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A Single Usage of a Kitchen Degreaser Can Alter Indoor Aerosol Composition for Days

An interesting observational study published in Environmental Science & Technology reports on how degreasers used on kitchen surfaces can cause mono ethanol amine to transform ammonium sulfate and ammonium nitrate in such a way that these toxins persist in the area for at least 60 hours despite high ventilation rates.

There are about 85,000 chemicals registered under the Toxic Substances Control Act, but even the EPA is largely in the dark about what that actually means for people’s health and the environment. And while the scientific article referenced here can be difficult understand, it’s clear that too many cleaners we take for granted not only can be toxic, but haven’t been addressed by the EPA.

One problem is that combining chemicals often magnifies their toxic effects; for example, in the case of bisphenol-A (BPA), using hand sanitizer prior to handling a BPA-containing receipt may increase skin absorption 100-fold. A revealing example of just how toxic our world has become is the bisphenol-A (BPA) used in thermal paper (the type many receipts are made out of).

BPA is an endocrine-disrupting chemical linked to a number of health concerns, particularly in pregnant women, fetuses and young children, but also in adults, including high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, fertility problems and more.

Unfortunately, chemicals often exist in the environment invisibly, meaning you can't see or smell them — such as volatile organic compounds (VOCs) like dry-cleaning fluids and metal degreasers. Flame retardants hidden in your furniture are another perfect example of how your air can poison you without you realizing it.

To be safe, buy products that come in glass bottles rather than plastic or cans, as chemicals can leach out of plastics (and plastic can linings), into the contents. Store your food and beverages in glass, rather than plastic, and avoid using plastic wrap. Don’t use commercial cleaners on your windows and kitchen surfaces; opt for white vinegar, which can do the job safely. And, use a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter to remove contaminated house dust. This is one of the major routes of exposure to flame-retardant chemicals.
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