How the Chemicals in House Cleaning Products Affect Your Environment
Using organic cleaning services and green housekeeping techniques is not just about recycling your plastic spray bottles and using a microfiber cloth instead of paper towels. Sure, conserving materials is a factor, but another major element is protecting the environment from the chemicals present in many common household cleaners. There are plenty of chemicals present in every day cleaners that can do real harm to the air, soil, and water around you.
Volatile Organic Compounds
Many household cleaners contain what the Environmental Protection Agency has termed as Volatile Organic Compounds, or VOCs. VOCs are simply a group of the most hazardous compounds found within these products. They include ammonia, nitrogen, phosphorus, as well as many others. These chemicals are found in abundance in most cleaning product meant to whiten, degrease, and disinfect.
Contaminating Your Groundwater
As these cleaning products are rinsed down your drains, flushed down the toilet, or added to your trash pick-up by you or your cleaning company, they find their way into the ground water and the local water supplies such as lakes, rivers, and other waterways. Even when the water passes through your local water treatment facility, chemicals such as phosphorus, nitrogen, and ammonia are not removed like other pollutants. Instead, they remain in the water affecting the health of the local community as well as local plant and animal life.
Affecting the Ecosystem
The three chemicals mentioned are actually used to promote plant growth. They are often present in fertilizers. However, as they flood the waterways, the levels are not controlled; therefore, the plant growth is not controlled. The result is plant overgrowth blocking waterways and affecting the local animal life. As chemicals have artificially accelerated the life cycle of the vegetation, at the end of the cycle, majority of the plants will begin to die and decay at the same time. Suddenly, the oxygen levels in the water drop dramatically, and the rise in decay in the area makes the water completely unusable.
As house cleaning products are used, they admit vapors and fragrances, often very noticeably. These gases contain the previously mentioned VOCs. The VOCs can cause serious health problems when ingested by humans, but they also enter the atmosphere and pollute our air supply. As the VOCs are released into the air, the result is serious pollution and smog levels. In some areas, the amount of VOCs permitted for use is strictly regulated due to this problem.
Fortunately, there are ways that you can completely avoid these harmful chemicals, and do your part to protect your environment. The answer is to use all natural products for your housekeeping, which are made from ingredients that are organic, safe, and biodegradable. If you do hire a maid cleaning service, the responsible choice would be to make certain the cleaning service uses only healthy cleaning products that do not contain any VOCs. The decision to choose green cleaning services is important for your health, as well as the health of the plants, wildlife, and people around you.