HEALTH: Are household chemicals a threat to our children’s growing brains?

22 August 2016
Reading time2 mins

Every day Australians are exposed to a variety of chemicals found in common household items. A growing body of research suggests many of these chemicals may also pose a threat to the developing brain.

According to Building Biologist and healthy home expert Nicole Bijlsma, 80–90 per cent of chemicals in household products have never been tested.

“The consumer perception that anything on the shelf has been tested is a myth. Most chemicals have never been tested for long-term effects.

“Children and foetuses are especially vulnerable because the testing does not take into account developmental effects,” she said.

A 2014 Griffith University study found indoor air pollutants are two to five times higher than the pollution outside homes. In some cases, indoor pollution has been up to 100 times higher than outside.

The study also stated children were more susceptible than adults when exposed to chemical toxins.

Jo and Rowena Jongejan, owners of Brisbane business Family Clean, started researching the effects of the chemicals in their own home while son Rocco battled ongoing illness including severe eczema and asthma attacks.

Rowena said she has always been inclined to keep her home meticulously clean.

“I found all Rocco’s symptoms were linked to toxic chemicals found in our cleaning products, body soaps and the like.”

The family not only overhauled their home life but the products they used within their business making it their mission to educate both cleaners and families within the community on the effects of chemicals within the home, particularly in children.

Nicole personally discovered the devastating effects after learning the chemical overload within her home was a contributing factor to 10 miscarriages over seven years.

After seeking advice from various specialists, she eventually discovered the toxicity levels in the air, food, and products in her home were affecting her pregnancies.

She removed the toxicity and other dangerous elements within her home and successfully had three children.

"Every 60 seconds another 20 chemicals are registered for use on the world’s largest chemical database – the Chemical Abstract Service. To put that into context, that's 200,000 new chemicals every week. Up to 90 per cent of the manmade portion of these chemicals have never been tested for their impact on human health.” Nicole said.

For more on chemicals in the home, try the recent article How to clean kids without the chemicals, and the news Do spray sunscreens pose a health risk?

Jo Jongejan is one half of the husband and wife duo that own and operate Family Clean - a small, family-run cleaning business based in Brisbane. Family Clean are focused on exceptional customer service, a close-knit team environment that deliver a personal, caring service.

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Jo Jongejan
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