What makes a product "kid-safe"?
Sadly, most of our common household products pose serious risks to children like:
respiratory issues, reproductive issues, allergic reactions, cancer, asthma, poisoning, diarrhea, headaches, blindness, endocrine disruption, skin burns, and liver and kidney problems.
This is due to the toxic chemicals that are found in these products. The reason why common household products contain dangerous ingredients is because they are used to kill viruses, bacteria, fungi, and other pathogens, however, these same chemicals that are harmful to germs, can also be harmful to humans.
Many of these products can not only cause harm with direct exposure like through ingestion or direct application to the body, but also through indirect contact such as inhalation of fumes or by touching surfaces that have been exposed to the product. In fact, a recent study done by the EPA on human exposure to air pollutants indicated that indoor levels of pollutants may be two to five times (and occasionally more than 100 times) higher than outdoor levels.
The most common toxic products found in our homes include cleaning products like laundry detergent, toilet cleaners, bleach, dishwasher detergents, air fresheners, candles, and surface cleaners, or products that we use on our bodies like lotions, moisturizers, shampoos, conditioners, oral care, and body wash. These may be products that can be advertised as “kid-safe” or even marketed for children and are often more toxic than we are led to believe.
Out of roughly 62,000 chemicals that have been federally approved for use in the US, fewer than 300 have been required for safety testing by the EPA. This is because the majority of these chemicals have been around longer than the regulation requirements and are thus “grandfathered” in and low on the list for testing and also because of the lack of data for many of the newer ingredients.
Natural vs Non-toxic
You may be someone like me who thought my “natural” products were safe to use on or around my little. However, products advertised as “natural” may not be safe or chemical-free. This just means the product may contain naturally-derived ingredients (ingredients that have a natural origin but may have gone through a lot of processing) or have one natural ingredient added to the long list of chemical-based ingredients. Many brands can get away with calling their product “natural” because there are no current federal regulations that dictate standards for products that are labeled as “natural”.
Listed below are common ingredients found in our household products that are toxic:
Non-toxic products do not contain synthetic ingredients, chemicals, or any harmful or toxic ingredients to humans. These are products that contain plant-based and non-synthetic ingredients that are safe for humans. Simple as that! Now you may be wondering “but will these products still do the job and kill yucky germs?” and the answer is ABSOLUTELY! Our common household products can be replaced with equally as powerful non-toxic options that are safe and protect your little angels from dangerous germs. Powerful ingredients such as essential oils, distilled white vinegar and baking soda have been used for hundreds of years (or longer) and have had infinite amounts of successful usage.
Some studies have found that distilled white vinegar was found to be strongly antimicrobial and decreased the presence of Staph, E. coli, M. tuberculosis, and flu viruses. Other studies have found that essential oils like eucalyptus, tea tree, lemon, rosemary, lavender, citrus, lemongrass and peppermint are powerful disinfectants, are anti-bacterial, anti-microbial, deodorizers, anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, and antifungal. A recent study at the Florida SW State College found that “tea tree oil and lemon oil are effective in killing the E. coli bacteria”.
To conclude, products that advertise themselves as “safe for kids” or “natural” may not be safe for you or your family and can cause serious health issues. A simple rule to follow is to only buy products that market themselves as non-toxic or chemical-free. One thing I will note for any product is to introduce them with caution, especially if you have small humans around your home.
If you are ready to create a non-toxic space for your home and family, start taking small steps towards the non-toxic lifestyle. I recommend starting by replacing your most toxic products and work your way down the list. If you have trouble finding these products, please visit my website, www.thebotanicalhomestore.com, where all of my products are chemical-free, non-toxic and safe to use around your family home or reach out to me personally at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hugs and blessings,