Sue Rossi: Thinking green when keeping it clean

Impact of environment on child's development, strategies for maintaining healthier choices, green cleaning products

  • Nov. 30, 2011 6:00 p.m.

Editor’s note: Following is the second in a series on the impacts that environments have on a child’s development and why it is important to understand strategies and tips for maintaining healthier everyday choices.

Chemicals in household cleaning products (liquids and powders, polishers, drain cleaners) and cosmetics or personal care products create foam, dissolve grease, remove stains, dissolve mineral build-up, and add colour, fragrance and more. Many cleaning products contain chlorine-based or other very strong chemicals.

The cleaning power of the product is often far beyond what is needed to clean most household dirt.

Chemicals in cleaning products can leave chemical residues on surfaces and contribute to indoor air pollution. Many different chemicals are used in the home, such as during renovations, pest control, and operating and maintaining vehicles or other small motorized equipment. Chemicals may also be brought into the home when clothes are dry cleaned; occupational circumstances can also contribute to “take-home” exposures on shoes or clothing. Many of these chemicals have not been adequately, if ever, tested for their effects on prenatal or child health. Some chemicals are associated with known or suspected hazards. Choice is often available in the form of less-toxic or non-toxic alternatives.

Toxic Use

Reduction Tips:

n Choose from widely available “green” or non-toxic cleaning products (e.g., see the Guide to Less Toxic Products at

n Avoid chlorine-based cleaning products (especially in dishwashing powder, to reduce exposure to DBPs in the steam).

n Where a strong cleaning product is necessary, buy the least amount necessary to do the job and choose creams and liquids to avoid inhaling particles in powders and sprays.

n Ventilate well and keep children away until odour is gone. For products with hazard symbols, follow label instructions carefully. See Health Canada’s Aim for Safety — Target the Label at label.htm.

All of the information in this article was extracted from Canadian Partnership for Children’s Health & Environment, Child Health and the Environment – A Primer.

Sue Rossi is project leader for The Child Health and Environment Project funded by the North Okanagan Early Childhood Development Committee and hosted through the First Nations Friendship Centre.


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Our History: A royal visit to Vernon

Princess Margaret and Lt.-Gov. Frank Mackenzie Ross took a ride through Vernon… Continue reading

Coldstream officials clear air about pool costs

Municipalities seeks to clarify who pays what to cover additional lifeguarding hours

Big contributions for Vernon’s Schubert Centre

Former member of the centre donated $10,000 while Regency Parkwood donated more than $2,000

Old Friends return to Okanagan Symphony stage

OSO marks 60th anniversary with Masterworks series in Penticton, Kelowna and Vernon

Coldstream school celebrates plastic-free Valentine’s Day

Grade 5 students challenge fellow learners throughout district to show Mother Earth some love

Laughing ladies and country artists sell out Vernon venue

Alan Doyle and I Am Woman, Hear Me Laff! back to back sold out

Ryan nets hat trick in return as Senators beat Canucks 5-2

Ottawa winger received assistance for admitted alcohol problem

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs meet with provincial, federal ministers

Neither party speaking on the groundwork laid for tomorrow’s talks

Couple in crash on Highway 1 mistake Shuswap for Lower Mainland

Chase RCMP report Mercedes Benz collides with transport truck

Speaker ‘will not tolerate illegal activity’ on B.C. legislature grounds, says chief of staff

Chief of staff to the B.C. speaker Alan Mullen says situation with demonstrators appears ‘fluid’

MPs to examine privacy implications of facial-recognition technology used by RCMP

The MPs will look at how the technology affects the privacy, security and safety of children

Dates back to 2009: Calgary police lay charges in fraud involving semi-trucks

Three people from Calgary are facing charges that include fraud over $5,000

Revelstoke mother and daughter return home after coronavirus quarantine in Asia

Jensine Morabito and her daughter were on Holland America’s Westerdam but did not catch the virus

Ministry grants SD67 extension to balance books, submit amended budget

The board of trustees voted Monday to acquire outside help to deal with budget concerns

Most Read