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Dangers of Chemicals in Household Products

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Dangers of Chemicals Found in Household Products

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Western Governors University
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Dangers Of Chemicals Found In Household Products
Many household products that we use daily and are very important in our homes, work environments and schools have become a health risk. This is because many of these household products we use to keep these places clean and to maintain a good health contain toxic chemicals. If fact, some cleaners are among the most toxic products found in the home. Many of us using these products are unaware of the dangers and the health risk they pose. There are agencies, organizations and a variety of groups that are working towards making the consumer aware of the dangers through research. This research has shown that chemicals in our household products are dangerous and should be closely regulated because accidental poisonings continue to increase, exposure can lead to failing health and there are links to slow brain development in fetuses and children. Accidental poisonings are on the increase in the United States. Every 13 seconds, a poison control center in the United States answers a call about a possible poisoning. More than 90% of these exposes occur in the home. The most common causes of poisoning among young children are cosmetics and personal care products, household cleaning products and pain relievers (Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 2014). These statistics can be very frightening. We often don’t even think that some of these products are dangerous. They have become such a part of our daily lives that we don’t always think about the dangers. As consumers we purchase these products expecting to use them for one thing, cleaning. But many of these products such as laundry detergents, bleach, toilet bowl cleaner, and window cleaners just to name a few are highly toxic if accidentally ingested or inhaled. They can cause permanent damage to our digestive systems, and or respiratory system.
There are some very key parts to reducing the amounts of exposure. Supervision and proper and safe storage can substantially reduce exposures in the home (Environmental Protection Agency, 2010). To reduce the amount of poisonings in our homes we must take action by keeping these dangerous household products out of the reach of children. We must advocate for our children to protect them from harm. Part of becoming advocates we must educate ourselves on these dangerous chemicals. We must also communicate this information to others.
Many consumers and consumer organizations have also begun to try to encourage proper warning labels to the manufacturers. Warning labels are also a key element in reducing the amount of poisonings. Manufacturers have sometimes embraced these efforts and other times resisted them (Jones, 2013). Over the years it has been argued back and forth about the importance of labeling and consumer protection verses the interests of commerce. For years consumers have lost this battle. Voluntary agreements between government and manufacturers over labeling and packaging of poisonous products can be inadequate to reduce accidental injuries and deaths from these products: Mandates are more effective (Jones, 2013). Although cleaners don’t list ingredients on most labels, you should look for things like danger, poison, corrosive, or may cause burns.
The government has been absent in providing consumers with the information they need to protect themselves against these dangers. Some different organizations as the U.S. Public Service Interest Group have asked our government to provide families with the information they need to protect their children from the toxic chemicals found in household products. Parents cannot be expected to deal with these issues on their own. The U.S. government must act to assist parents and ensure that products on the market are not potentially harmful for children (Sheppard, 2008). It is also important that we try to educate ourselves on the different toxic chemicals found in our household products.
We should also be aware that there are safer cleaning alternatives. Soap and warm water, baking soda, vinegar will all work when cleaning around the house. They have been proven to be very effective in household cleaning. There are several essential oils that can be used for disinfecting also. Thieves oil is an essential oil that is safe to clean with and has also been found to be very effective in killing germs.
Household products can cause immediate harm and can even lead to failing health. Some products that we use to protect ourselves from germs and sicknesses can lead to long term illnesses. Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and other chemicals released when using cleaning supplies contribute to chronic respiratory problems, allergic reactions and headaches. Studies are underway to assess how these chemicals affect people with asthma and other respiratory illnesses (American Lung Association, n.d.). VOCs can be found in aerosol spray products, air fresheners, chlorine bleach, and furniture polish just to name a few. Recent research found that even natural fragrances in cleaning products, particularly in air fresheners, may react with high levels of ozone from indoor sources, like some air cleaning devices, or from outdoor air to form formaldehyde and dangerous fine particles indoors. Particles are also common air pollutants that worsen asthma and other lung diseases and risk heart attacks and stroke (American Lung Association, n.d.). Another study published recently in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, found that regular use of cleaning sprays -- such as air fresheners, furniture cleaners and glass cleaners -- was linked to a 30 percent to 50 percent increased risk of asthma (Gordon, 2012).
Chemicals in cleaning products can also enter our bodies by absorption through the skin or through ingestion of household dust and chemical residues left on dishes and cutlery. Butoxyethanol (2-BE) is a chemical found in glass cleaners, laundry stain removers, and carpet cleaners to name a few. In laboratory experiments, high doses of this chemical has been shown to cause reproductive problems, skin and eye irritants also associated with blood disorders. Some other chemicals found in most cleaning supplies are coal tar dyes, benzene and formaldehyde, nonylphenol, and sodium dichloroisocyanurate dehydrate. All of these chemicals have been found that they cause kidney or liver failure or different types of cancer (Suzuki, n.d.).
Another chemical that seems to be found in many of our household products is triclosan. It can be found in soaps, toothpaste, cosmetics, and sanitizers. It is added to many consumer products to prevent germs or the spread of germs. Researchers at the University of California, Davis study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences link the popular chemical triclosan to muscle function impairments in humans, mice and fish. Exposure could eventually contribute to heart disease and heart failure (Garber, 2012). We use these products containing triclosan daily to kill germs that we come in contact with. Little did we know that this could actually be hurting us more than helping us. The levels found in humans have been steadily increasing said Dr. Issac Pessah. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has found it in about 75% of the population (Garber, 2012). This number does not surprise me with all of the hype surrounding the flu and other illnesses passed around.
Triclosan has also caused problems in other ways than just the exposure being dangerous. We all seem to be very aware of the importance of hand washing. We taught ourselves and our children that hand washing is key to fighting germs and staying healthy. This is very true. But while doing this we have potentially caused concern in other ways. Triclosan is an anti-microbial agent and there is concern that its extensive use in consumer products is contributing to antibiotic-resistant bacteria, thus limiting treatment options for microbial infections. The Canadian Medical Association has called for a ban on antibacterial consumer products (Suzuki, n.d.). This could create a huge problem with the amount of things that contain Triclosan. While we are trying to prevent the spread of germs we could be could be creating an antibiotic-resistant bacteria. The Center for Disease Control says that antibacterials may also interfere with immune system development in children (Lane, 2009) .This could become a night mare for many public facilities, such as hospitals and day care centers that daily fight the spread of germs.
We should also be aware that the exposure to these chemicals isn’t always at home. The environment and our work places have many chemicals that we come in contact with every day. Many of the household products we use are washed down our sinks and enter our water supply. This then becomes a danger to our environment. High concentrations of phosphates in bodies of water can promote harmful algal blooms and increase weed growth. Certain algae blooms produce chemicals that are toxic to animals and people who drink the water (Suzuki, n.d.). We can be exposed to toxic chemicals at work in many different ways. Cleaning products, pharmaceuticals, and even agricultural products cause dangers in our work places.
Finally, in thinking about all of the chemicals in our household products that we come in contact with every day, you might be somewhat alarmed of the potential dangers of pregnant women passing these on to their unborn children. There are links that show that these chemicals can affect the development of a fetus and children. In January 2010, a study by the University of California San Francisco confirmed that pregnant women carry multiple chemicals in their bodies that can be passed on to their fetus. A study evaluated data collected by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2003-2004 showing that overall, 43 banned as well as currently used chemicals were detected in 99-100% of over 250 pregnant women (Janssen, 2011). The health of pregnant women should be taken very serious so that these fetuses and children are protected.
Many of the 163 chemicals studied are known to be transferred to the fetus and have been linked to poor health outcomes, placing them at risk for birth defects or chronic illnesses later in life. Some of these chemicals detected have been banned for over 30 years (Janssen, 2011). It is very concerning that chemicals that have been banned are still showing up in pregnant women. We assume that we should be safe from these chemicals.
It doesn’t even seem right that there are toxic chemicals found in children’s products like teethers, sleep accessories, and bath books to name a few. These items contain phthalates and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) that are used as flame retardants. These chemicals have been linked to a host of health concerns, including impaired learning and memory, reproductive defects, cancer, and impaired immune systems (Shepphard, 2008).
Two of these chemicals have been banned in nine states, and the federal government has taken action to stop new production of these chemicals. However, the federal government still allows importation of products containing these chemicals (Shepphard, 2008). We generally rely on our physicians and the government to provide us with information to keep us safe from things that can be a danger to our health. . There is an immense disconnect and unacceptable delay between scientific data and public awareness and prevention, said Dr. Larry Silver, past president of the Learning Disabilities Association of America and current Clinical Professor at Georgetown Medical Center (Sheppard, 2008). Again, because of the delay we must educate ourselves to advocate for our children. Are children are vulnerable to these toxic chemicals because they interfere with their development and potentially health problems later on in life.
Many household products contain dangerous chemicals. First of all, they have seen an increase in accidental poisonings. These products have become such a part of our daily lives that we have failed to remember the dangers these pose to our health. Therefore, we must try to reduce these accidental poisonings from these products through supervision and proper and safe storage. These products also pose a huge threat to our health. They have the potential to create immediate and long term health problems like headaches, chronic respiratory illnesses, heart attacks, stokes, muscle impairment and even cancer. Next, the chemicals have shown to create problems in fetuses and children. Pregnant women should limit their exposure to these products to prevent the dangers being passed to their unborn children. It is certainly clear that these products are dangerous but are relied on so heavily in our daily lives. There are a few safe and simple things we can do to reduce the danger they pose. Replace these dangerous products with simple products like warm water, soap, vinegar, baking soda, and thieves cleaner just to name a few. However, if you do find that you need to use some of the products that contain toxic chemicals make sure you there is good ventilation, use a mask and gloves, and store these products safely away from children.

References
American Lung Association. (n.d.) Cleaning supplies and household chemicals. Retrieved from http://www.lung.org/our-initiatives/healthy-air/indoor/indoor-air-pollutants/cleaning-supplies-household-chem.html
Center for Disease Control and Prevention. (2014, May 19). Poisoning prevention. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/HealthyHomes/ByTopic/Poisoning.html.
David Suzuki Foundation. (1990). The dirt on toxic chemicals in household cleaning products. Retrieved from http://www.davidsuzuki.org/issues/health/science/toxics/the-dirt-on-toxic-chemicals-in-household-cleaning-products/
Environmental Protection Agency. (2010, March 11). Keep pesticides and household chemicals out of children’s reach. Retrieved from http://yosemite.epa.gov/opa/admpress.nsf/eeffe922a687433c85257359003f5340/8f35df0b0cda7701852576e300600d76!opendocument
Garber, L. (2012, August 16). Triclosan Dangers: Chemical Weakens Heart and Body in 1 Hour. Retrieved from http://naturalsociety.com/triclosan-dangers-weakens-heart-body-1-hour/
Gordon, S. (2008, July 25). Health Hazards in Household Cleaners Exposed. Retrieved from http://health.usnews.com/health-news/family-health/allergy-and-asthma/articles/2008/07/25/health-hazards-in-household-cleaners-exposed
Jannsen, S. (2011, June 16). Toxic Chemicals in Pregnant Women. Retrieved from http://www.nrdc.org/living/pregnancy/toxic-chemicals-pregnant-women.asp
Jones, M. M., & Benrubi, I. D. (2013). POISON POLITICS: A Contentious History of Consumer Protection Against Dangerous Household Chemicals in the United States. American Journal Of Public Health, 103(5), 801-812 12p. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2012.301066

Lane, Sustain. (2009, July 8). 10 Dangerous Household Products you Should Never Use Again. Retreived from http://www.alternet.org/story/141196/10_dangerous_household_products_you_should_never_use_again
Sheppard, J. (2008, October 15). New Report Documents Dangerous Chemicals in Baby Products - Healthy Child. Retrieved from http://www.healthychild.com/new-report-documents-dangerous-chemicals-in-baby-products/…...

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Chemicals

...Quaker Chemical Corporation is a leading global provider of process chemicals, chemical specialties, services, and technical expertise to a wide range of industries including steel, aluminum, automotive, mining, aerospace, tube and pipe, coatings and construction materials. Our products, technical solutions, and chemical management services enhance our customers' processes, improve their product quality, and lower their costs. Quaker's headquarters is located near Philadelphia in Conshohocken, Pennsylvania. Since 1918, we have been establishing and maintaining long-term relationships with leading enterprises in primary metals, metalworking, and other basic process industries all over the world. Today, we have business and production presence in every major manufacturing country in the world. Quaker is a $683.2 million dollar company headquartered in Conshohocken, Pennsylvania, USA, with regional headquarter locations in Uithoorn, The Netherlands, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and Shanghai, China. The company is publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange, and has a long track record of financial consistency and strength. While the use of business intelligence was beneficial to an extent for these three companies, it is important to remember that Hillman, Avnet and Quaker Chemical are relatively large companies who are publicly traded, have over a thousand employees, or a global presence. Do you think that Business Intelligence is a realistic application for small to medium......

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