There’s always a woman at the grocery store or man in a coffee shop who is blatant with the use of hand sanitizers: wiping down every surface in sight, attempting to disinfect the world. This opening of doors with paper towels may seem excessive, but undeniable is the omnipresence of germs in the world. Coughing children and unwashed hands have made everything but the home seem like a dangerous place. Disinfectants can kill germs, but unless households start purchasing less toxic products, the home is as dangerous as a daycare during flu season.
The most common cleaning supplies release the same types and amount of chemicals as industrial factories, and often indoor air pollution is higher than smoggy assembly lines. What are disguised as products that purify a home actually do the opposite. Formaldehyde, bleach, ammonia, and acetone are staples of household cleaning products, and any one of them can cause skin irritation or damage, and after prolonged exposure: organ failure and pregnancy complications. The man who disinfects everything he touches at a store may be safe from the common cold, but he’s actually making every building he enters a much more toxic place.
To remedy this, common sense and different buying habits are all that’s necessary. Air fresheners and floor waxes can promise a cleaner, refreshing home, but any synthetic dangerously disguises odors—it won’t eliminate them. Products that use natural ingredients are now more readily available, and a quick glance at ingredients can direct buyers to products that make a safer home.