Bathroom Household Chemicals and Mold Hazards Guide
The use of bathroom household chemicals and the high potential for mold growth from excessive moisture are the two main sources of potential indoor air hazards typical to most bathrooms.
Most bathrooms are filled with toxic chemical products such as room deodorizers, toilet bowl cleaners, drain cleaner, mildew remover, glass cleaners, bleach, and floor cleaner.
There are also many potentially toxic health and beauty related products such as hair coloring, perfume, deodorant, hair spray, and pharmaceuticals.
Summary health and safety information for the most common culprits is lower down this page in the Bathroom Chemical Products List.
There is also a site search box below to help you find many other healthy home tips found throughout this entire website.
Is Your Bathroom Contributing to the Death of Our Oceans?How many pounds of the below poisons do you buy and use every year?
How many of their chemical compounds end up in your lungs, blood, and septic system (and ultimately the oceans)?
Are you keeping these potentially poisonous products out of the reach of children?
Even our crammed medicine cabinets contain potential poisons to not only us, but also the environment.
This dangerous pharma soup of exotic organic compounds is bioaccumulating and causing harm to freshwater fish and ocean derived seafood populations.
Talk about depressing. What comes around goes around when we pollute the water, whether by our toilets or our drains.
Toilets and Drains Are NOT OK for Chemical DisposalIt never ceases to amaze me how common it is for people to think it is ok to pour a wide variety of household chemicals down their drains and toilets where they then seem to magically become out of sight, and thus out of mind.
But these chemicals are still being flushed into the environment one way or another, and they may end up doing more than just kill the beneficial bacterial colonies in our septic tanks and sewage systems - causing sewage backups. Dumped chemicals often persist and end up eventually accumulating into our food web.
It is like an urban myth that it is ok to dump these chemicals down toilets and drains with no consequences. If you think this way or if you know of someone who does, please try to affect change in your or their thinking about the harm it causes even though it may not be obvious to you.
Toxic Sewer Gas from Septic Tank Chemical Reactors?Sewer gases can be flammable due to combustible components like Methane Gas created by microbial activity.
Sewage gases can also displace air and cause death by asphyxiation due to the resulting low oxygen environments created in confined spaces.
Sewage gases may also be toxic from common components like Hydrogen Sulfide gas, or other less common components resulting from disposal of chemicals in drains or toilets.
In some rare extreme scenarios some homeowners have found out the hard way that pouring household chemicals down the drain may even result in poisonous sewage gases resulting from a chemical reaction that occurs when chemicals mix in the septic system.
Potentially deadly Chloramine gas is but one such possible toxic sewage gas that could result from dumping various chemicals down drains or toilets.
Chloramine gas (NH2Cl) or Chlorine Gas (Cl2) may become airborne when household bleach mixes with products that contain acids, such as vinegar, ammonia, drain cleaners, or toilet bowl cleaners.
Chemical Reaction Yeilding ChloramineAmmonia (NH3) + Sodium HypoChlorite from Bleach (NaOCl) → Caustic Sodium Hydroxide (NaOH) + Toxic Chloramine Gas (NH2Cl)
Depending on conditions such as temperature, mixing conditions, and concentrations of reactants, other irritant gases such as Nitrogen Trichloride (NCl3) and Dichloramine (NHCl2), may also results from the above reactants and products.
Besides being potentially deadly, inhalation of poisonous Chlorine or Chloramine gas is known to cause loss of voice, coughing, feeling of burning and suffocation, damage to mucous membranes, and even chemical pneumonia.
Chlorine and Chloramine is an obvious example of why NOT to dispose of household chemicals down drains and toilets.
Hopefully your home is properly constructed to vent potentially flammable and hazardous sewage gases through plumbing vent pipes that usually extend up through your roof and vent to the outside, rather than into basements or interior rooms.
Proper sewer gas ventilation can be a problem in older homes where piping is outdated or damaged, or in cases where plumbing is poorly designed.
Toxic Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)Below is summary information for the most commonly used bathroom products - including ingredients information and tips for how to safely use, store, dispose of, and eliminate their over-use.
All of the below household products found in bathrooms contain one or several hazardous substances which can contribute to poor indoor air quality and environmental damage.
The main reason these household chemicals (for example hair spray and nail polish) can be sources of indoor air pollution is because they often give off volatile chemical toxins that enter the air while being used or stored, and even well after being used in or around the home. The best way to measure chemical hazards in your home is to have your air tested (see link to my bargain chemical/mold test kit below).
These tiny toxic gas molecules and particles can become airborne and accumulate inside your air-tight home, where the HVAC system may distribute them to other rooms where they can then be inhaled over long-term periods by anyone or any pet inside the home.
Occupants who are very young, very old, or who may have a pre-existing condition are more at risk from exposure to these toxins.
And most home air purifiers can't even filter these Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) out of your air because specialized expensive chemical filters are required, and so are usually only found in only the best home air purifier having gas-phase filtration.
VOCs are likely responsible for most indoor air quality complaints and are a major cause of Sick Building Syndrome.
With long-term exposure, VOCs can result in chronic diseases such as cancer, kidney damage, liver disease, and neurological disorders.
If you suspect your home is making you sick, or if you frequently have burning eyes, headaches, respiratory difficulty, soar throat, or fatigue - it is possible you are breathing elevated levels of VOCs from such products as those used and stored in your bathroom and other rooms.
The truth is, it is hard to avoid breathing some level of these toxic gases while indoors. This is because VOCs are often perpetually given off by various in-home sources, such as carpeting, furniture, particle board, OSB board, adhesives, paints, varnishes, and many other structural components or contents of homes. You just can't escape them in most cases.
So with VOC toxins so common, it is a particularly bad idea to use and store additional chemicals inside. If you use several of the below bathroom household chemicals, chances are you are making the levels of inhalation hazards that much worse.
You should at least remove from your home the low-hanging fruit of toxins. That often means reducing your purchase and use of household chemical products where feasible.
Toxic Black Mold: Common Bathroom HazardAnother common bathroom indoor air hazard involves the growth of Toxic Black Mold and the spores and other air contaminants the colonies can release.
Mold and Mildew colonies often get a stubborn foothold in, around, or under bathroom areas because of the potential for water leaks, condensation, and high humidity. Mold and mildew thrives in moist conditions, so they love bathrooms.
Often water leaks and condensation problems cause hidden mold colonies to begin between walls where water pipes run, or under shower drains in sub-flooring.
It can be hard to detect a problem unless the mold is already widespread and the damage visible on floors, ceilings, or walls.
How to Simultaneously Test Your Indoor Air for Mold and ChemicalsTo see if you may have an indoor air quality problem and identify the possible sources, I highly recommend testing your home air for a wide variety of Volatile Organic Compounds as well as for hidden mold colonies that you may not even know about.
This easy and accurate diy home air test kit is the only one I know of that will test for over 400 chemicals + Hidden Mold colonies. No other test kit can detect hidden mold and VOCs to that extent and at that very low price.
There are many over-priced mold test kits that focus on detecting airborne mold spores, but the problem is mold spores are often hindered by walls and flooring, thus making hidden mold hard to detect by conventional method involing mold spore count.
If you want to detect hidden mold colonies such as those growing around a leaky water pipe behind your shower wall, my test kit is the only one on the market today that actually is sensitive enough to measure MVOCs (Mold Volatile Organic Compounds) which are gases expelled by actively growing mold.
Measuring MVOCs is a very advanced way to detect mold while it is still hidden in the structure of homes. Unlike mold spores, MVOCs can easily pass through structural obstacles like walls and flooring and they are constantly being released by living mold colonies, unlike spores.
This is the best way to find mold and chemical problems before they cause serious allergy symptoms or Sick Building Syndrome. Many home inspectors, home buyers, and tenants are using the above test kit to assure healthy indoor air before contracts are signed.
How Many of These Common Bathroom Household Chemical and Hazardous Waste Sources Are You Stockpiling?
If you have any of the above bathroom products inside your house I strongly recommend you read the label closely for storage, disposal, and usage instructions.
However, source reduction should be the first line of defense. Ideally you should try to find safer, non-toxic green products to replace the more toxic and environmentally damaging ones.
Consumers are driving growing demand for a wide and growing variety of effective green cleaners and other eco-friendly alternatives that go a long way toward creating healthier homes and less damage to our oceans.
So get started today and see what hazardous products you can eliminate forever from your medicine cabinets and bathroom vanities. Then move on to the other rooms of the house linked to below.
Make your home a chemical-free home and it will pay off in many different ways - healthwise, environmentally, and fiscally.
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