As I write this, my husband is in bed for the fourth day in a row, on oxygen and recovering from a significant chemical burn to his lungs and mucous membranes. He was strong, vibrant and healthy four days ago, and then he sprayed oven cleaner into his real-estate-client’s oven. Shortly after he sprayed it, his nose began to burn and by the end of the day, felt extreme sinus pressure, headache and fever. Four days later, he’s still in bed, feverish, confused, uncoordinated and with no energy. 

My healthy husband was significantly injured by a $1.99 household cleaner. And I don’t know how long it will take him to fully recover.

Chemical-Free Home

We are a chemical-free, toxin-free home, and that’s something I’ve worked hard on for the last few years. This injury not only made me mad that this product even exists and is easy for anyone to buy, but I now know firsthand why I want nothing to do with conventional household cleaners. 

I used to think the natural life was mostly hogwash, until I learned why it matters. We assume that if something is sold to us in a store, it’s safe. But these chemicals are not highly regulated and if you read the fine print, almost all household cleaners come with plenty of warnings.

Long-Term Chemical Exposure

You may be thinking, “what does this have to do with my family?” Chemical exposure over a long period of time can be invisible on the surface. It’s not like breaking a bone, burning your skin or needing stitches. We can’t see the injuries, but they often show up in ugly ways. The list below is an example of some of the results we can expect from using harmful chemicals:

  • Endocrine disruption (this means developmental malformation, reproductive and fertility impairment, increased cancer risk, immune and nervous system disturbances)
  • Neurotoxins (intellectual disability, epilepsy, dementia)
  • Liver and kidney damage
  • Respiratory disorders (asthma)
  • Thyroid disruption

Making Changes

If I can make choices now that will give my children the possibility of having their own children someday, I want to know. I’d like to increase my own chances of having a good memory and sharp wit when I’m old. If I can reduce our risk of tumors and cancer, I’m in. 

The good news is, it’s easy to switch to non-toxic household products! You won’t find them in the grocery store or Walmart, but there are great options online that are affordable and familiar to use. And if you want to, you can even make your own.

This resource from Branch Basics is a great place to start to learn about studies that have been done, ingredients to avoid, and simple, step-by-step ways to start replacing toxins with safe options. Don’t wait until you have an injury from chemical exposure! 

chemical exposure

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Anna likes to think she’s rooted in the Wild, Wild West, as she was born in California and grew up in Colorado. She married a big-bearded Texan, and together they have a two-year-old daughter and a son due to arrive Summer 2018. She’s an easy crier, particularly when it comes to beautiful stories about people with a lot of heart, a lot of courage or a lot of character. Motherhood has affected her deeply and reinforced the importance of creating a life of intentionality and joy. She and her husband Chris love a good story, a good laugh, and a good song. You can find her on Instagram @annaclonts.