There are dangers lurking everywhere, and our homes are no exception. These common items could be causing harm to the health of your and your family. It's a new year and it's a great time to swap out some of these crummy substances for more natural, safe ones.
Watch out parents of young boys; these industrial chemicals may impact your potential to be grandparents some day. They’re commonly found in a variety of plastic and can disrupt the development of the testes, as well as damage lungs and kidneys. Look for more eco-friendly lines of toys.
Teflon and other nonstick coatings are made with perfluorooctanoic (PFOA) or acidpolytetrafluoroetheylene (PTFE) and these chemicals can cause birth defects, abnormal thyroid levels, liver inflammation and weakened immune defenses, among other issues. Instead, try cast iron or ceramic cookware, or look for coated pans that specifically say that they are environmentally friendly.
If you haven't switched to BPA-free plastics by now, you need to get on it. Many polycarbonate plastic bottles have been made with Bisphenol A, a chemical that disrupts the endocrine system of the body by mimicking the role of the body's natural hormones. BPA is released when the plastic is heated past certain temperatures.
Deodorents, lotions, lipsticks, shampoos — these guys are everywhere. Parabens are chemicals that prevent bacteria from forming and act as a preservative. Studies have shown that some parabens can mimic the activity of the hormone estrogen in the body’s cells, and parabens have been found present in breast tumors. However, there is still not a conclusive link between parabens and cancer, but if you'd rather be safe than sorry, look for products that are paraben-free.
Sulfates are the chemicals that make your shampoos get that nice foamy lather. They can cause a number of problems for your hair including drying, irritating your scalp, fading your color, and even hair loss. Fruit and vegetable-based cleansing ingredients in your products are going to be your best bet to avoid these problems altogether.
7. Formaldehyde — It's Not Just For Preserving Dead Things, Anymore!
This flammable liquid that is associated with cancer is used in a variety of household items including particle board, plywood and other pressed-wood products. Another potential source of exposure to formaldehyde is the use of unvented fuel-burning appliances, such as gas stoves, wood-burning stoves and kerosene heaters. Oh, and guess which nasty habit involves inhaling formaldehyde? Yep, that's just how gross smoking is.
Though mold may not be the most dangerous substance on this list, it can lead to some serious respiratory ailments, particularly in children. Mold is a common allergen that can cause allergy attacks — and worse — asthma attacks. Keep your bathrooms clean with a surface cleaner, and use a dehumidifier around the house if you're in a humid environment.
9. Boots Were Made for Walking — But Not Inside the House
Take a note from our Pacific neighbors in Hawaii, and get in the habit of leaving your shoes outside the door of your home. Shoes can track in a variety of toxins that pollute your home, particularly lawn chemicals and asphalt from roads. They can also bring some pretty gross bacteria along with them, thanks to your trips to public restrooms.
More great news on the cleansing front; it turns out antibacterial soap does more harm than good. Not only does it breed strains of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, the antimicrobial chemical triclosan, used in some toothpastes andantibacterial soaps, is thought to disrupt thyroid function and hormone levels in people. And get this -- when it mixes into wastewater, it can cause sex changes in aquatic life.
Basically, we just can't have nice things All of those products with fake fragrance additions like detergent and soap, as well as air freshener sprays and gels are just plain hazardous to our health. As a freshening alternative, try placing bowls of baking soda or white vinegar to freshen up those stinky spots.
Plastic bottles aren't the only places where BPA can be found. The aluminum that makes up the cans in our pantry foods can also be harboring the harmful chemical. Make the switch to fresh or frozen versions and save the cans for when the zombies come (because who cares at that point).
13. To Vaseline Or Not Vaseline — That Is The Question
Petroleum jelly is a byproduct of the oil refinement process, which should immediately make you a little scared that this product is then packaged up and sold in personal care aisles. The components that make up petroleum jelly (particularly generic ones, as Vaseline claims their product is pure) are known to be carcinogenic. For relief from dry skin, instead try natural products like beeswax, coconut oil, or shea butter.