It’s not shocking when most of the cleaning staff get sick from the fumes and direct contact with chemicals, there’s something in the mix that greatly affects your health. Examples of harmful chemicals includes bleach, ammonia, and a wide variety of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are responsible to respiratory illnesses for people around the globe. They may be effective as a cleaning solution, but it can cause serious health damage – especially if your staff doesn’t know how to properly handle these chemicals.
The products that usually has hazardous chemicals:
- Bleach-based solutions and chemicals.
- Solutions that contains 2-butoxyethanol that’s also known as butyl cellosolve or ethylene glycol butyl ether (EGBE).
- Various disinfectants that are usually aerosols.
- Dust itself has chemicals like phthalates that can damage the liver, lungs, kidneys, and the reproductive system.
Researchers from The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) found out that the EGBE can actually affect the blood of the handlers. These chemicals can be absorbed through the skin and even through inhalation of fumes while cleaning – dangerously exposing them to the lingering toxins. The listed products above are considered hazardous substance.
The labels are there for a reason, and a little research won’t hurt to ensure the safety of your cleaning staff. It’s even better if you leave the professional cleaning to commercial cleaning companies to properly clean your building without anyone getting hurt. But since hiring a commercial cleaning company isn’t always ideal, you need to keep an eye with these products and their safer alternatives.
The dangerous toxins in your cleaning solutions:
- Phthalates. This is found in many household products like air fresheners, soap, toilet paper, and in other scented items. Scented items usually have this chemical, even if it’s not listed in the label. This chemical actually reduces sperm count, damage the liver, kidneys, and interfere with the testosterone that is needed for proper development. However, you can replace these scented chemicals with a different kind of cleaning solution – using essential oils and use fragrance-free organic products. It doesn’t trigger asthma and migraine as well!
- Triclosan. This is usually found in anti-bacterial soaps and detergents that are used for dishes, hand soaps, and surface cleaners. It actually produces drug-resistant bacteria and eradicates healthy antibiotics. Too much use of this will create a resistance for microbes and make people weaker to infections. Too much exposure to this will affect endocrine function and is also a carcinogen. Organic detergents and soaps with shorter ingredients list is safer. For sanitisers, make sure you pick the alcohol-based ones.
- Sodium Hydroxide. This chemical is commonly found in oven cleaners and unclogging chemicals and is usually known as lye. It’s corrosive and it can cause burns when you come contact with it through eyes and skin. Even inhaling this chemical can give you a painful sore throat for a couple of days if left untreated. The best way you can avoid these is through honest and tedious scrubbing. A mixture of baking soda white vinegar paste is your best bet in removing tough stains and drain clogged drains.
- Perchloroethylene (PERC). You can usually find these in upholstery cleaners, dry-cleaning solutions, and some spot erasers in stores. PERC is a neurotoxin that attacks the nerves and on the long run, a possible paralysis. It’s no surprise that most cleaning staff feel dizzy after handling this kind of chemical during their daily cleaning routine. It can be inhaled and the fumes still affect the people who use the recently cleaned items. Aside from using organic cleaners, you can contact cleaning companies to use special water-based technology that mainly uses steam and the like to remove stains and dirt. It’s healthier and lesser effort!
- Ammonia. Typically found in your choice cleaning and polishing agents for steel and metal items, as well as in glass cleaners. While this is indeed a wonder chemical that leaves no trace, it’s also dangerous since it’s a powerful irritant. While some chemicals take time fo you to feel the effect, it’s actually quite instantaneous. People who have respiratory diseases like asthma and lung issues are the most vulnerable for this chemical. It will also affect healthy people and eventually give them chronic bronchitis if used almost daily. It can even be deadly if mixed with bleach. The best way to remove those awful stains? Vodka for mirrors and reflective metals and toothpaste for silvers.
- Quarternary Ammonium Compounds (QUATS). This is found in fabric softener liquids and in cleaners that are usually antibacterial. They have almost the same effect with Triclosan by creating antibiotic-resistant bacteria that could make you weaker. Aside from that, it is also a skin-irritant and dermatitis. A regular contact of this can also give your respiratory problems and disorders like asthma. Get rid of your fabric conditioner and use vinegar instead. It’s cheaper, natural, and non-toxic that could make your fabric soft and clean as well. If you want a fresh scent, add some of your favourite essential oils to make the fabric smell good.