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Most Hazardous Chemicals Green Building Professionals Must Avoid

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Seemingly harmless chemical products like air fresheners and cleaning agents could pose a serious health risk to you and your family.  They are also terrible for the environment.

If you are concerned about preserving the planet and keeping everyone that inhabits your home safe, then you need to avoid them when building a new property. You should avoid using them in the construction of the home and keep them out after it has been finished.

The Importance of Avoiding the Use of Hazardous Chemicals When Building an Eco-Friendly Home

For most people keeping their homes safe from safety hazards is a priority. However, sometimes it’s hard to tell which of these everyday household chemicals threaten your family’s health.

The average family spends roughly $600 on cleaning products each year. While it’s normal to keep your house sparkling clean, some of these cleaning products are chemical hazards and dangerous to the environment. Some of them are carcinogenic, while others have been linked to reproductive health issues.

Today, we’ll look at some of the most environmentally harmful chemicals found in your home.

Bleach

Apart from being very corrosive, bleach can also pose other risks to your health. First, it can irritate your respiratory system if you inhale it. Bleach kills microbes, and when you inhale bleach regularly, it kills off parts of your respiratory tract. It also kills microorganisms if it is released into the environment, which can be terrible for plant and water life around your home.

However, inhaling bleach fumes is only dangerous if you do it every day. Inhaling the fumes once a week won’t do much to your lungs. Just keep your small children away from the fumes because their respiratory system is much more sensitive.

Bleach also irritates the skin and eyes when they come in contact with it. Wash away any bleach that touches your skin or eyes. Inhaling or ingesting too much bleach can lead to pulmonary edema and even a coma.

That’s why it’s important to keep bleach out of reach from small children who love to eat or drink anything they can get their hands on. Use latex gloves and a mask if you use bleach every day.

Ammonia

Ammonia is an ingredient in fertilizers, a water supply purifier, and a refrigerant gas. It occurs as an odorless gas with a sharp, almost suffocating odor. 

Many household cleaning products, like window and toilet cleaners, contain ammonia.

Ammonia fumes can irritate the lungs, throats, nose, and lungs. They are especially dangerous for people with heart and lung problems or asthma. They are also very dangerous to all forms of wildlife, so people that care about the environment should avoid them.

Never mix ammonia with chlorine-based products found in your home. Doing so doesn’t make the cleaning agent stronger, but only more dangerous. Mixing the two chemicals produces a highly toxic and potentially fatal gas.

Air Fresheners

You probably didn’t realize that air fresheners were so dangerous to you and the surrounding environment. Although they smell good, air fresheners are a source of indoor pollution. They contain substances like formaldehyde and toluene, which scientists attribute to numerous health effects, including neurotoxicity and cancer.

Most air fresheners contain formaldehyde which can irritate your skin and eyes. Research suggests that continued exposure to formaldehyde can lead to certain types of cancer. They can also cause pulmonary edema and disrupt the nervous systems of sensitive individuals. Furthermore, they can be deadly to small animals, such as frogs and mice.

Furthermore, air fresheners can stick to walls, surfaces and get absorbed by furniture, which means the harmful effects of the chemicals linger even when you stop using them. Consider switching to natural alternatives like sandalwood, orange rose, and tea tree eucalyptus to minimize the harmful effects of air fresheners.

Antifreeze

Antifreeze contains ethylene glycol, methanol, and propylene glycol, all of which are very toxic when ingested. Antifreeze is great for cooling your engines but is terrible to the body, even in small amounts. Antifreeze damages the heart, brain, kidney, and other internal organs.

The side effects of ingesting antifreeze appear after several hours. For the first few hours after consuming it, the body works hard to break the ethylene glycol into other substances. These substances then harm your heart, brain, kidney, and nervous system.

After a couple of hours, you’ll start feeling a bit dizzy and experience mild stomach illness. After a few more hours, you may enter an unresponsive state or get into a coma. If you survive, you’ll likely have permanent brain or kidney damage.

Kids are more susceptible to antifreeze poisoning because they drink anything in a plastic bottle. Even worse, antifreeze tastes sweet; children can ingest large amounts of the chemical.  

Drain Cleaners

Drain cleaners are great for addressing minor clogs in your plumbing system but aren’t so great for your respiratory and nervous system. Drain cleaners can burn your skin and eyes. If you inhale drain cleaner fumes, they irritate the respiratory system, and chemicals in the fumes enter your bloodstream, leading to seizures and sometimes a coma.

Symptoms of drain cleaner poisoning include severe abdominal pain, vomiting blood, chest pains, collapsing, and diarrhea, to name a few. If you swallow drain cleaner, take lots of water and milk.

If drain cleaner comes into contact with your skin, wash it away with clean water for at least fifteen minutes. For large drain cleaner spills, contact chemical spill clean up companies to contain and remediate the spill site.

Carpet Cleaner

Carpet and upholstery cleaners are dangerous to your health because they contain naphthalene. Exposure to naphthalene has been attributed to the formation of cataracts and liver damage with prolonged exposure. 

Furthermore, the cleaning agents contain perchloroethylene, a known carcinogen. It may lead to dizziness, headaches, and kidney problems even after short-term exposure.

Be Safe: Know the Household Chemical Hazards

These seemingly harmless household products are chemical hazards that threaten the safety of your family. As such, you need to be extra careful when using these substances and keep them out of your children’s reach. In the event you have large chemical spills, contact emergency response ASAP.

Avoid Chemicals that Pose a Danger to the Environment

There are a lot of chemicals that are harmful to the environment. You should avoid them if you are an environmentally conscious homeowner or building a property that is meant to be eco-friendly.

Do you want to read more home-related articles? We have many more on our site. Keep exploring.

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