As I’ve gotten older, I’ve noticed my lungs, which were never that healthy, have become a lot more sensitive to environmental factors: pollen, scented oils, dust, household cleaners, and so on. I started thinking about this topic because of something that happened the other night.
I was in the bathroom getting ready for bed, when I noticed an uninvited guest. It was some kind of insect. Since we have the house treated for pests regularly, I didn’t have a can of insecticide nearby. Or at all. So I grabbed the first thing at hand, a spray bottle of Scrubbing Bubbles that I keep in the shower.
It was like I turned off that bug’s switch. It didn’t kick or spasm. It just stopped, literally dead in its tracks.
I didn’t think a lot about this at the time because I’ve also killed insects with hair spray.
A couple of nights later, I killed a spider with the Scrubbing Bubbles (R), which really do a great job on the shower. It was really irritated and hid under a rug. I found it a couple of feet away the next morning.
For once I was glad that growing up near a chemical plant damaged my lungs enough that I instinctively hold my breath whenever I use a spray product. That’s also when I really started thinking.
What is it in this common cleaner that kills so effectively?
When I googled “scrubbing bubbles and lungs,” the top hit was a scary page called “10 of the Most Toxic Cleaning Supplies.” Turns out my favorite cleaner contains some really nasty chemicals (not really a big surprise), including one that is banned in the EU at concentrations of more than 3% for its effects on human lungs.
I’m going to continue using my spray-bottle helper. But I’m going to be even more careful about holding my breath.