You would think common household products would be safe to use inside your home, right?
I mean they wouldn’t be sold as household items or agents if they were at all dangerous? While it may sound like common sense that certainly no products would be available on the market if they caused harm to humans, of course this is not the case and unfortunately many items readily available for home use, are actually potentially life threatening. Even the most unlikely household items actually contain cancer causing ingredients. Here are a list of some dangerous and potentially health hazardous products which you definitely want to be aware of:
1. Air fresheners. While you may want to keep your air smelling good, you are likely polluting your own body in the process. Potential carcinogens are being released as many contain “phthalates”, which most affect reproductive health while making conditions like asthma worse. Instead opt for homemade air fresheners such as distilled vinegar and a few drops of essential oils (like peppermint). Put in a spray/spritz bottle shake up and spray.
2. Candles. Scented candles can contain toxins and carcinogens. Lead wicks have been banned but you still want to double check. Take a piece of paper and hold the wick while trying to draw a line on the paper. If no line appears, it is likely lead free. Lighting the candle and seeing if lead causing gray soot residue forms on a piece of paper held high above is another lead test you can perform.
3. Shower Curtains/Plastics. You wouldn’t think this would be a big deal, but unfortunately plastics can contain PVC which can be dangerous in environments that can release the toxic carcinogenic compounds in PVC. It’s harmless when it comes to being used as sewer pipes, but for shower curtains, the toxins may be released and can affect reproductive and respiratory systems. Natural cotton shower curtains are a much safer option. PVC plastics have also been found in children’s toys as well so make sure toys are PVC free.
4. Carpet cleaners/Fabric Shampoos. Made to remove heavy stains, these agents can also potentially cause lung cancer with their harmful ingredient perchloroethylene, also called Tetrachlorethylene. Naphthalene is another dangerous ingredient and is the main ingredient in mothballs. It can lead to increased risk of throat and lung cancers. Try baking soda and white vinegar instead. Sprinkle carpets with baking soda and then clean with the vinegar with added water. Vacuum up the powder that remains. Steam cleaning is another alternative.
5. Dry cleaning products. Tetrachlorethylene or Perchloroethylene is yet another carcinogen in dry cleaning products. Make sure your local dry cleaner doesn’t use these ingredients in their process as you could literally be wearing carcinogen laced clothes that could have harmful effects.
6. Insecticides and Pesticides. Maybe an obvious one, but nevertheless an important reminder that pets can be exposed to these and have very bad health effects as a result. And of course you can’t rely on the “pet friendly” marketing scheme as many carcinogens exist in the tick and flea controlling products, which may also contain organophosphate insecticides, permethrin, and carbamates, which are more potentially dangerous and carcinogenic to humans ingredients.
7. Antibacterial Products. Here’s another con-job. Label something like soap and cosmetics as antibacterial, yet put possible carcinogenic ingredients in it, like tricolsan which has now been banned in the EU. Silver is a better option for antibacterial purposes and doesn’t seem to cause any major damage to humans. There are many natural antibacterial soaps and lotions you can make at home as well using natural ingredients and safe essential oils.
These products are only some which can cause potentially harmful health effects to you and your family. It’s always important to research products and look closely at the ingredients. The best bet is to invest in quality organic products (which are truly organic and not marketing con jobs) or else learn how to make your own all natural, chemical-free products, such as vinegar, water, and essential oils which can be used for cleaning and air freshening.