Countdown to Earth Day Tip #4: Clean Up Your Act!

Countdown to Earth Day Tip #4: Clean Up Your Act!

  • There’s no need to wait until Earth Day on April 22 to start celebrating our planet and becoming more engaged in taking care of its precious resources. This article is part of a series of tips on how to “go green” in Kane County — 15 in all, one for every business day before Earth Day. Use them to tap into your inner eco-mindfulness and let your green spirit shine brighter than ever!

Tip #4: Clean Up Your Act … and Clear Out the Chemicals!

It’s that time of year when it’s finally warm enough to open the windows, air out the house, and tackle your spring cleaning to-do list.

Unfortunately, much too often the products we use to “clean” our homes can actually be a threat to the environment and our own health. That’s why the Kane County Environmental and Water Resources Division suggests that consumers consider choosing household-cleaning products that are free of dangerous chemicals.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that more than 150 chemicals found in the average home have been linked to allergies, birth defects, psychological abnormalities and cancer. Many traditional cleaning products are made with synthetic chemicals whose health and environmental effects are either unknown or are already documented as unsafe. When these cleaning products are used in the home, the chemical ingredients become part of our indoor air quality — which EPA research has determined can be up to 100 times more polluted than air outside the home!

Become a label reader when shopping for household products (Photo credit: Local Hazardous Waste Management Program in King County, WA)

Toxins in spray products enter the air directly and can remain suspended as vapors for days, which we breathe into our lungs. Products applied by hand can leave residues on surfaces that are absorbed through our skin. In addition, these chemicals typically end up going down the drain and building up in the environment.

Make the choice this spring to clean up your act and clear out the chemicals! Take a look back at this previous article It’s Spring Cleaning Time – How to Make it Greener This Year for tips on how to green up your cleaning routine and make use of homemade cleansers using natural ingredients.

Maybe you already have a ton of cleaning products in your cabinets? You can look up their toxicity using the Household Products Database from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Consider getting rid of products that rank higher as a health hazard by taking them to the Household Hazardous Waste Drop-Off site.

Greener options for cleaning products can now be found in most stores.

Luckily, most stores now carry a range of cleaning products. Learn to read the labels before purchasing and look for products without words like DANGER and CAUTION. The health of your family and our environment is definitely worth the time it takes to read the label and make a greener choice.

Read the Countdown to Earth Day Series!