Spring Clean: Housework Can DAMAGE Your Health; Perfect for a Desperate Housewife Easter Weekend Is Traditionally a Time to Spring Clean the Home. but, Warns Lifestyle Editor ZOE CHAMBERLAIN , Don't Don Your Marigolds until You've Read This Report

Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England), March 27, 2005 | Go to article overview

Spring Clean: Housework Can DAMAGE Your Health; Perfect for a Desperate Housewife Easter Weekend Is Traditionally a Time to Spring Clean the Home. but, Warns Lifestyle Editor ZOE CHAMBERLAIN , Don't Don Your Marigolds until You've Read This Report


BY ZOE CHAMBERLAIN Lifestyle Editor

DESPERATE Housewives has taken the nation by storm. The television series is the talk of every office each Thursday morning.

But would you actually want to be one?

Here our guide offers you the latest in kitsch, beautiful kitchenware to ensure even the most desperate of housewives can become the most perfect hostess.

WE'VE all thought we'd rather not do it, but new research has revealed housework can actually be bad for your health!

Whilst many of us check the labels when buying food today, few read the backs of bottles of seemingly harmless detergent.

Britons clean more than any other country in Europe and sales of household cleaners are rising every year, according to research by Mintel.

But a disturbing new report shows we could be putting ourselves at risk every time we reach for the bleach.

The Chemicals Uncovered study, commissioned by Birmingham natural healthcare company BioCare, analysed what lies behind the shine and discovered there are many toxic chemicals that cleaning product manufacturers are not legally bound to declare under current legislation.

Even giant retailer Marks and Spencer has picked up on this new national conscience by launching a new line of 'Naturally Inspired' cleaning products, which are naturally-derived and do not contain synthetic or artificial ingredients, making them safer for the family and the environment.

Products include kitchen cleanser containing natural coconut soap with real orange oil and lime extract to cut through grease; bathroom cleansing wipes with citrus fruit acids to remove limescale and borax to attack mould; and window cleanser made to a traditional recipe containing rice wine vinegar, lime extract and citronella (pounds 1.99 each).

But exactly what damage is being done by the conventional cleaning products we are said to spend more than pounds 233 million on each year?

According to Dr Ahmad, author of Chemicals Uncovered, labels on household cleaning products often display the words 'Warning' or 'Caution' but fail to inform the user of the dangers associated with long-term correct usage.

'Accelerated growth in breast cancer cells, damage to the liver and kidneys and repression of the nervous system, to name but a few, are disturbing examples of the harmful effects toxic components found in the most commonly used household cleansers can have on human health,' he says.

'And it's not just the user who is at risk - the family is, too. Although health risks are most acute during product usage, residues and lingering fumes prolong contact beyond the direct cleaning.

'Eye and skin irritations and difficulty in breathing have been intrinsically linked to exposure to chemical vapours.

'Today's consumer avidly checks the ingredients in foodstuffs but often fails to see the significance of the contents in cleaning products. …

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Spring Clean: Housework Can DAMAGE Your Health; Perfect for a Desperate Housewife Easter Weekend Is Traditionally a Time to Spring Clean the Home. but, Warns Lifestyle Editor ZOE CHAMBERLAIN , Don't Don Your Marigolds until You've Read This Report
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