toxicity, suggesting a subtle but potentially clinically relevant health effect of long-term, low-level chemical exposures."

Translation: You don't have to have asthma to experience respiratory symptoms when you clean with a toxic cleaning product. Even products rated mild in toxicity still affect your lungs and airways. However, if you have asthma, you are more likely to experience greater symptoms. As an extension, we must take into account long-term, cumulative effects of toxic chemicals in addition to the respiratory effects we notice as we are using them.

I like to read scientific articles. You may or may not... but does a review of a health-pertinent article help you out? Comment to let me know if you'd like more posts like this.


noel2momof3 said...

What is your cleaning schedule? I clean house constantly and just hope to have it done by the weekend...

Amy Ellen said...

Hi Noel! This is the schedule that works for us... believe it or not, we've followed it for more than four years... it works that well! At first, I needed hour-long blocks for the daily chore because I was taking the time to teach the children while we worked together. Now, with Rainbow and Spiderman being so productive, we only take about 30 minutes for the daily chore... and that is with me "teaching" Witzy and keeping Tickle out of trouble.

Monday: bathrooms. We quick clean one and deep clean the other, alternating each week.
Tuesday: laundry and towels
Wednesday: vacuum and organize as we go
Thursday: mop, dust, clean highchairs, water plants
Friday: laundry and sheets

We'll do some extra cleaning this summer -- like fans, curtains, cupboards and such.

Hope this helps!

Melanie and Josh said...

I have a similar system (not that I'm that great at keeping to it...but some weeks are better than others). Since we live in a small house, this system works for me:
Tuesday:Living Room
Thursday:Bedroom 1
Friday Bedroom 2
with time each day set aside for dishes and a load or 2 of laundry.This helps the cleaning not be so overwhelming...I know that if I can just accomplish that one room for the day, the rest can wait until another day...and also if we have guests coming over, it's not the WHOLE house that needs a major cleaning at one time...since some were done earlier in the week.
I can't wait until Jack can follow in the footsteps of his cousins "Rainbow" and "Spiderman" and help. I'm so proud of my nieces and nephew! We're working on it!

Mrs.KAOS said...

Hi Amy Ellen,

Thanks for the article, I want to add one thing though. Beware of the new "eco" cleaners that are coming out. I was talking with my allergist the other day and she said that she had both seen and read about a number of people having asthma and other respiratory allergic reactions to cleaners like the Clorox Green Works products.

Don't be fooled by advertising.

P.S. Amy Ellen, Thank you for being the first person to "follow" my blog :)

Amy Ellen said...

Yes, Mrs Kaos. Not all green products are created equal. I am very skeptical about Clorox Greenworks, as I mentioned in a previous post. Having a green product does NOT make a company green. You want to buy from a company with a longstanding commitment to health AND environmental integrity.