here is mounting scientific evidence that neurotoxic chemicals are hiding in household cleaning products. At least 200 chemicals are potentially neurotoxic in humans, and over 1,000 are neurotoxic in animals. The number could be in the thousands, but with all the loopholes in the system, no one really knows. It could take centuries for adequate testing on all questionable chemicals. You should consider all chemical dangerous until proven safe.
What Are Neurotoxins?
I’m glad you asked! Neurotoxins are substances that alter the function of the nervous system by damaging brain cells or the nerves that carry signals around the body. Some researchers regard substances that cause temporary changes to the nervous system to be neurotoxic.
Disorders associated with exposure to neurotoxic substances include impaired intelligence, impaired regulation of emotional responses, behavioral problems including attention deficit and hyperactivity disorders (ADHD), depression, anxiety, memory formation, impaired physical coordination, and increased risk of neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases.
For example, in the developing fetus, some chemicals may prevent brain cells from forming enough contact points with each other to effectively communicate. Other chemicals can impair IQ and cause behavioral problems by altering levels of hormones that are vital for the development of the fetal nervous system. In this respect, endocrine disruptors that target the thyroid system are of particular concern.
As adults, chemicals and pollutants can accelerate the rate at which adult nerve and brain cells degrade and die by increasing oxidative stress in the body. This is thought to increase the risk of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases, bipolar disorder, and chronic fatigue syndrome.
Facts You Should Know
- Unlike pharmaceuticals or pesticides, industrial chemicals do not have to be tested before they are put on the market. Under the law, chemical producers are rarely required to provide the federal government with the information necessary to assess safety.
- There are 80,000 chemicals currently used in the United States; most haven’t been adequately tested for their effects on human health.
- There a new law requiring EPA to test tens of thousands of unregulated chemicals on the market and the roughly 2,000 new chemicals introduced each year. The EPA will review a minimum of twenty chemicals at a time, and each has a seven-year deadline. After a new rule is introduced, industry may have five years to comply. At that pace, it could take centuries for the agency to finish its review.
- Current there is no labeling requirement for ingredients that may cause harm.
Don’t trust the products you’re using. Eliminate and replace all your toxic cleaning products with green products. It’s all or nothing in Phase One—if you continue to use just one or two of your favorite toxic cleaning products, there is a chance that you or your child’s ADHD symptoms will continue. Green products clean just as well as toxic cleaners and come with little to no side effects. Green products can be more costly, but using them conservatively can make up for the difference in price.
Educate Your Children
Teach your family the importance of using green products so they develop healthy habits for the future. Every time my daughter was present while I was cleaning, I would stop and point out that I was using green products. Then I would ask her a question. “Aniston, why do we use green products?” Aniston would answer, “Because green products don’t trigger my ADHD symptoms, and I should never use toxic cleaners because they’re dangerous.” The days I forgot to ask her, she’d ask, “Dad, are you using green products?” I know I planted the seed correctly. It sounds corny but it works.
Start the Removal Process
I recommend you grab a box and start in the kitchen. Check the counter and under the sink, check the pantry, bathrooms, and laundry room, and finish in the garage. Once you have everything removed, check again. Please depose of the toxic products at a hazardous waste facility. Next, head to your local store and replace those products with green, free and clear products, or you can purchase products I recommend below.
Throwing Away Money
I’m a frugal person so throwing away hundreds of dollars’ worth of products didn’t sit well. I did, in fact, end up throwing everything away, only because I didn’t focus on what I was losing. I focused on what I was gaining. So remember this! You’re not throwing away money—you’re investing in the future. When you remove detrimental chemicals from your home, you will feel better mentally, physically, and emotionally. You won’t get sick as often. Think about it—fewer doctor visits, less medication, and less sick days. You’ll save money and potentially add years to you and your child’s life.
Here’s What Not to do with Toxic Cleaners:
- Don’t flush them. Flushing toxins down your toilet can contaminate waterways.
- Don’t pour them down the drain. These toxins can pollute rivers, lakes, and streams.
- Don’t dump them in your yard. They will poison plants, animals, and you.
- Don’t throw them away in the trash or recycle bin. It’s illegal to throw hazardous waste in with your trash. They will end up in a landfill where they leak into the soil and air.
- Don’t burn them. This can cause poisonous fumes, a dangerous explosion, and air pollution.
Here are a few tips to help you safely dispose of toxic cleaning supplies:
- Treat cleaning supplies as hazardous waste. Hazardous waste is any product that is poisonous or toxic, can catch on fire, or could mix with other chemicals to cause an explosion or dangerous reaction.
- Check Earth911.com for disposal rules in your area. Just type in your zip code and your options will appear. I typed in “household cleaners” and my zip code. A number of hazardous waste collection programs came up.
- Many cities and towns have regular collection days or local collection sites that can take the toxins and dispose of them properly. Contact your local Department of Public Works for more options.
Cleaning Crew instructions.
If you use a cleaning service instruct them to only use green products in your home. If they don’t use green products then prove them with yours. I make a habit of placing everything out on the kitchen counter so easily accessible, then I instruct them to leave there supplies in the vehicle.
How Long Before I Notice Results?
Everyone’s chemistry is unique, and results will vary based on toxicity levels in the body. Don’t expect immediate results. As time passes, the body will discard the toxin and the symptoms will vanish. However, in Phase Four—introducing supplements and repairing gut health—I recommend Calcium-D-Glucarate, a supplement that accelerates the removal of toxins and provides faster results.
Here is a list of products that my daughter and I use. All products were purchased through Amazon.com (direct links are included to make your life easier). I found it difficult to find good green products locally so Amazon was convenient. With an Amazon Prime account, you get free two-day shipping on most products. Reordering takes only a few clicks.
Liquid Dish Soap
Toilet Bowl Cleaner
Tub – Tile Cleaner
Are you ready for phase two?