That Which Kills You: 10 Things You Use At Home That Were Exposed As Potentially Toxic ProductsPosted:
There are over 80,000 chemicals used in manufacturing in the United States.
Unfortunately, many of these haven’t been fully tested for safety. And many of those that have been tested fall short, despite their continued use today.
The number of harmful chemicals hiding in goods you use every day might surprise you. Keep reading to learn about 10 of the potentially toxic products you have in your home.
1. Cleaning Products
We’ve known for many years that common cleaning products hide a wealth of household toxins. There’s 2-butoxyethanol in glass cleaners, alkylphenol ethoxylates in stain removers, and monoethanolamine in laundry detergents, to name a few.
These chemicals are linked to asthma, low birth weight, decreased fertility, and reproductive harm. As such, it’s always best to buy natural cleaners or make your own instead.
2. Plastic Containers
There’s no doubt that plastic water bottles and food containers make our lives easier. But did you know that using the wrong ones can increase your risk of early puberty, hormonal disruption, and breast cancer?
Many single-use and reusable plastics contain BPA, the chemical responsible for these health concerns. It’s also found in some food can linings and the thermal paper used for receipts. To reduce your risk, choose products labeled BPA-free and avoid heating food or water in plastic containers.
3. Nail Polishes
A nice manicure isn’t worth the headache, fatigue, dizziness, and irritation that can be caused by the toluene in nail polishes. High levels of this chemical have also been linked to developmental and reproductive harm.
Make sure to only choose nail products labeled “toluene-free” or “three-free” and always paint your nails in a well-ventilated area.
4. Perfumes and Air Fresheners
Artificial fragrances often contain phthalates, galaxolide, and tonalide. Known as synthetic musk compounds (SMCs), these chemicals have been linked to hormone disruption, birth defects, respiratory and reproductive problems, and increased cancer risks.
While small amounts won’t hurt you, make sure to use fragrances in a well-ventilated area. Or, better yet, choose products labeled fragrance- or phthalate-free.
5. Non-Stick Pots and Pans
For those of us that dread doing the dishes, non-stick Teflon cookware is an attractive option.
But did you know that the Teflon coating, polytetrafluoroethylene, becomes toxic once the coating gets scratched and the pan is heated? The chemicals are released as a gas that has been linked to immune, thyroid, reproductive, and liver problems. It’s also highly toxic to birds, so opt for iron and ceramic cookware instead.
6. Cosmetics and Beauty Products
According to our grandmothers, it takes pains to be beautiful. But the health risks associated with many personal care products far outweigh their benefits. Because cosmetic companies don’t have to report their formulas to the FDA, harmful additives often slip through.
The suds in your favorite shampoos and body washes are often created by Sodium Laureth Sulfate, a compound containing 1,4-dioxane. This chemical has been linked to both cancer and birth defects. And your favorite makeups could contain traces of lead, phthalates, parabens, and synthetic dyes.
To stay safe, be sure to buy beauty care products that are organic or made from natural oils and minerals.
7. Weed Killers
It shouldn’t come as a shock that the chemicals meant to kill hardy plants can be dangerous to humans as well. Most of them contain a chemical known as glyphosate, which has long been a suspected carcinogen. The US government is currently investigating whether glyphosate-based formulations are even more dangerous than glyphosate by itself.
The most well-known link between weed killers and health problems revolves around the popular Roundup brand. Head over to this post to find out more about the Roundup toxicity scandal.
8. Bug Sprays
Research has found a direct link between pesticides and neurological damage. This connection is especially clear in children. Even moderate exposure to pesticides via inhalation or absorption can lead to cognitive and psychomotor problems.
Instead of taking care of an insect problem with sprays or bug bombs, try using a natural remedy like essential oils or diatomaceous earth. And to prevent an insect problem in the first place, keep your kitchen counters clean and free of clutter and seal up any cracks in your home’s exterior.
9. Baby Products
We would never purposely put our young children in harm’s way, but sometimes we do go overboard in our attempts to protect them. That’s why many popular baby and child products—like strollers, pajamas, and mattresses—have been doused in flame retardants known as PBDEs.
It’s a noble thought, but these flame retardants can do more harm than good. One study linked PBDEs to early puberty, thyroid disruption, cognitive problems, and developmental delays. And in children with sensitive skin, they can also lead to hives and itchy skin rashes.
Check tags closely to find products and clothing that are made of polyester, which is flame resistant without PBDEs, or untreated natural fibers.
10. Antibacterials and Disinfectants
Many popular antibacterial hand soaps, hand sanitizers, and household disinfectants contain chemicals known as ammonium quaternary compounds (“quats” for short). Quats are EPA-registered pesticides that can lead to serious irritation of your skin and lungs, possibly triggering dermatitis and asthma attacks. Some studies also claim that Quats can negatively affect fertility and reproductive health.
And even when they don’t contain toxic chemicals, antibacterial soaps and hand sanitizers contribute to the creation of superbugs by ensuring that only the strongest bacteria (that sneaky 0.01% left behind) survive to replicate.
Cleanse Your Home of These Toxic Products for Better Health
While it’s asking a lot to remove all these toxic products from your home, every small step counts. Consider replacing your conventional cleaning products and air fresheners with natural ones, switching from hand sanitizer to good old-fashioned soap, and ditching the plastic containers in favor of metal and glass ones. These little changes can go a long way toward helping your family live safer, healthier lives.
Be sure to check back with our health archives frequently for more information on how to improve your well-being.
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