Cleaning products consist of household products and skin care products. Household cleaning products include glass cleaners, toilet cleaners, floor cleaners, shower sprays, laundry powders, dish washing detergents, fly sprays and oven cleaners, while skin care products include make-ups, shampoos, soaps and perfumes (Mcdermott, 2012).
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Our body and skin comes into contact with these products often through direct or indirect touch.. This paper discusses the effects of cleaning products on the human’s body and skin, the process in which these chemicals get absorbed into the body, diseases caused by cleaning products and how to prevent the skin while using these products.
Most household and skin cleaning products have negative effects on human health, since they have harmful toxins. To hide the massive amount of chemicals and toxins they hold, manufacturers make sure that these products have lovely perfumes. Such manufactures only seek to make profits, while ignoring the health and wellbeing of consumers.
According to Hill (2010), the main negative effects of cleaning products include lung problems and skin irritation. Irritation causes the skin to itch, redden, or swell (Hill, 2010).
This irritation stops when exposure ends. Nevertheless, an irritant that is also an allergen poses more severe problems. If allergenic chemical exposure occurs for the first time to an allergic person, the skin reacts and then recovers after exposure stops similar to a non-allergenic person.
On the other hand, if the sensitive person experiences constant exposures, the reaction develops in severity and reaction takes place with reduced amounts. An example of a household cleaning product that is both an irritant and an allergen is formaldehyde.
Hill (2010) also explains that some cleaning products may have systematic effects on the skin. These effects occur after absorption and circulation of chemical substances in the body. According to Hill (2010), the antibiotic neomycin is responsible for indirect effects.
Another negative effect of cleaning products on human body and skin is that they can affect lungs. Reactive gases like ozone, chlorine, or formaldehyde (household products) can directly spoil lungs and mucous membranes in the eyes and nose (Hill, 2010)..
Besides, airborne elements such as silica coal, asbestos, or even powder can directly harm the lungs, if used too liberally, and their adverse effects are severe or mild. Inhalation of dust may just irritate in the short run, but chronic contact can interfere with function of lungs. Long-term exposure to silica dust causes silicosis, while coal dust causes black lung disease and cotton dust brown lung disease (Hill, 2010).
Similarly, organic liquids can harm the lungs. Inadvertent inhalation of a liquid solvent of gasoline can harm lungs severely or cause fatality. In addition, Stellman (1998) explains that Ammonia solvents, which clean grease, cause irritation to the eyes and skins. She also mentions that other cleaning products like drain cleaners cause skin burns and eye problems, since they are caustic.
Chemicals in cleaning products get absorbed into the body through the skin, or by inhalation. According to Mcdermott (2012), absorption of chemicals and toxins in cosmetics, skin care products and household laundry occurs through the skin. During absorption, these chemicals get into body cells and blood organs.
Conversely, Hill (2010) explains that absorption occurs through the lungs, during inhalation. Inhalation of volatile organic substances from household products occurs into the blood stream via the alveoli of lungs.
To reduce impacts associated with cleaning products, one may consider using organic and natural alternatives. Local supermarkets now have a variety of organic makeup, household cleaning products and skin care brands (Mcdermott, 2012). Using such products is beneficial as it removes toxins from the skin.
Besides, a person should make sure that there is good ventilation to protect the eyes, when using cleaning products with Ammonia (Stellman, 1998). Further, a person should wear facemasks and gloves when using drain cleaners to avoid damage to eyes and skin burns. Persons who react to soap dust should as well wear facemask, or use disposable respirators.
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Lastly, a person should follow correct ways when handling cleaning products to make sure that cleaning products do not pose any risks to human health. For instance, a person should store cleaning products in containers that have clear labels and are far from food containers. On the same note, a person should never mix cleaning products with chlorine bleach, since chlorine becomes hazardous.
In conclusion, cleaning products have significant effects on both the body and skin. Some cleaning products cause irritation while others affect the lungs. Lung diseases include silicosis, black lung disease and brown lung disease. Therefore, we should adopt good practices like wearing facemasks and gloves when handling cleaning products, depending on their nature.
Again, we should always be careful when choosing cleaning products to use at homes. Some factors that we should put first while choosing these products are their impact on health. Alternatively, we can use organic and natural products that serve the same function with artificial cleaning products, since they have no harmful effects on human body.
Hill, M. K. (2010). Understanding environmental pollution. Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press.
Mcdermott, M. (2012). Beyond happiness: The 12 principles of enduring bliss. London, England: Balboa Press.
Stellman, J. M. (1998). Encyclopedia of occupational health and safety: Vol. 3. Geneva, Switzerland: International Labor Office.