CONCERN about harmful cleaning products inspired a Clarkston woman to set up her own business offering a chemical-free alternative.

Marie Savage said this week’s revelation that air fresheners and scented household cleaners could be seriously damaging our health did not come as a surprise to her.

She explained: “The research I did when setting up my business was very clear, so I’m not at all surprised by the report. I think it’s very useful that this information is out there.

“It’s down to choice, of course, but people should be able to make an informed choice.”

The Royal College of Physicians and the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health published a report this week into the effects of outdoor air pollution, which they claim is contributing to 40,000 early deaths a year in the UK.

The report also highlights the dangers of indoor factors such as kitchen products, faulty boilers, open fires, fly sprays and air fresheners, all of which can cause poor air quality in our homes, workspaces and schools.

Tobacco remains the biggest indoor threat, but wood-burning stoves, mould and mildew in poorly ventilated rooms can also contribute.

The report states: “There is now good awareness of the risks from badly maintained gas appliances, radioactive radon gas and second-hand tobacco smoke, but indoors we can also be exposed to NO2 [nitrogen dioxide] from gas cooking and solvents that slowly seep from plastics, paints and furnishings.

"The lemon-and-pine scents that we use to make our homes smell fresh can react chemically to generate air pollutants, and ozone-based air fresheners can also cause indoor air pollution."

Marie, who has been a domestic cleaner for 10 years, made the switch to chemical-free products in 2013.

“I wanted to clean my own oven, but was nervous about some of the products on offer so it got me thinking about creating my own,” she said.

“I talked to lots of clients, did some research and looked into old-fashioned methods like using bicarbonate of soda, vinegar and castile soap.”

Marie’s company, Humblestuff, now produces a range of products designed to be safe for use around children, pets and allergy sufferers. They use natural ingredients, such as bog myrtle, a sweet smelling plant found in Scotland, which has natural antibacterial properties.

Marie, who runs the firm with husband Andrew, has secured a deal with Greencity Wholefoods, who distribute to stores throughout Scotland, Northern Ireland and the north of England.

Marie said: “We have had great feedback so far and we are delighted our products will now be available further afield.”