We all know that it's a good idea to bring our own reusable bags to the grocery store and buy organic, eco-friendly products.
But what about the toxic chemicals that are already in our home. I have been fooled and purchased products that are labeled “organic” or “all natural”. This is called "greenwashing" (more on that here).
The reality is that these terms don’t actually have much meaning.
Chances are, you're using them every day without even realizing it.
Let's take a look at 10 of the most common toxic chemicals lurking around your house.
- Triclosan - This chemical is found in many common household items such as deodorant, toothpaste and body wash. It has been linked to hormone disruption and antibiotic resistance in humans. Unfortunately, triclosan is still commonly used despite its health risks.
- Phthalates - These chemicals are used in plastic products such as food containers and water bottles to increase their flexibility and durability. Studies have shown that exposure to phthalates can cause reproductive problems and asthma attacks in children.
- Formaldehyde - Found in nail polish, hairspray, furniture polish and paint strippers. Formaldehyde can cause skin irritation and respiratory problems if inhaled or even when it is absorbed through the skin for long periods of time.
- Ammonia- Ammonia is used as a preservative in many household cleaning products such as window cleaners and dishwashing liquids; however, it can be highly toxic if ingested or inhaled over long periods of time. Inhaling ammonia can lead to respiratory irritation and lung damage over time if not properly ventilated when using these products.
- Chlorine - Used regularly in swimming pools for disinfection purposes, chlorine can be an irritant when inhaled or touched directly against the skin for too long (pool workers can be seen wearing something similar to a hazmat suit). If exposed for extended periods of time chlorine can also cause liver or kidney damage due to prolonged exposure.
- Lead - Lead is mostly found in paint from old houses built before the 1950s but can also be found in other materials like pipes or roofing tiles which contain lead-based glazing materials. Exposure to lead can cause serious health issues including brain damage if inhaled or ingested.
- Benzene – Benzene is a colorless liquid with a sweet odor that has been linked to increased risk of leukemia when exposed over long periods of time. This is typically associated with cosmetics.
- Toluene – Toluene is another component found on gasoline fumes which has been linked with headaches nausea dizziness lightheadedness confusion depression among other symptoms. This is also typically found associated with cosmetics.
- Cadmium – Cadmium is a heavy metal found mostly in rechargeable batteries, jewelry and coins made before the 1970s as well as some paints, pigments and dyes which have been linked with cancer and kidney disease if ingested so always make sure you discard old batteries properly.
- Bisphenol A (BPA) – BPA is a chemical used primarily on plastics like food containers, water bottles and baby bottles but has been linked with reproductive issues diabetes & obesity so always check labels before buying any plastic product.
While it might seem daunting at first, knowing which toxic chemicals are lurking around your house is simple. Taking steps towards eliminating them from your home environment will benefit you, your family and your pet's health in the long run. Armed with this knowledge, you'll now be able to spot potential hazards.
Keep an eye out for any suspicious substances while shopping or cleaning up around the house.
With just a few simple changes, your home will soon become much safer and healthier for everyone living inside it. A clean home does not require rubber gloves or gas masks.
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