Many of our household products now contain toxic chemicals which can seriously affect our health with short-term or prolong exposure. As consumers, we must be proactive in knowing what these chemicals are so that we could be more careful in choosing which products to buy:
Here are some of the toxic chemicals in common household products that you must avoid:
1. Glyphosate in Household Pesticides
Many homes now use some form of pesticides to kill household pests such as ants, rodents, roaches and many others. Most of these pesticides contain carcinogenic chemicals including glyphosate which is linked to non-Hodgkins lymphoma.
2. Naphthalene and Paradichlorobenzene in Mothballs
One of the most popular types of mothballs uses naphthalene, a toxic chemical that can damage red blood cells with prolonged exposure. Other mothballs also contain paradichlorobenzene which studies show causes cancer among animals.
3. Glycol Ethers in Cleaning Solutions
Excessive use of commercial cleaning solutions especially in an unventilated area can cause the release of the toxic chemicals called glycol ethers. Short-term exposure can lead to nausea, lethargy and fatigue and prolonged exposure can possibly damage your kidney or liver.
4. Glycol Ethers in Air Fresheners
Just like cleaning solutions, air fresheners also release ethers and terpenes in the atmosphere. Additionally, there are air fresheners which also emit cancer-causing paradichlorobenzene.
5. PBDEs in Flame Retardants
PBDEs or polybrominated diphenyl ethers is commonly used as flame retardants in upholstery, mattresses, furniture cushion and many other things at home. It can be released in the atmosphere once these things start to degrade. PBDEs are known to be endocrine disruptors and are linked to memory and learning problems. Studies also show that prolonged exposure leads to lower sperm counts as well as poor functioning of the thyroid in mice. Although there are little data available, PBDEs may also be linked to breast cancer in women.
6. PERC in Dry-cleaning Chemicals
One of the commonly used chemicals in dry-cleaning products is theperchloroethylene or PERC. Studies show that women who have prolong exposure to this chemical have a greater risk of developing breast cancer.
7. BPA in Plastics
Bisphenol-a or BPA is a toxic chemical found in polycarbonate plastics such as those used in baby bottles, plastic containers and water bottles. It could leach into your food or drink especially when it is exposed to heat. BPA is known as a hormone-disruptor since it interferes with the body’s hormones. Prolonged exposure to BPA could lead to serious health problems such as obesity, neurological problems, risk of cetain types of cancer, and many others.
8. Butyl Cellosolve in All-purpose Cleaners
Butyl cellosolve, a chemical commonly found in all-purpose household cleaners as well as window cleaners can damage the nervous system, liver, kidney and bone marrow.
9. VOCs in Laser Printers
VOCS or volatile organic compounds released by inkjet and laser printers when used could have some harmful effects to your health including throat and nose irritation, asthma and to some extent heart and lung diseases.
10. Phthalates Cosmetic Products
Many cosmetic products such as shampoos, deodorants, hair sprays and fragrances contain a chemical known as Phthalates. It is an endocrine disruptor that can increase your risk to certain types of cancer and damage organs. In animals, studies show that is could lead to developmental and reproductive problems.
This list in not all-encompassing since the list could go on and on as new studies or researches are conducted, showing the health effects of many chemicals we thought of as safe. As consumers, having adequate knowledge about these toxic chemicals is important for you and your family’s safety.