Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Green Way to Be Allergy-Free

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Green Way to Be Allergy-Free

Article excerpt

Byline: ANASTASIA STEPHENS

Household cleaners hold hidden dangers for your children. So what is the safe way to clean your home?

Air fresheners A NEW study has found that children exposed to gases emitted by household cleaning products and furnishings are four times more likely to suffer from asthma. Most cleaning products, carpets and paints contain abrasive, toxic and irritating chemicals - but what are the safer alternatives?

These contain an array of chemicals such as petroleumbased perfumes and chlorobenzenes, which are irritating to the eyes, throat and lungs. Allergic reactions to air fresheners may range from sneezing and watery eyes to asthma attacks.

Healthier options Houseplants such as English ivy, spider plants and peace lilies can help remove unpleasant odours. Unlike most air fresheners, which cover up one smell with a stronger one, products such as Citrus Magic Air Freshener ([pounds sterling]2.85 for 100ml) contain natural citrus acids which dissolve airborne odour particles. This can eliminate odour emitted by smoke, mildew and pets.

For information go to www.citrusmagic.com; 020 7221 1345.

Furniture and floor polishes These contain solvents and volatile organic compounds such as formaldehyde and benzene, all of which irritate the skin and lungs.

Healthier options A simple floor cleaner can be made by adding one cup of vinegar to a bucket of water with a small amount of liquid soap. Furniture wax can be made by mixing two parts of beeswax with three parts of cooking oil and one part of white-wine vinegar. Natural products include Furniture Polish by Earth Friendly Products ([pounds sterling]4.77 for 650ml; 01892 616 871) and De Rit Beeswax Polish ([pounds sterling]3.25 for 150g), both available from Planet Organic (020 7221 1345) and health-food shops.

Bleaches and toilet cleaners Liquid household bleaches contain about five per cent sodium hypochorite solution.

Used properly, it can be a simple and effective disinfectant. However, chlorine bleach fumes can be highly irritating to the skin, eyes, nose and throat. Contact with the skin can cause dermatitis. …

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