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Cleaning with Chlorine

By: Susan Gonzalez, RN

Chlorine is all around us.  It is in our household water supply.  That means we are drinking, it, we use it for showers and baths, and we cook with it.  And if that’s not enough, we clean with it and put it in our     laundry (Clorox, chlorine bleach) and swim in it.  Tampons (unless stated otherwise on the box) are bleached and the cotton fibers contain chlorine.

So? Isn’t that OK? If chlorine was so bad, someone would have said something, right?

Well there is plenty being said.

First off, chlorine is a harmful chemical. In liquid form it is a strong skin irritant.  It can “burn” your skin on contact (we’ve all gotten some bleach on us at some point I know) and it is a potent lung irritant if inhaled in gas form.  Anyone who has a pool can tell you, the bucket of chlorine used for the pool has to be handled as a “dangerous chemical” because it is.  When mixed with ammonia, it forms a harmful gas which when inhaled for just a short time will kill you.  (It bonds to the oxygen in your blood and without immediate medical attention, you suffocate)

It also has been linked to many forms of cancer including breast cancer.  A study carried out in Hartford Connecticut, the first of it’s kind in North America, found that, “women with breast cancer have 50% to 60% higher levels of organochlorines (chlorination byproducts) in their breast tissue than women without breast cancer.”

Chlorine bleach…..it’s the “wonder” cleaner. We love to pour bleach everywhere…down the toilet, down the sink, we use it on our countertops….etc.

Clorox is a household name.  And if the Clorox people had their way, they would want you to think that there is no other way to get your house and clothes clean than adding Clorox.

As far as your laundry goes Clorox is an “optical brightener”. That means it just makes you clothes look whiter because it absorbs ultra violet light and emits it back as blue light. So your clothes look cleaner, but really are not.

Clorox (and any bleach) when mixed with water and the dirt from clothes, forms new toxic chemicals called organochlorines which can be cancer causing as well.

Use other products in your laundry such as chlorine-free bleach or put 1/2 cup of lemon juice in with your detergent.  Hydrogen Peroxide is a harmless way to make you laundry brighter as well (the same thing that is in the teeth whitener mixes) Many supermarkets make their own brand of this. The hydrogen peroxide exposure is safe, and when it goes down the drain, it turns into water and oxygen, so it’s much better for the environment.

I use both Oxy clean and the hydrogen peroxide. (my family likes my whites white)

When it comes to cleaning, there are a lot of options.  One of my favorite cleaners that does an amazing job in the kitchen and bath is BarKeeper’s Friend. It does not contain chlorine bleach, but you would think it does. I have found the powder works a bit better than the liquid.

 

Excerpt from The Savvy Sister blog. Click here to visit her website for more healthy living articles.