This was my husband's response when I told him I was going to try to reduce the chemicals in our home.
My sister, Laura, has been transitioning her home to becoming completely chemical-free. See her article and findings -
Laura investigated cleaning products, hand wash, shampoos and conditioners, perfume and washing liquids. As she suffers from dermatitis and eczema, she was very interested in her research outcomes. She discovered much about the irritants in our everyday products and the affect on her and her family.
Banned, but not in Australia
Cleaning products are often made using extremely hazardous and corrosive chemical substances, that are poisonous not only to us, but to our pets and the entire eco-system. Cancer, asthma and many skin disorders have been linked to the chemicals used in our everyday cleaning products. Laura discovered in her research that some European countries are way ahead and have banned some substances in cleaning products. Why hasn't Australia? (www.livingsafe.com.au)
While on the track of reducing cleaning chemicals, I considered what made the food we eat so colourful and tasty. So, I decided to do some research of my own. I was shocked at what I found. I inspected the lists of numbers and long-named ingredients on the back of our food packets. Many European countries have banned certain proven dangerous flavours, colours and preservatives, Australia has banned ONE. Many of them have been linked to health, behavioural and emotional issues.
Our cupboards have now been cleansed of most foods listing their ingredients as 'numbers' and especially the ones with the little underhand slogans that say 'now with more flavour!' or 'all natural!'. There are so many sneaky loopholes with both food and cleaning products.
I thought it would take up all my time cooking with additive-free, colour-free and preservative-free items and cleaning with bicarb and vinegar, but in fact it has been a very freeing and radical experience!
The method of bicarb and vinegar cleaning has been around for a very long time. If your grandmother or great aunt is still alive, ask her! There are many in our communities now going back to these old methods. How did the chemicals sneak into our lives? Clever advertising and convenience?
Chemical and synthetic based cleaners, are created using many highly toxic ingredients like, chlorine bleach, solvents such as alcohol, propylene glycol, glycol ether's, formaldehyde, kerosene, perchloroethylene and methylene chloride...just to name a few.
Vinegar has antimicrobial properties, is an effective mould killer and won't sear your airways. Vinegar is used by most local bakers to clean their machinery, therefore preservative 282 is not required to inhibit mould growth. Massive factories producing mass products generally use chemical cleaners to clean their machines, therefore the need for preservative 282 to inhibit mould. Spray it on clothes that are stained before washing, clean your windows, use as rinse aid in your dishwasher.
Bicarbonate soda has relatively low toxicity, helps regulate PH, acts as a neutralising agent, is environmentally friendly and can be used to reduce fungal growth. Noticing the stain on the glass of the oven that you can usually never get off, we.. got it off! And with no scrubbing! Simply sprinkle on bicarb, spray with vinegar and watch the fizzle reaction of the two combined. Wipe with a microfibre cloth. For mopping the floors and an all-purpose spray, we mix a combination of bicarb, natural dishwashing liquid, vinegar, hot water and blend of essential oils.
There are many websites of recipes and ways to use bicarb and vinegar around the home. Also many websites that list the colours, flavours and additives in our food. Reducing any chemical use in the home is wise for the health of our families and being more aware of what we are eating helps our overall health.
In the early days of the people of Israel, God revealed powerful principles that would protect the environment, provide safe, healthful food and prevent the spread of disease for anyone who would be willing to follow these instructions. (http://www.lcg.org/cgi-bin/lcg/studytopics/lcg-st.cgi?category=Christianity1&item=1116549049)
The intent and benefits of these biblical guidelines have been acknowledged periodically in history. One scholar observed that "most of the laws can be clearly seen to tend toward public health... the laws were wonderfully fashioned by God for the general health of the nation" (Expositor's Bible Commentary, 1990).
Who will act?
I implore of the Australian Government to start enforcing safer measures to protect the Australian people and the environment. By changing our methods and products, we can start to avoid purchasing and supporting the use of toxic chemicals.
We are nowhere near becoming 'hippies', but we are definitely living in a home and in bodies that have reduced toxicity.
Belinda Croft is married to Russell and she has a son BJ, 11 years. She has a heart and passion for God, writing, creativity, mission and social justice.
Belinda's archive of articles can be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/belinda-croft.html