The Scary Truth About Bleach and Your Good Health

The Scary Truth About Bleach

Author: Michelle C. Smith

Hello,  my name is Michelle C. Smith, and I was addicted to bleach. I used it in my laundry, and I used it on every one of my hard surfaces.

I was convinced it kept my family healthy.

Bleach is caustic and corrosive, but the real problem is how it’s made

From the research I have done on germs (partly to help my germaphobia), I have learned germs help our autoimmune system become stronger. I have also read so much about the horrible impact of bleach and its manufacturing process has on our environment.

Dioxins – have you ever heard of them? They are one of the most toxic chemicals known to our planet.

Without giving you a boring chemistry lesson…”Dioxins are a group of chemically related compounds that are persistent environmental pollutants”, and they are a by-product of manufacturing bleach.

Do dioxins cause cancer?

YES. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, dioxins are a “carcinogen in animals. Target organs include the liver, thyroid, lung, skin and soft tissues.”

That sounds scary.

And, it is, because dioxins are found in our food. More than 90% of human exposure is through food. It’s mostly found in our meat, dairy, fish, and shellfish.

Dioxins are a by-product of manufacturing bleach

So, bleach is caustic and corrosive. But, the real problem is how it’s made. Bleach is in or contributes to the manufacturing of about 15,000 products. It’s a big deal. So, let’s stop using it.

Listen. I know it’s hard to read about ideas and facts that make us question what we thought to be true.

When I started reading about all this information you are getting, I started questioning a lot of what I thought was truth. No one likes to question things. It makes you question more things. It has a domino effect.

I find that once you learn about the real harmful effects that bleach has on us as a people, as a human race, on our ecological system…it can be frightening. I don’t even think that word captures the true feeling, but it’s hard to think about how some tiny chemicals can wreak havoc on our environment and nobody seems to be talking about it.

Please share!

About the Author

Michelle Smith is CEO and Maker at MamaSuds LLC, a wife, a mother of three, and an advocate for safe ingredients. She is on a mission to educate people concerned about our environment by teaching them to become ingredient ninjas.


Learn about alternatives to using bleach.

The Truth About What’s in Your Cleaning Products

Six Ways to Clean Your Laundry, Naturally

Please share your thoughts about using bleach. Are you addicted or have you kicked the habit?

Why It’s Not Healthy to Ignore Indoor Air Quality

How's Your Indoor Air Quality?

If you’re like most people, you don’t give much thought to indoor air quality. You’re more worried about outdoor air problems like ozone alert days.

But, what if you learned that your indoor air quality really matters to your health? That indoor air is typically more polluted than outdoor air?

Admit it. You’re skeptical.

But it’s true. Check out these facts because you owe it to yourself and your health.

The Facts About Indoor Air Quality Problems

  • Indoor air typically has considerably more pollutants than outdoor air (source For example, tests show that formaldehyde measures 20 to 200 times higher indoors compared to outdoor air. It’s a bit staggering to think about, isn’t it?
  • The most prevalent pollutants are Volatile Organic Compounds or VOCs.
  • Where do these VOCs come from?
    • carpets
    • plywood
    • perfumes
    • air fresheners
    • cleaning products
    • fabrics
    • mattresses
    • paint
    • solvents
    • lacquers
    • upholstered furniture
    • foam insulation
    • particle board
    • adhesives

Admit it. You’re surprised at some of the items on the list like air fresheners or your upholstered furniture. And, perfume? It’s really disappointing to learn that perfumed products release VOCs.

  • Formaldehyde is the most prevalent VOC pollutant in your home.
    • Since the 50’s, formaldehyde has been a basic material used in particle boards and plywood.
    • According to estimates, 85% of wood materials have adhesives containing formaldehyde.
    • Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen.
  • Formaldehyde and other volatile organic compounds are more prevalent in new construction.
  • VOCs from common indoor materials and products result in increased risk of asthma, pulmonary infections, and allergies.
  • Some chemicals may have health impacts at extremely low levels.
    • Studies have found that exposure to very small traces of VOCs in homes and schools can disrupt the endocrine system (hormones), gene activation, and brain development.

How to Improve Indoor Air Quality and Breathe Easier

Before you despair, consider the following list of ways to improve your indoor air quality:

1. Open the windows

That’s right. To improve your indoor air quality, simply open your windows 15-30 minutes a day.

2. Use plants

Plants can absorb VOCs. According to Dr. Bill Wolverton an Environmental Scientist, plants can be used effectively to reduce VOCs. You’ll need two plants in 10-12” pots per 100 sq ft. It’s a lot of plants, so it may not work for every room. But, it’s a good option if you’ve just installed new flooring or furniture in your family room. You could put 3-5 plants in that room.

Want more information? Check out Wolverton’s book “Plants: Why You Can’t Live Without Them”.

  • Here are the top plants to buy based on the type of VOC you want to remove and the amount of sunlight required:
    • English Ivy
      • Thrives in low sunlight
      • Absorbs formaldehyde (carpeting, curtains, plywood, particle board furniture, and adhesives)
    • Peace Lily
      • Adapts well to low light but is poisonous to pets
      • Rids air of the VOC benzene (paints, furniture wax, and polishes) and acetone (electronics, adhesives, and some cleaners)
    • Lady Palm
      • Tree-like species
      • Targets ammonia (cleaners, textiles, and dyes)
    • Boston Fern
      • One of the most efficient air purifying plants for formaldehyde according to study published in HortScience
      • Requires moisture and humidity to thrive
      • Removes formaldehyde (carpeting, curtains, plywood, particle board furniture, and adhesives)
    • Snake Plant or Mother-in-Law’s Tongue
      • Thrives in low light
      • Lowers carbon dioxide and rids air of formaldehyde and benzene
    • Spider Plant
      • Easy to grow
      • Reduces formaldehyde and benzene

3. Use air cleaners/purifiers

The right air cleaner can effectively remove VOCs like benzene and formaldehyde. And, it will also remove 99.97% of airborne particles like dust, pollens, mold, pet dander, viruses, and bacteria.

Not all air cleaners eliminate VOCs, so read everything you need to know about air purifiers before purchasing. Austin Air makes a highly rated air cleaner. Learn more about the best rated Austin Air HealthMate Plus air cleaner. It’s whisper quiet and you’ll love how clean and fresh your home will smell.

4. Install drywall that absorbs VOCs.

AirRenew drywall absorbs VOCs for 75 years even when finished and painted with most paints up to 25 coats. It works by capturing the VOCs, converting the VOCs into inert compounds and safely storing the inert compounds within the drywall/gypsum board. It also provides enhanced moisture and mold resistance.

Sounds too good to be true, right?

Fortunately, UL Environment validated the drywall and Greenguard Indoor Air Quality certified it. Both reputable and worthwhile certifications. For more information, go to

Unless you are renovating or building new, you may not be able to redo your entire home, but it could make sense to do the bedrooms and nursery.

5. Reduce the sources of the VOCs.

Well, this one is obvious. If you reduce the sources of pollutants, then you don’t have to spend so much time cleaning up.

But, how, and where do you start?

A great place to start is by signing up for the 12-week email series called The Zen of Pure Living. Each week, you’ll cover a different topic.

The emails take about 5-6 minutes to read. If you’re a real overachiever, you can click on the “learn more” links within the emails, but it’s not necessary to get the facts you need. And, most importantly, you’ll get a short list of next steps.

Try one or two of the suggestions. You don’t have to do them all. Any step toward reducing indoor pollutants will help you.

Zen of Pure Living Register Now

Sign up today! You’ll be happy you did.


Please share this!


NewScience UL – Indoor Air Pollution Overview 2014

Kim, Kwang Jin, Jeong, Myeong Il, Lee, Dong Woo, Song, Jeong Seob, Kim, Hyoung Deug, Yoo, Eun Ha, Jeong, Sun Jin, Han, Seung Won, Kays, Stanley J., Lim, Young-Wook, Kim, Ho-Hyun. Variation in Formaldehyde Removal Efficiency among Indoor Plant Species. HortScience, 2010; 45: 1489-1495

Birnbaum LS, Staskal DF. 2004. Brominated flame retardants: cause for concern? Environ Health Perspect 112(1): 9 – 17. January 2004.

Bornehag CG, Sundell J, Weschler CJ et al. 2004. The association between asthma and allergic symptoms in children and phthalates in house dust: a nested case-control study.Environ Health Perspect 112(14): 1393 – 1397. October 2004.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 2005. Third National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals 2005. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Atlanta, Georgia. 2005. Available online at Search for Exposure Report.

Mendell M. 2007. Indoor residential chemical emissions as risk factors for respiratory and allergic effects in children: a review.

Indoor Air Journal 17: 259 – 277. August 2007. Available online at abstract.00025549-200708000-00002.htm

Waldman, P. 2005. Levels of risk. Common industrial chemicals in tiny doses raise health issues.The Wall Street Journal. July 25, 2005. New York, New York. 2005.

Wilson PM, Chia DA and Ehlers BC. 2006. Green Chemistry in California: A Framework for Leadership in Chemicals Policy and Innovation. Prepared for The California Senate Environmental Quality Committee and The California Assembly Committee on Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials. California Policy Research Center. Berkeley, California. 2006. Available online at

Zajac L, Sprecher E, Landrigan P et al. 2009. A systemic review of US state environmental legislation and regulation with regards to the prevention of neurodevelopmental disabilities and asthma. Environmental Health. 8:9. March 26, 2009. Available online at

What You Should Know About Pesticide Use and Increased Cancer Risk

What You Should Know About Pesticide Use and Increased Cancer Risk

You are probably not surprised that indoor pesticides are linked to serious health issues especially in small children. But you may not have seen the data.

A new meta-analysis study that combined the studies of 16 different studies provides conclusions that are hard to ignore.

Study Finds Pesticide Use Increases Cancer Risk in Children

The 2015 study reviewed 16 studies of children exposed to indoor pesticides including:

  • professional pest control services
  • indoor flea foggers
  • flea and tick pet collars
  • ant and roach sprays.

The study found increased risk of cancer in children who had exposure to these pesticides.

Specifically, childhood leukemia risk increased by 47% with exposure to indoor residential insecticides. Childhood lymphoma risk increased by 43%.

The study also found a significant increased risk of leukemia associated with exposure to herbicides or weed killers.

The senior author of the study is an associate professor of environmental exposure biology at Harvard School of Public Health. He said that the “incidence of childhood leukemia and lymphoma has increased in recent years, and that prompted us to look at this issue.”

Why are children more susceptible?

Children are at greater risk since their immune systems are not fully developed.

The study’s authors acknowledge the study limitations because it included only 16 studies. However, the researchers recommended that parents make every effort to cut their children’s exposure to pesticides.

Are you worried that your house will be full of pests?

Don’t worry. You can have a pest-free home without toxic chemicals.


How to Manage Risks and Make Your Home Pest-Free

So how can you manage the risks for your children and yourself?

Try all natural solutions that are highly effective and non-toxic! Here are three proven ways to kill bugs without using harmful chemicals.

1. Sprinkle Diatomaceous Earth (DE)

Using DE is an excellent way to control roaches. Sprinkle DE in problem areas under sinks, garages, basements, attics, and behind appliances.

Never heard of DE?

DE is a white powder that is the fossilized remains of marine phytoplankton. When a roach (or any bug with an exoskeleton) comes into contact with DE, it gets under the shell, punctures the body, and kills the bug.

Sounds like just want you need, right?

But, admit it. It also sounds dangerous.

You don’t have to worry though because DE is completely non-toxic. While it certainly is dangerous to bugs with exoskeletons like roaches, all mammals are safe from its effects.

More good news.

There is no buildup of tolerance like poisons because the killing method is physical, not chemical.

Keep these things in mind:

  • Remember to keep the DE dry
  • Although you can eat food-grade DE and rub it on your skin, do not inhale DE because the silica is bad for your lungs (wear a mask when applying)
  • Buy it at your local natural gardening store or order from
  • Always use food grade DE and not pool grade DE

It’s the perfect all-natural insecticide. No harm to humans, your pets or the environment, but deadly to bugs.


2. Create Baits

For non-toxic roach bait, mix equal parts sugar and Arm & Hammer detergent. Use 1-2 TBS per bait.

Unlike boric acid roach baits, this bait is not poisonous to humans.


3. Spray Orange Oil

Another solution is to spray indoor areas with Orange Oil and water. Mix 1 oz. Orange Oil per quart of water.

What is Orange Oil?

Orange oil is simply the raw oil collected from the citrus peel during the juicing extraction. Orange oil degrades the waxy coating on the exoskeleton of insects, causing dehydration and asphyxiation of the bugs, not you.

Dehydrating and asphyxiating the bugs sounds perfect, right?

You can buy Orange Oil at your local natural gardening store.


Learn How to Get Rid of Fleas, Ants & Mosquitoes – Naturally

Got a flea problem? Read The Best Way to Get Rid of Fleas, Naturally. Don’t skip the step about treating your yard with beneficial nematodes. It’s the key to keeping fleas away.

You’ll also learn how best to calm flea bites.

Bothered by ants? You’ll be amazed at how easy it is to get rid of them without toxins. You’ve probably got at least three of the ingredients in your kitchen cabinets. Read Six Killer Ways to Kill Ants Exterminators Won’t Tell You.

If mosquitoes are a problem, try these solutions.


Just curious…

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Then sign up for Zen of Pure Living 12 Week Email Series. You’ll learn how to create a toxic free home easily and without the hassle. Subscribers call it a “must read”.  Sign up!

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Residential Exposure to Pesticide During Childhood and Childhood Cancers: A Meta-Analysis. Mei Chen, PhD, MS, Chi-Hsuan Change, MSc, Lin Tao, PhD, and Chensheng Lu, PhD, MS. Pediatrics Sept 2015.

New York Times: Pesticides Linked to Kids’ Cancers

The Organic Manual – Natural Organic Gardening and Living by Howard Garrett, 3rd Edition

How to Remove Wood Scuff Marks, Naturally

How to Remove Scuff Marks Without Harmful Chemicals


It’s terrible to see scuffs and scrapes on your hardwood floors. You wonder how you or your house mates could be so hard on the floor.

So, what do you do?

There is a way to remove these signs of wear and tear using natural products.

How to remove wood scuff marks:


  1. Place 2-4 drops of tea tea oil on the scuff marks.
  2. Wipe up excess tea tree oil with cloth.
  3. Rub area with distilled white vinegar.

It’s that easy.

What all natural product have you used to remove scuff marks or clean hardwood floors?


Suggested Reading:

The Truth About What’s in Your Cleaning Products

Safe, Non-Toxic Ways to Clean Your Kitchen

The Surprising Way to Clean an Oven Without Fumes