Hazards of Floor Cleaners to Your Baby

Published: 04th May 2011
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When you have kids, you have to make sure that every part of your home is safe and clean. This includes floors. You have to make sure that all your floors are not only clean but also safe for your kids to crawl, walk and/or play on.

Kids, especially younger ones, put things in their mouths, and a toy that makes its way into your child’s mouth after it has been dropped to the floor poses serious health hazards. Kids are particularly vulnerable to exposure to harmful chemicals because their body systems are still developing. Their brains, internal organs, respiratory and immune systems will not be fully developed until they reach adolescence.

Floor cleaners, like other household cleaning products, fall under the Hazardous Products Act for a reason. Manufacturers are required to put hazard signs such "poison" and "flammable" to indicate how to properly store them.

Unfortunately, many floor cleaners contain toxic ingredients that are not always listed because they are propriety or trade secrets. What’s more, less than a quarter of chemicals used in cleaning products are subjected to a full safety investigation.

According to a State of California study, out of 2,435 poisonings in a one-year period, more than 40 percent were caused by disinfectants and other household cleaning products.

But what most people fail to understand is that, it is not just the toxic contents of floor cleaners that are harmful, but the odors and fumes they give off as well. The warning labels of floor cleaner containers only refer to toxic hazards from ingestion. But in fact, ingestion of chemicals only accounts for 10 percent of health problems. 90 percent are caused by inhalation of vapors and absorption of particles.

Some carpet cleaners, especially stain removers, are particularly hazardous. They contain chemical solvents that dissolve dirt without soap and water, but give off very strong odors. Other dangerous contents of carpet cleaners release hazardous fumes like formaldehyde, acids, pesticides, disinfectants, fragrances and many others. These may cause headaches, irritation to eyes, nose and lungs, asthma attacks, congestion, sneezing, coughing, fatigue, nausea and other symptoms.

If you have not switched to organic cleaners yet, open your windows after cleaning your floors and carpets to avoid build up of fumes and allow air to circulate.

Also, do not forget to wipe away any residue from floor surfaces that your kids might touch and put in their mouths.

Opt to use floor cleaners and other household cleaning product that are baby-safe and environment-safe. Some floor cleaners contain plan-based cleaning agents that are safe for your baby and the environment, but are just as effective at cleaning floor surfaces.

Or you can create your own baby-safe floor cleaning product. Sodium carbonate or soda crystals work well on floors and other surfaces. It is also an effective tea stain remover. Baking soda is another effective all around household cleaner. Just mix with water and spread the paste on any surface. Leave on for 3 minutes then rinse thoroughly using a scouring cloth and hot water. To clean carpets, you can use borax. It is a naturally occurring mineral that is soluble in water. It deodorizes, inhibits the growth or mold and mildew, removes stains, and enhances the cleaning power of soaps and detergents.

Deborah Williams is a child care expert consultant on a non-government organization promoting natural household floor cleaners and eco friendly cleaning.

BabyGanics is the manufacturer of natural baby products made with all-natural ingredients for effective and green cleaning products.

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