Your home is your sanctuary and refuge, a place of rest and a retreat from the outside world.
Home is where you usually feel the safest. But beware – there may be poisons lurking around the house without you even knowing it and are making your home toxic!
If you think that the only poisons in your house are those items marked with the words “Danger! Keep out of reach of children,” then you are fooling yourself with a false sense of security because dangerous toxic chemicals may have made their way into your home through common everyday consumer products.
Let me give you the facts:
• Household consumer products injure around 33 million Americans per year, costing some $800 billion in related expenses from death, hospitalization or property damage.
• Some 77,000 chemicals are produced in North America, 3,000 of which are added to our food supply.
• More than 10,000 chemical solvents, emulsifiers and preservatives are used in food processing.
• 1,000 new chemicals are produced yearly.
• Most Americans have anywhere between 400-800 chemicals stored in their bodies, mainly in fat cells.
Are you shocked by these statistics? Let’s face reality. We now live in a very toxic world. This is one of the main downsides of living in a modern and technology-driven society.
Toxic chemicals play a major role in causing many of today’s health challenges including ADHD, cancer, obesity, early puberty, sterility, brain defects, and muscle and visual problems, among others.
If you or members of your family are often getting sick, it’s likely that the cause of the illness is something in your environment, something in your house that’s wreaking havoc with your health.
Here are some of the most common household products that are dangerous to your health:
1. Cosmetic Phthalates or plasticizers are found in many personal care products including hair spray, shampoos, fragrances, and deodorants. Phthalates are hormone-like chemicals that are linked to reproductive and developmental problems in animals. The states of California and Washington have already banned the use of phthalates in toys for younger children.
2. Flame Retardants are common in mattresses, upholstery, TV and computer casings and circuit boards, and contain PBDEs (polybrominated diphenyl ethers). PBDEs have been linked to learning and memory problems, low sperm counts and poor thyroid functioning in rats and mice. Mattresses in particular contain boric acid, formaldehyde and antimony, which is believed to be carcinogenic and more toxic than mercury.
3. Baby Bottles are made with a chemical called bisphenol-a (BPA), which is similar in structure to estrogen and is referred to as a “hormone disruptor” because it can interfere with natural human hormones, especially for young children.
4. Air Fresheners and Cleaning Solutions, when used excessively or in small unventilated areas can release toxic levels of pollutants called ethylene-based glycol ethers and terpenes. Ethers are toxic by themselves while the non-toxic terpenes react with ozone in the air to create a poisonous compound.
5. Lead Paint poses the greatest danger for fetuses, babies and children because of its potential developmental disorders. In fact, the U.S. government declared lead to be the greatest environmental threat to children. Even low amounts of lead can cause problems with your central nervous system, brain, blood cells and kidneys.
6. Some Laser Printer Chemicals emit ultra fine particles like volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and ozone particulates that can cause serious health problems, including heart and lung disease. VOCs have been linked to cancer, eye and respiratory tract irritation, headaches, dizziness, visual disorders and memory impairment
7. The glue and dyes in Carpet Chemicals contain VOCs that are released during new carpet installation and can be harmful to your health in high concentrations.
8. Pressed Wood Products, including paneling, particle board, fiberboard and insulation, use glue that may contain urea-formaldehyde as a resin – suspected to be the largest source of indoor formaldehyde emissions. Formaldehyde exposure can cause watery eyes, burning eyes and throat, difficulty in breathing and asthma attacks. It causes cancer in animals.
9. Ninety percent of American households use forms of Pesticides, chemical formulas that kill everything from microorganisms up to rodents. In 2006, the American Association of Poison Control Centers received almost 46,000 calls regarding children under the age of five who had been exposed to potentially toxic levels of pesticides. Cancer, Parkinson’s disease, miscarriage, nerve damage, birth defects and blocked absorption of food nutrients are health problems that have been attributed to pesticides.
10. Mothballs are used to repel and kill moths and prevent them from chewing through clothes and textiles. An active ingredient in moth balls, paradichlorobenzene, can cause cancer in animals. Other types of moth balls contain naphthalene, which can damage or destroy red blood cells, and stimulate nausea, vomiting and diarrhea with prolonged exposure.
It’s probably impossible to avoid all environmental toxins that are harmful to your health. But now that you have an idea of the things you should avoid, what you can do is to limit your exposure as much as possible and make your home a safer and healthier place to live in.
For more information on how to detoxify your home, click here to get Dr. Mercola’s tips to avoid toxins.