The other day I took the garbage out the kitchen. Little gnats had been flying around the house and I had traced the source of the problem to the kitchen trash can. The little pest would fly right into my face while I was on the computer and the annoyance had gotten to the point I had to take the offensive. The bugs were being attracted to the remains of some fruit. As I pulled the plastic liner out of the can several of the flying pest lingered at the bottom of the can refusing to abandon whatever aromas lingered I guess. If I could act quickly enough I could take out about a half dozen bugs. Garbage bag in one hand I couldn’t find the bug spray fast enough and reached for whatever I could spray within arms reach. I grabbed the Fabreze out the pantry right next to the trash can and started spraying. Amazingly, the flying bugs went down as if I had used real bug killer. Victory was mine! I took the garbage out to the can patting myself on my back with my freehand on my quick thinking and improvisation.
But as I returned from the trip out to the big trash bin I pondered what I had just witnessed. Anybody who has watched any television channel with commercials knows the Fabreze commercial. The advertisements depict people rushing home just to inhale the smell of the couch or the curtains as if they were coke junkies and the curtains were embedded with the stuff. You no longer have to clean anything. Just a couple of sprays of Fabreze and you’ll forget how dirty whatever you just sprayed really is. You don’t have to remember that you are still inhaling the original foul odor but additionally, a powerful, heavily scented assemblage of chemicals designed to overwhelm. If the gnats are any indication what could this consumer product be doing to humans?
I don’t pretend to be an expert on fragrances or knowledgeable of the chemicals used to generate the aromas that come in a spray bottle or in a box of drier sheets, a perfumed candle, or whatever. But I do know a little something about cause and effect. After watching the way that squirt of Fabreze took out those bugs I have to say that in the future I’d be skeptical of inhaling anything like that at all. Kind of like the canary in the mineshaft. After all those commercials I’ve seen about kids suffering brain damage after trying to get a high off of model glue and other inhalants I have to be seriously doubtful about the safety of such chemical products being used so indiscriminately in the home.
It’s interesting to see so many household products being made more powerful and more effective than ever before. There is the new detergent with new fast acting alpha dirt blockers. There’s the new toothpaste with more brighteners to make teeth glow their whitest without brushing for days. There’s the new spray on fabric softener where a couple of sprays is all you need to keep your lazy ass from having to iron clothes. There is the new home air freshener aroma therapy candles that will make your entire house smell fresh within just a couple of minutes of being activated. There’s a new automatic aroma sprayer that will keep the air in your bathroom or any other room in your house full of enough chemicals to keep the artificial fragrance of a mountain breeze in your home. There are bathroom shower chemicals that can clean glass without ever wiping. And this is just the tip of the “new products and new chemicals for the consumer” iceberg.
Honestly, I don’t think the squirt of Fabreze is capable of taking me out the way it took out those bugs. With about a gazillion times the mass of the gnat I do believe I’m a bit more resistant to the chemical effects. But with so many chemicals coming at us from so many different directions almost at a constant onslaught it is rather amazing that we don’t keel over like the gnat. Or maybe we do affect our health just as negatively but a lot more slowly. There are so many people who are becoming ill for reasons beyond doctor’s understanding. So many diseases are popping up like never before and we really don’t know the causes. There are more unexplained illnesses. More children are growing up with asthma and other breathing problems. More and more children are born autistic. And all the while we are getting more consumer chemicals that are designed to make our lives easier.
Personally, I like the thought of knowing my house is clean and not simply smelling clean because I’m overpowering foul smells with chemicals. I like knowing my bathroom is clean and any chemicals I used to clean it have been washed down the drain and not simply evaporating in the air for me to inhale later along with the dirt they lifted. I like the thought of having my clothes ironed with good old fashioned spray starch and an iron and not because there’s some chemical forcing the fabric to straighten and stiffen and possibly come in contact with my skin. And knowing that I don’t have the best (or any) access to America’s healthcare system when I develop breathing problems and skin irritations and the like, I think it will be in my best interest to leave alone these new and improved, sweet smelling consumer products filled with the latest research from DuPont, Monsanto, Dow, and other chemical companies that just so happen to be war contractors as well. Chances are the less I rely on these chemicals to do the things for me that I should be doing for myself the happier and healthier I’ll be.
More than likely I’ll continue to use Fabreze. But only for the trash can and I seriously doubt if I’ll be rushing home to inhale my next Fabreze fix.