8.06.2009

Wednesday Walkthrough . . . sterilizing

Recently one of my friends posted as their status: "Are u kidding? @ the entrance of the super market. What a great idea, lets wipe our hands with TOXIC Clorox bleach!"

Her first comment underneath was "'TOXIC' that sounds slightly dramatic..."

But is it? Clorox bleach wipes have always made me leery for a couple of reasons:

1) You can smell them from far away (even if they're tightly sealed in their container), and when you smell them up close, you tend to cough and choke involuntarily because the fragrance is so strong.
2) The smell doesn't go away for a long time after you use them. If my body's natural reaction is to eject those smells out of my body, I take that as a warning sign that I should stay away.

With that said, let's take a stroll through your sanitation and sterilization procedures...this will be a two-part journey.

Today, Clorox wipes. . .and the other wipes offered for you to clean your grocery carts, your desks, your counters, etc. My first google of "Clorox wipes toxic" brought up this report about household cleaners. The fact that it was done in Europe (where the toxicity standards are a lot higher than America, hence their toys are safer for your kids) doesn't surprise me. The findings are startling. You can read the entire report here, or I'll bullet point some of the more alarming stats below:

* The report examined three leading products: Clorox wipes, Pledge, and Lysol Disinfecting Spray.
* When the VOC's (Volatile Organic Compounds) were tested (keep in mind that anything above 500 is concern especially to those with sensitivities), Pledge registered at 273 ppb, Clorox at 1,000 ppb, and Lysol was 1,200 parts per million which means it was 1,000 times stronger than Clorox wipes--and we're using this to spray and "clean" our children's toys and play area?!
* Testing is going on now to determine the effect of these compounds in the workplace, and preliminary studies show that pregnant women are not only putting their own bodies at risk but also their babies'. Current findings are linking exposure to these chemicals with affecting the vision of their developing babies. (Compounds absorbed in the mother's body is transfered to the baby via the umbilical cord.)
* Clorox wipes had two primary hazardous ingredients: dimethyl benzyl ammonia chloride and dimethyl ethylbenzyl ammonia chloride--both are pesticides!
* Ingredients for Clorox wipes directly from their home page:

Water
Substrate
Isopropyl alcohol
Alkyl dimethyl benzyl ammonium chloride
Alkyl dimethyl ethylbenzyl ammonium chloride
Alkyl polyglucoside
Disodium EDTA
Fragrance
Preservative
Propylene glycol propyl ether
* Pledge doesn't list its ingredients, but one researcher found that some of the ingredients are sillicones, butane gas and propane.

I know at my local Whole Foods, they offer a wipe for cleaning off your shopping cart, but I haven't read the label yet to see what exactly I would be wiping on my cart. Please, do your research before trusting a label simply because it's on the shelf (and many think that therefore it must have been tested for safety).

There are many, many safe cleaning options to replace your Clorox wipes. This article has comprehensive list of cleaning solutions for all areas in your home. The daily green is also a good source for alternative solutions.

Which cleaners have you found that cause you to cough and choke if you get too close and inhale a little too deeply?

3 comments:

Joy said...

I don't have one to mention that makes me choke. But I just wanted to mention that I like method cleaning products.

Sarah said...

I would have to say most "regular" product do for me, if I am close enough to them/breathe enough of them. I like to use hydrogen peroxide and vinegar to sterilize - spray a little peroxide on your cutting board and watch it go to work:) I am still looking for a good (and practical) alternative to bleach for the very few things that I still use it for - any suggestions? (I use it occasionally on my worn ceramic kitchen sink and I find that most good alternatives are just really DIFFERENT chemicals, not necessarily "better".) Just a note: When using bleach use cold water only - using hot water will cause the chlorine to quickly evaporate, meaning you really are just breathing it in instead of cleaning with it!

Melissa at perryjayne.etsy.com said...

I really like to clean with vinegar/water. I use it on my counter tops and floors. The smell is gone by the time the water evaporates. It works and it's CHEAP.
But I HAVE to use comet on my sink to know I've killed the germs and bleached the stains. As for shopping carts. I'd rather deal with a little "toxic" cleaning product than the the Cold and Flu germs that are for sure there.