I haven’t set off on a rant about my own private high horse in a while so be prepared… this might be a long one. I’ve been saving it up.
A comment on a friend’s Facebook post the other day got me thinking… actually it made me sad and angry all at the same time, but I digress.
The friend in question had asked about buying one of those cheap plastic dry/wet mops with disposable pads and the chemical solution that sprays on the floor ready for you to mop it up. We all know the brand I’m talking about. My post about loving my microfibre mop that only requires water set off a discussion about vinegar and water cleaning versus the ubiquitous cleaning solutions. One comment that became part of the discussion was ‘my mom cleaned with pine-sol and we seemed to turn out okay.’
Now, I’m not trying to disparage the person who made that comment but I have to dispute the premise. Sure, many or our moms used Pine-sol, but we’re not okay… and our parents are certainly not okay.
Every day, nearly 500 people are diagnosed with cancer. Forty-two percent of those are age 70 or older. These are among the people who were using the stuff to keep those floors clean and smelling pine fresh.
I’m not saying Pine-sol, or any other cleaning agent, is responsible for this growing epidemic of cancer but it is proven to be part of the problem (and it is an epidemic, the American Cancer Society says men have a one in two chance of getting cancer in their lifetime, for women it’s one in three).
Pine-sol and many household cleaners are the primary source of toxins called phenols. Not only do even low exposure to these toxins cause damage to the blood vessels, heart, lungs and kidneys, they are readily absorbed through the skin. This is what our mother’s lovingly scrubbed onto the floor and what we later crawled on.
We may think we are fine but the health effects of these toxins, and the hundreds more to which we have been and continue to be exposed, are only just starting to be felt. Our bodies now contain more than 400 toxins that didn’t even exist 45 years ago.
With all this information readily available, I find it surprising people still willingly use these chemicals in their homes and workplaces.
I know not everyone has watched the terrible toll cancer can take on, not only the patient, but the family as well. I know it is easier, and often cheaper, to think government sanctioned products are safe. I even know how overwhelming the information about potentially toxic substances in our lives can be.
I’m just not willing to stick my head in the sand and knowingly expose myself to substances scientists know, or even suspect, will hurt them. If that makes me a zealot, then so be it. I know what cancer looks like and I’ll do everything to escape experiencing it again.