10 Dangerous Household Products You Should Never Use Again
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To protect you and your family from the hazards conventional cleaners pose, choose non-toxic, or natural cleaners. SustainLane reviewers have particularly enjoyed Method and Seventh Generation, which are commonly found on supermarket shelves. Bon Ami is a safe alternative to Comet and Ajax. If you have the time and want to go the extra mile, you can even mix your own using common household items like vinegar and baking soda. Check out these easy-to-make recipes household cleaners.
4. Chemical Insecticides and Herbicides
Since the purpose of these products is to kill pests, you can bet that many of them have ingredients in them that are also harmful to humans. For example, the active ingredient in Round-Up -- a weed-killer popular with gardeners -- is known to cause kidney damage and reproductive harm in mice. And cypermethrin, one of the active ingredients in the popular ant and roach-killer Raid, is a known eye, skin and respiratory irritant and has negative effects on the central nervous system.
There are several companies that sell natural and organic weed- and pest-control products. Buhach makes a natural insecticide from ground chrysanthemum flowers that controls ants, flies, fleas, lice, gnats, mosquitoes, spiders, and deer ticks, among other pests. Boric acid is an effective, natural solution for cockroaches as well; sprinkle it around baseboards, cracks and other places likely to harbor roaches. You can use this boric acid recipe to control ants. For weeds, check out E.B. Stone Weed-N-Grass or try spot-spraying with household vinegar.
5. Antibacterial Products
The widespread use of antibacterials has been shown to contribute to new strains of antibiotic-resistant “super-bugs.” The Center for Disease Control says that antibacterials may also interfere with immune system development in children. Triclosan -- the most common antibacterial additive found in more than 100 household products ranging from soaps and toothpaste to children’s toys and even undergarments -- accumulates in the body. In a study conducted by the Environmental Working Group, 97 percent of breast feeding mothers had triclosan in their milk, and 75 percent had trace amounts of the chemical in their urine.
Make it your goal to be to be clean, not germ-free. People who are exposed to household germs typically develop strong immune systems and are healthier overall. Avoid buying antibacterial products or soaps containing triclosan. Soap and water is really all you need to clean most things. There are plenty of eco-friendly hand washes and other cleansers that are safe for you and easy on the planet.
6. Chemical Fertilizers
These are notorious for causing damage to our water supply and are a known major contributor to algal blooms. Whenever it rains or a lawn is watered, the runoff goes straight into storm-drains, and untreated water is dumped into rivers, streams, and the ocean. This causes an imbalance in delicate water ecosystems, killing fish and degrading water quality.
If you have a lawn, choose organic fertilizers rather than chemical ones.
As another alternative to harsh chemicals, consider starting a compost pile to create nutrient-rich soil for your flower beds and vegetable gardens. You’ll be creating your own inexpensive fertilizer just by letting food scraps and yard trimmings sit. An added benefit: it’ll also help divert waste from landfills. SustainLane users have reviewed several compost bins here.
7. More Bulb for Your Buck
A Compact Fluorescent (CFL) bulb uses just a fraction of the energy regular light bulb uses. When your current bulbs burn out, swap them with CFLs, and start calculating your savings. General Electric has an online calculator that shows you just how much money you can save by making the switch.