Are cleaning products making my family sick?

Kids and Pets and Cleaning ProductsIn my house we have only one kid, but, she has seven cats and two dogs in the house and other rescued guineas, geese and chickens who live in their own house. The issue of whether our cleaning products are safe for our kid and our pets is really important for us. We have too many creatures’ health at stake to risk using toxic cleaning products in and around our home and our pets.

Cleaning products comprise one of the sources of hidden toxins entering our bodies, our children’s bodies and those of our pets. We inhale the fumes from cleaning products and they touch and are absorbed by our skin, and they are often ingested in small quantities by us, our children and our pets when we use and touch things in our homes. We need to be concerned about the level of toxicity we put in our homes.  The EPA found that some homes have chemical levels that are 70 times higher than the outside air.  Part of this comes from the cleaning products we use in our homes.  Using safe and non-toxic cleaning products is easily within our control.

The ingredients in cleaning products are very loosely regulated.  There are insufficient studies done on the safety of ingredients used in cleaning products.  Even when studies are done which prove ingredients to be unsafe, products can and do often use these very ingredients proven to have potential health hazards; some require a warning on the label and many do not.  The toxins in some household cleaning products have been alleged to cause cancers, allergies, asthma, ADD, ADHD, Alzheimer’s, chronic fatigue syndrome, lupus, fibromyalgia, and a host of other auto-immune related illnesses.  Perhaps coincidentally, the number of auto-immune diseases, allergies and asthma cases has increased dramatically in the last 50 years. When I started looking at our cleaning products and researching them, I was amazed at how many very commonly used ingredients have been shown to have potentially horrible impacts on the health of my child and her pets.

Let’s look at bleach as an example of a commonly used cleaner with potential health issues for our kids and our pets. Bleach is one of the most commonly used cleaners in homes I have been in.  We all know that bleach is dangerous if directly ingested.  However, a new study published in Occupational & Environmental Medicine suggests that even just “passive exposure” to bleach in the home is associated with a higher probability of childhood respiratory illness and other infections.  Just being in an environment where bleach is used to clean, but not actually doing any of the cleaning, made children much more prone to illness. The risk of flu was 20 percent higher, the risk of recurrent tonsillitis was 35 percent higher and the risk of other infections happening again was 18 percent higher among children exposed to an environment where bleach was used as a cleaner.  (See, Casas L, Espinosa A, Borras-Santos A, Jacobs J, Krop E, Heederik D. “Domestic use of bleach and infections in children: a multicentre cross-sectional study.” Occupational & Environmental Medicine, 2015.) 

Bleach is not only dangerous for our kids, but also for our pets.  In a recent article on the 5 Most Common Household Cleaners That Are Dangerous To Pets, chlorine bleach was number one.  “This highly alkaline product is especially concerning to pets as it is denser than air, which means those poisonous fumes are pet level. For your pet, who breathes in faster than you do, that means more toxins are absorbed into their system. Though naturally occurring, chlorine in high concentrations can be deadly to pets. Avoid bleach whenever possible… Chlorine can be found in anything from laundry detergents to all-purpose cleaners.” So, chlorine and bleach are out for my house and my family.

As I researched the ingredients on my household cleaners, I found more and more scary studies and associations with disease.  My nose and my own skin’s reaction told me that many of the products were probably not so great, especially for my kid and my pets.  Luckily, we did not have any pressing allergic or breathing reactions in our home that we had to face.  I know of many people who have had children or animals with breathing and allergy problems; they did not have the luxury of time to research and make a plan.

In our house, we switched to a mix of eco cleaning products and homemade cleaners.  Some worked well and some didn’t.  Now, the genie was out of the box and I couldn’t stop looking.  I soon discovered that some of the homemade cleaning recipes also used ingredients which were suspect, such as borax.

I also discovered that just because something was labelled as an eco cleaner or a green cleaner did not mean it was as safe as I would expect.  I found out that some of the things I needed to be most concerned about would not be listed as ingredients as they were by-products left behind during processing and not an ingredient.  One serious example is 1,4 Dioxane which is considered to be carcinogenic. I found out that it is imperative to find a company which not only uses the right ingredients, but actually tests their products to ensure that 1,4 Dioxane, pesticides and other unpleasant surprises are not hitchhiking in our cleaning products.
So, to keep my kid and my pets safe, I needed to find products or ingredients which have been sufficiently studied to know that they are actually safe and a company which does enough testing to ensure that there are no hidden extra toxins in their green cleaners. My other choice was that I needed to make every single household cleaner myself from the most basic of ingredients. For a long time, I mostly did that; I used lots of organic white vinegar, baking soda and hydrogen peroxide for my cleaning.  (I must admit that I am still sick of the smell of vinegar…) It worked okay for most things.  It was tedious.

Watch this Short Video about Shaklee Home Cleaning Products


A friend of mine introduced me to Shaklee as a business opportunity.   I saw that and so much more.  Among other things, I had found a source for safe, organic and green cleaning supplies at a super economical price which worked and were completely tested.  Shaklee conducts over 80,000 quality tests annually to guarantee the purity and safety of each and every product. Every Shaklee product is 100% safe to use.
Here are just some of the ingredients on Shaklee's "NO" list:

• NO Parabens
• NO Triclosan
• NO Phthalates
• NO Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS)
• NO Sodium Lauryl Ether Sulfate (SLES)
• NO 1,4-Dioxane
• NO Propylene Glycol
• NO Volatile Organic Cleaning Compounds (VOCs)
• NO Hydrochloric Acid
• NO Ammonia
• NO Sodium Hydroxide
• NO Butyl Cellosolve
• NO Formaldehyde
• NO Bisphenol-A
• NO Petroleum Distillates
• NO Toluene
• NO Chlorine Bleach
• NO Dyes
• NO Trans Fats
• NO Artificial Sweeteners
• NO Toxic Inks
• NO Banned Substances

So, my family uses Shaklee cleaners. I trust that my kid and my animals are not exposed to toxins from our cleaners.  That is a huge relief to me.

Whether you use Shaklee or another company or make homemade cleaners, look carefully at the ingredients and byproducts in the cleaners which you use in your home.  The potential negative health consequences of not doing so are not worth it.

Testimony Disclaimer:  Testimonials on this website are based on individual experience which may or may not vary.