War of the Noses

salvadorDali580On Fridays, the dry-erase board at the physical therapy clinic where I worked always got a good cleaning. There was a recommended spray cleaner that did a great job, and it’s presence in the air for a few minutes after didn’t bother anybody. Except me.

The weird thing was that I could not actually smell the stuff. I knew it was in the air as my head quickly came to feel like all the air was being sucked out of it.

I had the most bizarre sense I was becoming a Salvador Dali distorted human with a twisted head, eyes over and under instead of side by side. I felt like I was going to suffocate. I ran for fresh air, and finally asked that I be warned beforehand so I could escape to the parking lot.

Out here on Goose Creek, I don’t run into chemical encounters so much anymore–except when it is time to clean the shower.

Simple Green works well for this task sprayed full strength. But I cannot hold my breath long enough while scouring the shower stall to avoid the brain-distorting effect of whatever is in that green goo. It’s fragrance is powerful. And it AIN’T simple.

The volatiles or solvents in Simple Green cross immediately into my brain. Not everybody is so affected. There’s a genetic thing I guess, sort of like those who taste and those who do not taste certain chemicals in food.

So–maybe after the cows have left the building–I wondered if I was the only one that had this kind of toxic abhorrence to such products. And the answer is NO.

Here’s just ONE piece in particular about Simple Green. Beware: Your Green Cleaning Product May Be Toxic.

I did see where the maker had promised to clean up its chemical act back in 2010. Don’t know how all that worked out. But I think we’ll just move to vinegar and elbow grease instead.

So the bottom line is–if something in your smell environment makes you ill, make changes–especially if you have small genetically-related children around snorting the same Salvador Dali perfumes.

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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  1. Funny. I just used Simple Green this morning to clean my cooktop and commented that it “nearly took my breath away” as I cast a suspicious eye at the “nontoxic” and “biodegradable” notations on the label. Hadn’t used Simple Green in a long time and had forgotten its volatility!

  2. I had to throw away a bottle of simple green, as I couldn’t stand the smell. Perhaps you need a steam cleaner to tackle your shower. I bought a Shark Pro Pocket Steam cleaner last week, but I have not used it yet.