We moved this weekend and I went back to our old apartment yesterday to give it a cleaning -- the first thorough one first since giving up conventional cleaners. I used all-purpose sprays from Seventh Generation and Ecover, as well as some Bon Ami, and it was a nice change to finish a heavy duty clean without shredded fingers and a huge headache. I was particularly impressed with Earth Friendly Products non-chlorine bleach, Oxo-Brite, which turned my enamel sink whiter, even though its made for clothing.
Now that Ive given up chlorine bleach it seems particularly obvious that it cant be good for you, and a study in the European Respiratory Journal has recently drawn a link between asthma in kids and the use of cleaning products during pregnancy or immediately after birth.
According to The Daily Mails reporting on the study, mothers who use products like bleach and air freshener increase the risk of their children developing persistent wheezing by the age of seven by up to 41%.
From the Daily Mail:
"Experts behind the study, which looked at more than 7,000 families and is published in the European Respiratory Journal, are uncertain about which chemicals are to blame, although previous research suggests fumes called volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, could be responsible.
.. The latest study was headed by Dr John Henderson, an expert in pediatric respiratory medicine at Bristol University.
He said small children coming from cleaner homes might be more likely to develop asthma.
...Researchers found the most commonly used household chemicals included disinfectant and bleach - used by more than four in five mothers - and window cleaner, air fresheners and aerosols, found in two-thirds of homes."
Of course asthma is on the rise in this country as well -- more than 20 million adults and children suffer from it according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. Every year they come up with a list of the worst cities to live in based on prevalence, risk, and overall medical factors.
2008s list of the worst cities:
And the best:
The AAFA doesnt recommend moving just because you live in a city that scored low (Knoxville has been named the worst in 3 of the last 5 years because of year-round pollen, air pollution, use of inhalers and lack of a smoke free ban for public spaces). Instead, they encourage you to try and figure out ways to improve the quality within the community.
Enter your city or zip code to get your local temperature and air quality and find local green food and recycling resources near you.