Guest post by Amber Watson-Tardiff For any parent that’s ever had a child with asthma, chronic allergies, learning disabilities or immune system disorders, germs become the devil. They spend countless hours scrubbing and bleaching and disinfecting in an attempt to keep their kids in the least aggravating environment possible for their condition. But what if I told you the scrubbing and bleaching and disinfecting are actually causing the problems—not making them better? What if you could make one simple change in your life and be free of the nebulizers and inhalers and prescription steroids once and for all? Well believe it because parents all over the country have experienced dramatic results after removing commercial cleaners from the home. Science Proves the Dangers of Commercial Cleaning Products Did you know cleaning products are actually illegal in Illinois public schools? Well they are. The state recently passed the “Green Schools Act,” requiring janitors to stop using commercial cleaning products based on this legislative finding: “Section 5. Legislative findings. Children are vulnerable to and may be severely affected by exposure to chemicals, hazardous waste, and other environmental hazards. The Federal Environmental Protection Agency estimates that human exposure to indoor air pollutants can be 2 to 5 times and up to 100 times higher than outdoor levels. Children, teachers, janitors, and other staff members spend a significant amount of time inside school buildings and are continuously exposed to chemicals from cleaners, waxes, deodorizers, and other maintenance products.” But the link to cleaning products and illness isn’t limited to children. A recent study published in Occupational and Environmental Medicine found “that nurses regularly exposed to cleaning products and disinfectants were 72 percent more likely than other health care colleagues to report being diagnosed with asthma since starting their job, and 57 percent more likely to report symptoms similar to asthma”. Just imagine the statistics if this study was based on the toxins in our home! Insert the words “homeschooled children” in place of “nurses” when reading the study above. You’ll quickly get my point. But if you’re still not convinced that cleaning products are dangerous, the following two stories will blow your mind. True story: A friend of a friend was invited to participate in a study about the negative effects of cleaning products. As she cleaned her bathroom, the scientists stood off to the side measuring the toxic fumes in the air. So she scrubbed and ran the hot water as usual and stood back to marvel at her steamy, yet spotless bathroom—until the scientists gave their report. The scientists told her that the level of toxins in the air of her home were four times the recommended exposure level and if she was a factory, she would have been immediately shut down with everyone forced to evacuate the building. Another true story: A man was driving home with a certain brand of toilet bowl cleaner. As he was driving, the package ripped open and it spilled in the back seat of the car. The seats, carpet and underlying steel were damaged as a result. The man filed an insurance claim and took the car in to be adjusted. When he came back a few hours later he got news that the insurance company had totaled the car. Here’s what he wrote in an email to a friend: “According to the insurance company and poison control, the fumes from the toilet bowl cleaner made the interior environment of the van permanently unsafe for anyone, especially young children, so we wouldn’t be able to drive the van any more. The fumes also corroded any exposed metal in the van and poison control warned over time would ruin most if not all electrical connections. After the van was cleaned and repaired to the fullest extent possible, it was still determined that eventually, the residual fumes would continue to have a chemical reaction and deteriorate anything left in the van, leaving the van completely useless and unsafe, hence the insurance company’s decision to total the vehicle was made.” What You Can Do I’m the first person to admit “going green “can be expensive. I admit to passing up organic food or energy saving light bulbs in exchange for the stuff that’s on sale. But cleaning products are a different story. After all, I wouldn’t allow my kid to gnaw on a bottle of bleach under the sink—so why would I wipe down his toys with disinfecting wipes and watch him do essentially the same thing? Really—that’s how serious it is. So if you go green with nothing else in your life, make it cleaning products. This is especially important for parents with children that suffer from chronic illness, asthma and other respiratory conditions. I can tell you literally thousands of stories of kids whose conditions cleared up overnight when the cleaning products were removed from their homes. And after much research and study, I can honestly say that Shaklee’s Get Clean line offers the purest, non-toxic cleaners at a disgustingly great price. I’ve found that most of the “natural” cleaning products in stores are comparable to 2 % milk. Still dangerous, just toned down a bit. That’s why I got involved with this particular line. And if cleaning just isn’t your cup of tea, bidding sites such as bidmycleaning.com can hook you up with a local green cleaner to do the job for you. But no matter what you decide, take the time to research the subject for yourself. There’s not enough blog space in the world to share the links between cleaning products and illness, and my only wish is for anyone to take a concrete step in the direction of removing this garbage their home once and for all! And feel free to share your experiences in the comment section below. About Amber Watson-Tardiff After spending two years as a paralegal in a medical malpractice firm, Amber Watson-Tardiff learned firsthand how products approved by the FDA aren’t always what they seem. Because of this experience, she now runs her own Shaklee business and teaches other passionate people how to do the same. She is also a freelance writer and contributor to NJ Moms Blog and Sparkplugging.com. For further information, contact Amber at ambertardiff at gmail dot com.