Chances are, if you look under your sink, or in the basement or garage, you will find pesticides – whether they are bug sprays, mosquito repellents or flea shampoo for the dog. But did you know that there are many products in your home and your fridge that contain pesticides you weren’t even aware of?
From wallpaper, soap and toothpaste, to swimming pools and decks, pesticides and fungicides are far more prevalent than you might think. Further, pesticides can linger for generations. So even if you don’t use them, your family is regularly being exposed to pesticides.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, 75 percent of U.S. households use at least one pesticide product in the home, and about 80 percent of most people’s exposure to pesticides occurs indoors. In fact, the agency has found measurable levels of up to a dozen pesticides in homes.
What does this mean for our health?
Pesticides emit hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) and volatile organic compounds (VOC). These pollutants can contribute to a variety of health problems, including irritation to the eyes, nose, and throat; asthma and other respiratory issues; headaches, dizziness and nausea. The EPA is particularly concerned about exposure to cyclodiene pesticides and links to long-term damage to the liver, central nervous system and increased risk of cancer.
Alarmingly, our children are the most vulnerable to exposure. Environmental health experts report that, like many toxic substances, pesticides are heavier than air and sink down to floor level. In other words, the air two feet off the ground — a small child’s breathing space — is far more polluted with these substances than the air five or six feet up.
What can we do to rid our homes of pesticides?
Here are some basic steps anyone can take that can have a major impact:
Dispose of all pesticides in your home. No one likes roaches, flies or fleas. Try out some of the many chemical-free solutions to bug problems. For example, did you know that beer works wonders when it comes to getting rid of slugs in your garden or fruit flies in your kitchen?
Beware of cleaning products that contain pesticides. Most kitchen and bathroom disinfectants that are supposed to kill mold and mildew have pesticides in them. Norwex’s Blue Diamond All-in-One Bathroom Cleaner is a non-toxic alternative that will disinfect your home, while the Norwex Mold and Mildew Stain Remover eradicates any remaining stains.
Eat organic. Eating organic drastically lowers the levels of pesticides circulating in your body and rids your fridge of pesticide residue.
Encourage a new household routine of leaving shoes at the door. This way you can avoid spreading outdoor pesticides that tend to stick to the bottom of our shoes from spreading all over the house.
Read your toothpaste label. Some popular toothpastes and mouthwashes contain triclosan, an antibacterial chemical that is technically registered as a pesticide. Norwex offers toothpastes for adults and children that are safe and effective alternatives to common store brands. Plus, they are free of other toxins like parabens, sulfates, phosphates, harsh abrasives and artificial flavors or dyes. (See this blog post about France’s recent call for more research of the chemical whitening agent found in many toothpastes.)
Put your Norwex cleaning products and tools to work! One of the most effective ways to eliminate pesticides in the home is by keeping a clean house. Like many other harmful household chemicals, pesticides that are used to kill indoor bugs or that enter the home on shoes and clothes can cling to dust and become airborne. Frequent vacuuming and dusting (with the Norwex Dust Mitt!) can make the difference. Now consider pesticide residue and buildup on your floors and hard surfaces: Most pesticides are water soluble. So Norwex’s entire line of Microfiber cloths and mop pads will not only get your house sparkling but are a safe, chemical-free defense against these toxins.