2. Cleaning Products And Cancer

Most cleaning products are based on artificial chemicals, and some of those chemicals have been linked to cancer and other health issues. But uh oh, experts say chemicals in our indoor air may have concentrations of up to 100 times higher than outdoor air.

Air fresheners are among the worst offenders; many contain either Isopar, which is deodorized kerosene, or paradichlorobenzene, both of which are carcinogenic and toxic to the lungs, liver, and kidneys. Be particularly careful when using anything you spray in the air or wipe on touchable surfaces. Among cleansers, oxygen bleach cleansers are particularly dangerous. You also want to watch out for products containing chlorine bleach or ammonia. Neither of these are good to breathe.

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The worst practice, experts say? Spraying chlorine bleach in the shower or bathroom, where the steam makes you more likely to breathe it in.

Safer substitute: There are lots of good “green” cleaning products on the market that use natural ingredients to scrub, disinfect, and shine. Look for products containing citrus oils and enzymes. Or make your own using baking soda, lemon juice, and vinegar added to water.

This list was written by Melanie Haiken for Caring and was last updated on October 9, 2012. Photo by Alice Gould/Flickr.

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