If you’ve been waiting on a particular study to come out that would finally get you to move away from mass-produced cleaning products, a group of scientists at University of Bergen in Norway have just done you a huge favor.
As reported in Newsweek, the researchers of the study offered the startling comparison that the regular use of cleaning sprays has the same effect on women’s lung function as smoking a pack of cigarettes a day. What the what?! I know, right?
We’ve known for a long time that smoking cigarettes doesn’t exactly help our lungs work at peak performance. If this is news to you, I dare say you’re more than a little out of touch. The evidence has been out for decades now, so let’s assume that no more proof is needed for this idea.
Back to the study. Based on the European Community Respiratory Health Survey, the folks in Norway studied 6,000 participants over a period of two decades. Their research led to the following main discoveries:
- Cleaning sprays are the biggest problem as they linger in the air for hours. The small particles can travel into the lungs, which can cause them to age faster—or even create infection.
- Those who work with these products regularly are 40 percent more likely to develop asthma.
- Women are more susceptible than men. This begs the question: is the disparity due to the fact that more women than men work at jobs requiring the use of cleaning products, and/or that they do most of the household cleaning?
By now it should be apparent that we need a healthier way to clean, and the researchers behind the study have some suggestions. They state that we don’t need a bunch of chemicals to clean—a bucket of water with soap should do the trick.
Another option is microfiber cloths. I’m happy to say that my family has been using these for over ten years now, ever since my sister-in-law introduced us to Norwex, a company with the global mission of “Improving quality of life by radically reducing chemicals in our homes.” In 1994, they released their inaugural product—a microfiber cloth requiring nothing but water to get your cleaning jobs done.
If you’re of the mindset that you need some sort of official cleaning product for your house to actually be clean, do some research on which ones are the least toxic. A great resource for this is Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is! by Stephanie Selene Anderson. You can also check out some of the links in my blog post “Five Resolutions for Your Home This Year.”
I trust you’re finally convinced that you should change the way you clean, yes? Good. Now, go spread the word…
Image from iStock/Dejan_Dundjerski.