The Toxins in Your Home
Is your house making you sick? Toxins can be found everywhere in your home. The longer you’re exposed to them, the greater your risk for developing complications.
Causes: Coal and tar based sealants are shown to cause cancer or other genetic mutations.
Better alternative: Gravel and other porous materials are best for driveways because they allow rainwater to sink into the ground.
Avoid: Antimicrobial chemical triclosan
Where: Used in toothpaste and antibacterial soaps
Better alternative: Good old-fashioned soap and water
Where: flooring, shower curtains, fake leather furniture, clothing and accessories
Causes: Linked to hormone disruption, stunted growth, obesity, and other health problems, as well as low IQs.
Better alternative: Opt for wood, bamboo, or cork that’s certified.
Where: Electronics, carpets, carpet padding, and furniture foam
Causes: Wide range of health problems, including infertility, thyroid problems, learning disabilities, and hormone disruption
Avoid: Bisphenol A, or BPA, a hormone-disrupting chemical
Causes: Male infertility, diabetes, heart disease, aggressive behavior in kids, and other ills
Where: Used in some No. 7 plastic bottles and most canned-food containers
Better Alternative: Opt for fresh or frozen fruits and veggies, and bypass cans as often as possible
Where: In the kitchen, bathroom, or even the laundry room (scented, petroleum-based laundry detergents contain high levels of volatile organic compounds). Pressed wood and particle board cabinets, and other furniture are big emitters of VOCs
Causes: Linked to asthma and cancer, and they add to indoor air pollution
Better Alternative: Choose unscented, plant-based detergents, or go old school with castile soap or washing soda and Borax to clean your clothing.
On Your Deck and Playset:
Contains: Arsenic injected into the wood, which can leach into soil and groundwater and get on your’s and your children’s hands
Buy Alternatives: Choose woods that are naturally pest resistant, such as cedar and black locust
Seal It: Painting wood with latex paint or polyurethane about every 6 months will help seal in the organic
Where: apples, celery, cherries, grapes, green beans, lettuce, peaches, pears, red raspberries, spinach, strawberries, and winter squash
Causes: linked to increased risk of cancer, hormonal problems, and allergic reactions
On Your Walls:
Avoid: Lead-based paint made before 1978
Causes: High blood pressure and memory problems
Test It: hire a trained technician to test the paint and determine if it contains lead
Fix it Carefully: It cracking or flaking pain is lead based, your safest bet is to have a certified professional clean it up in accordance with EPA guidelines
Through Your Faucet:
Contains: Lead, chlorinated by-products and arsenic
Solution: Check the label before buying to make sure the product you choose removes lead and other contaminants
Causes: Breathing disorders, heart disease, cancer, and an increased risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)
Check the TRI: Find out whethere you live near industries that are releasing potential toxins into the air, water or soil, by calling the EPA’s information hotline for the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI)
Bisphenol A (BPA):
What It Is: Chemical used in plastic production
Found In: Water bottles, baby bottles, plastic wraps, food packaging
Health Hazards: National Toxicology Program has concluded that there is some concern about brain and behavioral effects on fetuses and young children at current exposure levels
What It Is: Naturally occurring fibrous mineral
Found In: Housing insulation drywall, artificial fire logs, toys
Health Hazards: Mesotheloma
What You Should Know: Asbestos in products is not always labeled and while most manufacturers have abandoned it or reduced its levels, it’s still not banned by the U.S. government
Quarternary Ammonium Compounds or “Quats”
Found In: Fabric softener liquids and sheets, and most household cleaners labeled “antibacterial”
Causes: Breed antibiotic-resistant bacteria. They’re also a skin irritant and can cause respiratory disorders
Healthier Choice: You don’t really need fabric softener or dryer sheets to soften clothes or get rid of static. Simple vinegar works just as well.