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Today’s post is brought to you by Amber:

From the day you become a parent, your first instincts are to protect your children from danger, whether by sprinting to pull your toddler away from the roadside as a car screeches down the street or teaching little ones to keep their fingers away from hot stovetops. That’s why, as a mother, when I discovered my household cleaning products include potentially harmful ingredients like chlorine bleach, formaldehyde or ammonia, I became a little upset. For some reason, this thought never occurred to me prior to kids. I would clean the bathroom and my throat would burn and my face would turn red, making it obvious there are toxins present. However, I never did anything about it until my toddler started following me into the bathroom I wanted to clean or licking the windows I just sprayed.

I started doing some research and found a few of these facts:

• “Of the chemicals commonly found in homes, 150 have been linked to allergies, birth defects, cancer and psychological abnormalities.”  —Consumer Product Safety Commission

• “Women who work at home have a 54-percent higher death rate from cancer than those who work away from home. The 15-year study concluded it was a direct result of the much higher exposure rate to toxic chemicals in common household products.” —Toronto Indoor Air Conference.

• “Toxic chemicals in household cleaners are three times more likely to cause cancer than air pollution.” —Environmental Protection Agency report

While we’re all well aware that a baby changes our lifestyle, it’s commonly overlooked to consider changing how we clean as well. Why? Because that’s what we’ve always bought, and it’s the stuff mom and grandma used. Even if we’re aware of the safety issue, we’ve likely become overwhelmed or have yet to find an alternative that truly works.

As you are doing your own research, my advice to you would be to:

1) Read labels, and be educated on what you’re putting in the air of your home and on your skin. Not all products labeled “natural” are toxin-free and often still contain bleach or other harmful ingredients. For example, companies aren’t stupid enough to write formaldehyde on their product ingredient list but some synonyms for formaldehyde include:

  • Methylaldehyde
  • Formalin
  • Methanal
  • Phenol Formaldehyde
  • Oxymethyline
  • 1, 3 – Dioxetane
  • Quaternium 15
  • Formic Aldehyde
  • Methylene Oxide
  • Oxomethane Formalin

2) Start slowly, simply replace one or two products in your home that you KNOW are harmful each month.  You don’t have to do it all at once but you can start with small steps and just keep walking.

3) If there are certain products you just can’t bring yourself to toss, ventilate the room well and use it when kids are in bed and trying to offer their sweet little helping hands.

4) Talk to other moms, it’s likely that someone else has found something that can be helpful to you as well. The trick is to gain ideas without feeling guilty or judging yourself. We are all here to help on this journey to health, but our worst enemy can often be ourselves, so cut yourself a little slack!

My intention is not to scare anyone, but to offer hope. I’ve been on this journey for six years and want to encourage all moms that it is possible! Cleaning green doesn’t mean you have to settle for ineffective, smelly, or outrageously priced remedies. My solution has come from a company called Melaleuca that uses things found in nature to clean very effectively and better than my homemade concoctions using things like food-grade enzymes, citric acid, tea tree oil, and thyme oil.  All their products are concentrated, so I no longer have to pay an arm and a leg and I am saving all that time wasted on smelly homemade experiments!

If you would like more information about Melaleuca and the wonderful products they offer, please email me at wannabfree@hotmail.com. Every mom has to find her own solution and I’d love to extend the same peace of mind to anyone asking.  From a mom to a mom, I understand the confusion and frustration around these topics and can freely offer you anything further I’ve discovered on this journey. I know I have more to learn, so let’s not put our heads in the sand but keep learning for ourselves, our children and the other precious lives to come after us.

“Everyone needs to participate to minimize the impact from hazardous household products. Lowering the amount of these products released into the environment lowers potential human health risks as well.” —Cornell University

*This post has been brought to you by Amber.  Amber is a stay-at-home mom of three beautiful children and has too many hobbies to count. She works one day a week as a clinical social worker and the other days she indulges in her passions such as her kids, jewelry making, making fabric flower pieces, friends, beach and exercising. She is very grateful to be blessed with such a wonderful family and friends.