Cleaning without damaging your fertility

These chemical products used in our daily life also endanger our fertility and reproductive health. What are these products? What effect do they have on our reproduction? And how can we clean up healthily?

We breathe them, our children touch them and eat them and our skin is filled with it. It is in the laundry detergent and fabric softener on our sheets and our clothes, on the clean floors, on our dishes and particles even float in the air. In fact, indoor air in 10 to 20 times more polluted than outdoor air and an average Canadian family uses 20 to 40litres of cleaning products each year. Furthermore, 1000 toxic substances and allergens have been identified in house dust. Finally, beware of all the scented products. They contain phthalates to prolong the scent but phthalates are also endocrine disruptors, that is to say they disturb hormonal processes.

What kind of name is that?

Here is a list of the chemical substances that can be found in our cleaning products:

  • Glycol ethers found in all-purpose cleaners
  • Nonylphenol ethoxylates and nonylphenol found in laundry detergents and all-purpose cleaners
  • Phthalates found in perfumes, fabric softeners, laundry detergents, floor coverings, paints and lubricants
  • PCBs
  • Pesticides found in insecticides
  • Organic solvents such as spot removers, degreasers and disinfectants
  • Bisphenol A present in dyes and cleaners
  • Triclosan "antibacterial" present in many products, including hand gels and soaps, toothpaste
Effects on the reproductive system

In addition to causing other negative effects on health (cancer, respiratory problems, etc..), These products are harmful to the reproductive system, development of the embryo and the hormonal (endocrine) system, which have a fragile balance. The harmonization of sex hormones is sensitive during adolescence. They help the release of eggs, sperm development, sexual behaviour, fertilization, conceptions and sexual normality of the foetus.

The chemicals found in our cleaning products can interfere with our sexual functioning or reproductive capacity early in puberty and throughout adulthood.

In women, puberty, menstrual cycles and menopause may come earlier and these products reduce fertility, gestation and lactation. They are also responsible for the irregularity of some women’s cycle. Changes were also noticed in the male/female ratio with less male babies because the chromosome responsible for the masculine gender is more fragile.

For men, it is the quality and the quantity of sperms that is altered as well as their fertility. It can also result in birth defects.

Effects on embryo development

Long-term contact with these chemicals can contribute to miscarriages, premature delivery, low weight baby. The embryo can also develop birth defects, visual and auditory deficits and chromosomal abnormalities. Finally, intellectual, psychological and behavioural problems may occur in later childhood.

The weakest

Foetuses and young children are the most vulnerable to these adverse effects since their metabolic system is in development. The damage could be irreversible. In addition, children breathe more air than adults for each kilogram of body weight, spend more time on the floor and explore with their mouth and hands. Finally, effects are often long lasting and can come from the exposure of parents and grandparents to toxic substances!

Green cleaning

Lemon juice fights grease and stains on mirrors and dishes. White vinegar is good against mold, grease and bacteria. To scour, cleanse, deodorize, soften fabrics and even unclog drains, nothing beats baking soda. Finally, table salt and cornstarch can help disinfect and scrub for one and remove stains and odours for the other. There are many homemade recipes to clean our home. See the practical guides by Option consommateurs below. Specialized boutiques and supermarkets also sell green cleaning products that can take care of all your duties.

Finally, we cannot change all of our habits overnight but a few steps at a time will help. For example, use essential oils instead of perfumes, avoid products deemed antibacterial that contain Triclosan and open the windows 5 minutes a day!


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