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Every pregnancy I come down with a very distressing condition of pregnancy-induced asthma.  It's distressing because it does not respond at all to any asthma treatments. I've been prescribed them all. The only thing that I can do to stop a severe attack is head to the ER and get hooked up to an oxygen machine.  So, prevention of these attacks is key.  I am so incredibly lucky because once the baby is born the asthma goes away. I can't imagine having to worry about it all my life. I am also blessed by the fact that none of my children have asthma.  I have watched parents while their young child is gasping for breath and the sense of panic, no matter how well controlled, is palpable.

Last Tuesday morning, as I was Spring Cleaning (and by that I mean I have a toddler that gets into a bunch of crap that I then have to clean up even though I had never intended on spending my next hour that way.) and I came across an almost full bottle of a large name brand's version of "Natural Essential blah blah blah" all purpose cleaner.  Have I mentioned I'm cheap frugal? We have been using Better Life products exclusively for several months, but the thought of just tossing an almost full bottle of anything is just not acceptable.  So, I decided to use it up rather than waste it.

I had just finished washing last night's dinner the morning dishes and got out the "Natural Essential blah blah blah" cleaner to spray down the counters and sink.  Before I even had a chance to wipe the counters, I was wheezing and coughing.  I wiped down the counters and went around the house opening all of the windows and doors, and turning on all the fans.  I couldn't believe how fast my respiratory reaction was.  Bob came walking in and wanted to know what the horrible smell was and what I had been doing. (Now remember, we aren't your average tree-hugging, granola-y, eco-family. We are pretty normal folks who have been using regular cleaning products forever.) I told him, between coughing fits, about the bottle I had found and how I was trying to use it up.  He said, "No, you're not." and proceeded to dump it down the drain (DON'T DO THAT! I WILL TELL YOU MORE ABOUT THAT IN A MINUTE.)  It took the entire morning and into the afternoon to clear the air out in our house.

So, I made an appointment with Dr. Google and learned some disturbing things that I couldn't believe I had never heard before. Things like The American Lung Association listing household cleaning products and VOC's (Volatile Organic Compounds) as indoor air pollutants and asthma triggers. Or how the public health department of New Jersey put out a brochure on how cleaning products can actually cause asthma with the tag line "It's better to protect your lungs now, than having to live with breathing problems the rest of your life." All the choices I had been making to give my kids a healthy start to life and I was actually exposing them to these horrible cleaners. I was shocked.

But wait. I was using a "Green" cleaner.  Doesn't "Green" mean safe?! Not hardly. I had been duped just as I had been duped by the "All natural" chicken at the grocery store.  Here is what an independent lab found:

CompetitionChart

Do you see all those green cleaners? Do you see how many of them have VOCs?! Not in my house. Not anymore. I like breathing, thank you very much!

So, what should you do with those hazardous cleaning products? The EPA asks that you take them to your local household hazardous waste disposal site.  Even the EPA doesn't want your cleaners dumped down the drain.

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