Health & Safety at home

Play it safe while you clean

Now that you know how the Jewish General Hospital is improving cleanliness to fight infection, you might want to wage your own germ fighting campaign at home. But before you do, take precautions.

Many household cleaning products can be dangerous to your health, says Tony Nappi, Chief of JGH Housekeeping Services. “A lot of people are unaware that mixing certain types of everyday cleaning products generates toxic gases that can be inhaled without the person’s knowledge,” he explains. For instance, labels on jugs of bleach do warn about the dangers of consuming this chemical. However, he says, not all labels tell users that great harm can result from the extremely toxic chlorine gas that is produced when bleach is mixed with many common bathroom cleansers.

As awareness increases about the potential dangers of certain cleaning products, momentum has been building toward a revival of cleaning methods of the past. “A mixture of baking soda and water is a great cleaning solution for countertops, toilets and kitchens,” Mr. Nappi says. “Baking soda is non-abrasive and provides a clean, safe alternative to many of the harsh, corrosive products found in stores.”

Still, if you prefer commercial products, look for “Green Seal”, “Seventh Generation,” “Nature Clean” or “DfE” (Design for the Environment) certification on the label as proof of safety and environmental friendliness. For more on this subject, please visit D or

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