Howdy folks, this is the third and final post on household toxins! Whoohoo!
There’s no doubt that everyday products like plastic baggies or water resistant clothing make our lives noticeably convenient. However, more and more research is coming out that these items are pretty dangerous if one is exposed long term.
9) Household Cleaning Products
Toxic chemicals found in cleaning products can negatively impact you in many ways.
Products like drain, oven, and toilet bowl cleaners have more of an immediate effect, possibly burning your eyes, your skin, and if you drink it, your throat and esophagus (I’m assuming you know better than to pound a bottle of the ever-enticing toilet bowl cleaner, but your young children may not.)
And it’s pretty well known that ammonia and bleach can put off funky fumes that your eyes, nose and lungs aren’t a big fan of, but did you know these same cleaners shouldn’t be used by anyone with lung or heart problems? That includes asthma.
Other cleaners out there may not effect you instantly, but they could potentially catch up to you in the future. Chemicals often in cleaning products have been linked to cancer, as well as the health issue I touched upon earlier, endocrine disruption.
For instance, the chemicals diethanolamine (DEA) and triethanolamine (TEA), found in some all-purpose cleaners, form carcinogens once they come into contact with nitrites, which are usually somewhere on the list of ingredients.
If you’re concerned some of your cleaning products are toxic, check out the EWG’s Hall of Shame Database where they list more than 2,000 products that aren’t good for you.
10) Artificial Fragrance (fabric softeners, detergents, air fresheners, candles, perfume, baby lotions, baby wipes, etc.)
This one was hard to swallow. I love my body sprays and awesome smelling soaps.
However, the EWG researchers discovered more than “75 percent of products listing the ingredient “fragrance” contained phthalates (THAL-ates) which have been shown to disrupt hormone activity, reduce sperm counts, and cause reproductive malformation, and have been linked to liver and breast cancer, diabetes, and obesity.”
Sadly, it doesn’t end there. Studies show that unborn babies exposed to phthalates have an increased risk of autism, ADHD, and neurological disorders. That. Bites.
U.S. manufacturers aren’t required to list their ingredients, and many hide behind the “Uniform Trade Secrets Act,” using that as their reason to keep a lid on it. In all actuality though, they don’t want to divulge the thousands of chemicals they’re exposing us to on a daily basis.
So what to do?
It pretty much boils down to reading the labels. If you see the word “fragrance,” experts say you should probably avoid it. Natural beauty and safe cosmetics advocate, Ava Anderson, shares that even if the product claims to be fragrance free, “products can still contain fragrance ingredients as a masking agent to cover unpleasant chemical smells.”
Anderson suggests passing on the product if the manufacturer doesn’t list all the ingredients.
That’s gonna be a toughie.
Bonus: Fire Retardant Chemicals (most likely added to products containing polyurethane foam including mattresses, furniture, and carpet pads; some electronics as well as baby products also contain the chemicals.)
Two of the three classes of PBDEs, most commonly used as flame retardants, went off the market in 2004, with the third phased out by the end of 2013. But plenty of us still have furniture, carpet pads, etc. made prior to that. So if you’re one of the many proud owners of an item created pre-PBDE ban, chances are, PBDEs are using your place as a hangout.
And one would think replacing PBDEs with TDCPP/TDCIPP and Firemaster 550 would be a good thing, right?
As it turns out though, both are linked to endocrine disruptions, meaning the chemicals are no bueno for the endocrine, immune and neural systems. This can lead to problems with development, behavior, your brain, among others. TDCPP/TDCIPP is listed as a carcinogen and associated with cancer, while Firemaster 550 can cause early puberty in girls and is considered a potential obesogen.
So you really…wait, wait, back it up for a sec. Obesogen??? Perhaps I’ve been living under a rock, but I’ve never heard of an obesogen.
A study showed that baby rats born to mothers who had high doses of Firemaster 550 in their diet while pregnant, and while they nursed, weighed more. Oh, and did you know baby rats are called “pups?” Yeah, I didn’t know that. Again, dwelling underneath Dummy Rock, population 1, could be to blame.
The baby rats’ weight didn’t go down once they were weaned off either. They remained heavier into adulthood.
Environmental Health News reports that “the animals were 22 to 32 percent heavier as adults compared to unexposed rats.” Chemicals listed as obesogens cause weight gain because they mess with “fat metabolism and storage.” Scientists believe obesogens are another culprit for the rise of obesity today.
Since the chemicals tend to leach out of the fire retardant items and attach to dust, Healthy Child states that, “an essential solution to this issue is a good HEPA home air purifier that will trap and remove the dust particles.”
I know that all this information can be a tad alarming, but if you are interested in getting these toxic chemicals out of your house, Jenn from The Purposeful Mom recommends three different ways to go about it.
1) Toss out all the junk at once, literally detoxifying your home. Then obviously, replace them with natural products.
2) Use up the stuff you have and then replace them with natural brands. (This is the method I’m going with. It’s more affordable than the first option.)
3) You can also take the slow approach by switching over to nontoxic products one at a time.
Alrighty, so I don’t know how all of this sat with you, but at least I made an impression on my husband:-) He told me that after reading my posts, he looks at the majority of the products in our kitchen in a totally different way.
What about you? Were there any products you read about that made you stop and think? I’d love to here your thoughts!
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Congleton, Johanna, Sonya Lunder, and Renee Sharp. “No Escape: Executive Summary.” EWG. N.p., 4 Aug. 2014. Web. 19 Nov. 2015.
This is where my blog will be partying this week:-)