Blog : Cleaning Caution: When “Keep Out of Reach of Children” Isn’t Enough

By Corey | Feb 17, 2015 | in

By Kristyn Lak Miller

PORTSMOUTH – “Keep Out of Reach of Children” is a familiar warning label found on most conventional cleaning products because of the harmful chemicals they contain. Yet keeping these common cleaners out of children’s reach may not be enough.

From laundry detergent to liquid cleaners for floors, sinks and stovetops, each is a hazard that can adversely effect the health of adults and especially children.

According to a series of studies, exposure to the chemicals found in common household cleaners – even exposure through the skin or respiratory tract – is linked to childhood maladies like autism, asthma, allergies, ADHD and cancer. And exposure can start before a child is born. A recent study in PLOS One journal reveals pregnant women with high levels of exposure to commonly used chemicals di-nbutyl phthalate and di-isobutyl phthalate gave birth to children with significantly lower IQ’s; according to the study, by age 7, children with higher exposure levels had IQ’s more than six points below children with lower exposure levels.

But there is an increasingly large consumer migration away from these types of products and services in favor of safer, more environmentally conscious alternatives.

“As a father to three children [ages 10, 14, and 15], this insight is infuriating,” says 44-year-old Gavin Barbour of Kittery, Maine. “Innocent children shouldn’t be harmed, possibly for life, by cleaning products. Parents need to take action. Use green cleaning products or professionals. My family uses Green Maids, and it’s comforting to know our clean house is honestly clean.”

 

Founded in 2009 by Johnmark O’Brien, Green Maids is an environmentally-friendly professional cleaning company, servicing residential and commercial customers in southern Maine and the New Hampshire seacoast. Before starting his business, O’Brien conducted research concluding 90 percent of toxic exposures are suspected to come from the chemicals people use to clean their homes. And he was determined to do something about it.

“It’s a common misconception that you need harsh chemicals to properly clean a home, but natural cleaning products can do the job just as well – actually better, because they’re not harmful to your health,” says O’Brien. “All the products Green Maids uses are all-natural, biodegradable, earth-friendly, non-toxic and safe. In addition, the manufacturers and distributors we use have to have an environmentally responsible mission.”

And O'Brien keeps an eye on the green-cleaning market, seeking out new products and staying up-to-date on the latest advancements in chem-free cleaning. "I try new products all the time and I hand-pick the products that work the best," he said.

The products that meet O’Brien’s discerning standards don’t contain overwhelming odors, toxins, nitrates, or phosphates and are never tested on animals. And, post cleaning, O’Brien guarantees a sparkle no different than the one expected of any professional conventional cleaning service.

"It’s gratifying as a business owner and community member to know that nothing Green Maids does has a negative impact on our community or environment," O'Brien says.

Green Maids’ environmental awareness and dedication goes beyond the cleaning products it uses. “You won’t see us using rolls and rolls of paper towels, instead we clean with reusable microfiber cloths,” says O’Brien. “Same with a lot of the popular disposable mop pads – you won’t see those in our equipment. Again, we stick with a reusable option to reduce landfill waste.”

In addition, Green Maids use Toyota Prii for day-to-day travel and carefully coordinate each daily schedule to reduce mileage and gas consumption. “We even wear uniforms constructed of recycled cotton, and, most recently, moved our headquarters to the over 90 percent-recycled Regeneration Park in Portsmouth,” says O’Brien.

Green Maids is also a partner with the Green Alliance, a locally driven union passionate about bringing together environmentally-friendly businesses while also providing its members with discounts on green products and services.

“It’s unfortunate that many people don’t realize the harmful effects of traditional chemical products and methods,” says O’Brien. “Traditional household cleaning products have a reach, a negative reach, well beyond the home. Fumes from these chemical products are released into the air and the chemical-laden liquids are washed down our drains, causing air and water pollution."

O’Brien encourages people, especially parents, to do their homework when it comes to choosing the right cleaning products. Some products available to consumers masquerade as 'green' when in reality they are still composed of toxic chemicals.

“There are a lot of so-called ‘green’ products popping up on the shelves and, unfortunately, not all of them are as natural as you’d like them to be,” says O’Brien. “Same goes for cleaning services. 100 percent green cleaning is the only service Green Maids offers – it’s the only service we’ve ever offered and it’s the only service we will ever offer. We’re up-to-date on the best and the greenest products and methods on the market, and we have families and the environment in mind with every decision we make.”

To learn more about Green Maids, visit www.greenmaidscleaning.com 

For more information on the Green Alliance, become a member here