I’m torn. I am a hippie at heart. I was raised by hippies. I grew up weaving yarn on a loom and dancing to drum circles. Some people are born with a silver spoon? I was born with a burning sage. You know, for cleansing.
But here’s my dirty secret: I love bleach. I love it! It makes me feel clean and safe and sanitary and most of all, oh man that stuff works.
But I know, in my little hippie heart and even in my scientist brain, I know that although chlorine bleach may do the job, it’s not exactly innocuous. Cleaning with bleach releases chlorinated volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, which are toxic carcinogens. The chemical load that we are releasing into the atmosphere is astronomical, and truly frightening.
But chlorine bleach is also a human health hazard. It’s corrosive and can burn the skin, ruin clothing and other materials, and rust or damage metal. It releases powerful fumes which can cause eye, nose, throat, and gastrointestinal irritation. If mixed with other chemicals, like ammonia, it becomes a serious poison and can even be fatal.
Okay, so what are the alternatives? And are they any good? Let’s take a look.
Oxygen Bleach: Oxygen bleach sanitizes and cleans just like a traditional chlorine bleach. However here, the main ingredient is hydrogen peroxide instead of sodium hypochlorite. Oxygen bleach is effective against bacteria, viruses, molds and mildews and most other organic material. It’s powerful stuff, just like chlorinated bleach.
When oxygen bleach breaks down, the only thing it leaves behind is water, oxygen, and soda ash. That means it has no negative environmental impact. In fact, it’s considered a natural cleanser. And as an added bonus, oxygen bleach is totally odor-free.
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