You’d be amazed by how many different toxic, dangerous, and even potentially deadly chemicals are living in your home!
Some masquerade as innocuous items you use on a daily basis, while others are found in your cleaning supplies. Wherever they are, it’s important that you know the potential danger you’re in so you can find safe, non-toxic alternatives for your home!
Here is a list of some of the most dangerous residents that share your house with you:
Oven and Drain Cleaners – These cleaners require the use of potent chemicals in order to be effective, but you’d be amazed by how toxic they can be! The chemicals can emit toxic fumes and will cause chemical burns if exposed to your skin, and they can become highly dangerous if not cleaned thoroughly before turning on your oven. Even “green” cleaners may not be fully safe or natural, so it’s better to find non-toxic solutions—like baking soda and vinegar, for example!
Laundry detergents – The enzymes in these detergents are designed to loosen dirt and stains, but any detergent with “cationic” or “non-ionic” ingredients can be irritating at best and toxic at worst. The over-use of some detergents can actually lead to the development of asthma!
Teflon/Non-Stick Cookware – Did you know that overheating non-stick pans can be deadly? One 1975 study found that heating new Teflon-coated pans can lead to pyrolysis in birds, which can be fatal. Humans can develop polymer fume fever as well, making these non-stick pans a much more serious threat than once believed
Plastic Bottles – Many cheap plastic bottles are made with a chemical known as BPA, or Bisphenol-A. This chemical can mimic hormones that damage your endocrine system, leading to hormonal imbalances or deficiencies. Heated bottles—in the microwave, exposed to the sun, sitting in your car, etc.—leach these toxic chemicals into your water far faster. BPA has been linked to a number of different types of cancers, making it one of the most serious threats to your health in your home!
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Dryer Sheets and Fabric Softeners – Do you have any idea how many different chemicals are used in these products? Limonene, ethyl acetate, A-terpineol, benzyl alcohol, benzyl acetate, and ethanol are just a few of the most potent ingredients—all of which have been linked to disorders of the central nervous system, as well as certain types of cancer, upper respiratory tract infections, and even asthma.
Air Fresheners – They may make your house smell pleasant, but do you have any idea what they’re doing to your body? Any air freshener made from petrochemicals (including diffusers, aerosols, automatic sprayers, plug-ins, and bottled sprays) can lead to all sorts of problems: diabetes, heart disease, breast cancer, reproductive health issues, birth defects, and respiratory problems. Worse, the effects are compounded with regular use, so you’re making the problem bigger every time you spray that aerosol!
Bleach – Bleach is made with sodium hypochlorite in concentrations ranging from 0.7 to 5.25%, and the higher concentrations of bleach can be very toxic. Inhaling bleach odors can irritate your nose, eyes, throat, and skin, and direct contact with the bleach can lead to dermatitis. If you directly ingest it, you can do serious damage to your stomach and esophagus.
Antibacterial Cleaners – While these may be intended to help get rid of bacteria from your counters and stove, they can be much stronger than you’d expect. In addition to the water and fragrance, they contain surfactants and a pesticide. The pesticide in these cleaners are typically either phenolic chemicals or quaternary ammonium, both of which can burn your skin and throat and irritate your eyes.
Upholstery and Carpet Cleaners – These cleaners are effective at getting rid of stains, but they can release toxic, dangerous fumes. The combination of naphthalene, ammonium hydroxide, and perchloroethylene can release fumes that cause liver damage, cancer, and even short-term effects like dizziness, nausea, disorientation, and loss of appetite. If you’re going to clean your carpets or couches, make sure to open a window!
Insect Repellents – Keeping mosquitoes away from your skin can make life more comfortable, but do you know what’s in that insect repellent? Most contain pesticides, including one called DEET. DEET can lead to irritated skin, eyes, nose, and throat, and may even trigger chemical changes within your body, including mental confusion, loss of coordination, anxiety, and behavioral changes.
Now you now the chemical threats that are lurking in your home, so it’s up to you to take the steps to remove them and make your home safe!
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