From toothpaste and hand wash to bug repellants and stationery, hundreds of products that are a part of our personal and professional lives contain a wide range of chemicals and compounds that can be toxic to our health and wellbeing.
While it’s difficult to eliminate many of these items from our lives, it’s important to know what they contain and how it could affect the health of our loved ones. Here are eight everyday items that contain toxic chemicals.
Detergents and washing liquids
A necessary evil, detergents and utensil-cleaning products are all made from a combination of different chemicals, and even the toughest of washing is known to leave a residue of these chemicals on the washed items. In addition, many products contain phenol, a chemical that is easily absorbed into the skin.
To minimize exposure to these toxins, buy organic cleaning supplies—several affordable green cleaning products are now readily available on the market.
Nonstick pots and pans
They make cooking a breeze but are also infamous for the toxins they could be introducing into your food. Most nonstick pans having a coating of Teflon (polytetrafluoroethylene), which is believed to be harmful if ingested.
And many nonstick wares are still made using PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid), exposure to which has been linked to cancer. In addition, the nonstick layer is prone to melting when exposed to extremely high heat levels. This reveals the aluminum underneath, which is extremely harmful to human health.
The best way to minimize exposure to these toxins is to use high-quality nonstick cookware and regularly replace pans with a chipped or damaged coating.
Whether it’s perfumes, antiperspirants, deodorants or air fresheners, factory-made synthetic fragrances present in personal care and home care products contain a number of compounds that, when inhaled, can damage the respiratory system.
Again, you have the option to minimize the usage of these products or switch to nature-based products instead.
Mattresses and carpeting
Most modern-day mattresses contain polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), flame-retardant but hazardous compounds that are linked to a number of health problems, including brain damage and reproductive problems. They are also found in carpeting, couches and foam upholstery. Many US states have banned PBDEs, but if you’re still using an old mattress that may contain this toxin, it’s time to invest in a new one.
Remember that prolonged exposure to toxins can lead to a number of health problems, including a parasitic infection. A natural anti-parasite treatment is an effective way to get rid of an infection, but the bacteria die off can sometimes cause symptoms of its own, which you should be prepared for beforehand.
Products used by commercial dry-cleaning services are well-known for their high chemical content, which lingers on your clothing long after you bring it home. PCE, or perchloroethylene, is a commonly used cleaning chemical that has been linked to serious health conditions, including liver and kidney disease and certain cancers.
A greener alternative comes in the form of organic dry-cleaning, which uses chemical-free green cleaning products. It may cost slightly more than a conventional service but is well worth its price.
Plastic bottles and containers
Much has been said about the tremendous health effects of using plastic containers for storing food and water, but their use still continues at a large scale. While it’s easy to find BPA-free plastic containers now, there are several other chemicals in plastic that don’t belong in your bloodstream.
To protect your family from this avoidable menace, switch to stainless steel and glass boxes and bottles.
Beauty and makeup products
Beauty products can release harmful chemicals right into your bloodstream as your skin is directly exposed to the product. From lipsticks and skin creams to cleansers and compact powder, most commercial beauty products contain several different chemicals linked to a number of health issues.
For someone used to makeup, a safer alternative is to use organic products made with little or no chemicals. Also try and steer clear of body washes and hair shampoos that contain artificial colors, fragrances, mineral oil, DEA (diethanolamine), SLS (sodium lauryl sulfate), SLES (sodium laureth sulfate) and MEA (monoethanolamine).
They protect us from harmful microorganisms, but most commercial hand sanitizers contain an antimicrobial chemical called triclosan, which is also present in toothpaste and other products that kill germs. If your sanitizer doesn’t have triclosan, it may contain benzalkonium chloride. Both have been linked to several diseases.
A simple solution is to use a chemical-free or ethyl-alcohol based hand sanitizer.