EPA studies have shown that indoor air levels of many pollutants are at least twice as high as outdoor levels. Since many people spend as much as 90% of their time indoors, this is a significant health concern. The products we use to clean our homes and our clothes, as well as the items we use to cook and store our food are often the source of these health dangers.
In a series of articles this year, NaturalNews will look at common household cleaners and other items found in most homes, examining both their potential health hazards, and ways that you can protect yourself. This time, we look down, at our floor coverings and how we clean them.
In a recent study reported in the journal Environmental Science & Technology, Australian researchers looked 21 vacuum cleaners made by 11 manufacturers. They found that all of them released at least some bacteria and fine dust particles. Although six of the machines had HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filters, this was not always a guarantee that the machines would not release pollution. Overall, newer and more expensive machines performed better than older or less expensive models in terms of their impact on indoor air quality.
Previous research has shown that bacteria can remain viable inside vacuum cleaner bags for up to two months. Some of those bacteria, such as salmonella, may be infectious. Also, dust particles stirred up by vacuums may aggravate allergies and asthma. Household dust may sound harmless but it contains lead and other heavy metals, because industrial pollution has made sure that these are in our soil.
Cleaning your carpets with carpet cleaning products actually has more potential dangers than vacuuming. Commercial carpet shampoos often contain highly toxic substances like perchlorethylene and ammonium hydroxide. The former is a known carcinogen which can damage the liver, kidneys, and nervous system while the latter is a corrosive which can irritate eyes, skin, and respiratory passages.pollution ]