I was talking to my mom the other day about trying to use more natural or green cleaners.  She already thinks I am a little “reactionary” to environmental issues, so why not add more fuel to her fire?  Now, she is the queen of cleaning.  She used to clean houses for a living.  Not that she liked to clean other peoples houses but she LOVED to keep a clean home.  Now cleaning is a great hobby to have (for somebody else, other than me), but not always great for the environment or your home health. 

Mom uses a different cleaner for every little thing, she washes her clothes by some crazy sorting system (i.e. one load is fuzzy casual whites) that results in several small loads, and she uses twenty million paper towels.  (By the way, twenty million is one of my favorite numbers.  Much more impressive than one million when exaggerating.)  So you can see that when we are talking about using more natural cleaning ways, she laughed and said, “You could try it but we’re all going to die one day from cancer anyway.”  Did I mention she is also the eternal optimist?  Okay, so she’s not but we’ll keep her anyway 🙂  “What’s the big deal anyway?  We’ve been using cleaners for years, what’s a few more?”

Okay mom, here’s your explanation.  Here’s the big deal…  Also, since I am part of a more liberal/adventurous generation (as you always point out), I would like to say that maybe we should know better now and change can be good. 

Here’s some goodies you can find in all those cleaners and what they have the potential to do to people’s health and the environment: (info from www.lowimpact.org

phosphates: (washing-up liquid, washing powders); too much for sewage system, leads to algal blooms in rivers.
paradichlorobenzine: (toilet blocks; deodorisers) possible carcinogenic.
chlorine: (bleaches) irritant, corrosive, can produce toxic gases when mixed with other cleaning fluids.
petrochemicals: (furniture polish, high-strength cleaners) eye, skin and respiratory irritant; can contain the carcinogen benzene.
sodium hypochlorite: (bleaches) corrosive, kills bacteria in sewage farms, eye, skin, respiratory irritant.
artificial musks: (air fresheners) liver toxin
formaldehyde: suspected carcinogen.
perchloroethylene: (dry cleaning) toxic air pollutant, probable carcinogen, a tiny amount will contaminate groundwater for many years.

 Okay mom, there’s why it’s a big deal.  Even if we still don’t know for sure what these chemicals may/will do, I don’t want to take that chance.  But you can keep on keepin’ on with your chemical household warfare.  I’ll just keep saving for a really nice clean “home” for you when your skin starts falling off in your old age.

PS.  You know we love you….right??