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Cleaning chemicals you’re using amid the COVID-19 outbreak could be harming your health

Dr. Cindy Lin of San Diego, an environmental scientist, says right now especially it’s important to improve the air quality in our homes.

SAN DIEGO — Most of us are spending more time at home and if you’re constantly cleaning your home to avoid the coronavirus, you could be doing more harm than good. 

Dr. Cindy Lin of San Diego, an environmental scientist, says right now especially it’s important to improve the air quality in our homes.

Lin worked at US Environmental Protection Agency for 19 years and says many of us are trying to be responsible right now by cleaning our homes to avoid COVID-19. However, we may not realize that conventional cleaning products have chemicals like ionic surfactants and fumes that are toxic and we're breathing them in.

"As people are doing this they're actually decreasing their own health along the way. The best thing to do right now is to make sure you're healthy, but if you're affecting your respiratory system right now and you get exposure, it will be tougher for you to defend yourself because your immunity will actually decrease," said Lin.

Lin says ultimately you can kill the virus with soap and water and anything alcohol based. Just recently, Lin launched a website called HeySocialGood with her husband who's a biophysicist. HeySocialGood is a data-driven "Yelp-like" platform that helps you find socially conscious companies.

"You can search for cleaning supplies, for example, and you get to learn about the stories of these founders. A lot of them are small or medium enterprises that they themselves got into this because someone got sick in their family and they found out these ionic surfactants that can lead to all kinds of health issues,” said Lin.

Lin says other things you can do to improve the air quality in your home includes airing it out frequently. Be aware of materials and fabrics used in the house, particularly new purchases. Often, new materials can result in off gassing of noxious fumes -- those "plasticy" smells. Put them temporarily outdoors or open windows to make sure the airborne pollutants don't linger around in the home.