Toxic chemicals are pretty much everywhere these days. As I stated in my last post, there are some chemicals that are simply inevitable to come into contact with, but you can still take action on limiting you and your family’s exposure quite a bit.
Find out where the toxic chemicals are hiding and what you can do about them. Read on, dearest beastlings.
Pssst…If you haven’t had a chance to check out part one on toxic chemicals lurking in regular ole everyday household products, you can read about it here. (If you’re surprised by what you read throughout this post, you should definitely take a gander at the last one.)
6) Vinyl Shower Curtains
When I came across toxic chemicals chilling in vinyl shower curtains, I was dumbfounded. I never would’ve thought in a gazillion years that the innocent-looking shower curtain could potentially harm our health. But studies show that it most certainly can.
When vinyl shower curtains were tested, toxic chemicals such as polyvinyl chloride (PVC), nicknamed the “Poison Plastic,” was detected. Out of the 108 volatile organic compounds (VOCs) it contained, it is known that 7 of those compounds are on the “EPA’s list of hazardous air pollutants,” states Cara Smusiak, author of Natural Savvy.
These VOCs can wreak havoc on not only your central nervous system, but your reproductive and respiratory systems as well. They can also target your liver.
But wait. Vinyl shower curtains are about to suck even harder.
Phthalates were another chemical found in vinyl shower curtains. These toxins are linked to such things as:
- Low IQ (I wonder if I had a vinyl shower curtain growing up)
- Breast Cancer
…as well as other diseases and issues.
Smusiak goes on to say that “phthalates migrate in the shower curtain itself, eventually making their way to the surface. When they evaporate into the air, they cling to dust in your home.”
When shopping for a shower curtain, what should we try to keep in mind?
Look for one made with polyethylene vinyl acetate (PEVA) which can be found at most big box stores. There’s also better, more natural alternatives. Granted, they’re butt-crack expensive alternatives, but alternatives none the less.
One can find shower curtains made from hemp, linen, organic cotton, and birch.
For more information on where you can purchase these fancy schmancy shower curtains, go to Ron and Lisa.
In addition to vinyl shower curtains, phthalates are found in cosmetics, ordinary household items (e.g., vinyl flooring) and cleaning products, perfumes and cologne, toiletries, even food packaging.
And get this crap cupcake, it’s also suspected in food, including some organic.
I’m telling you, these little SOB’s are everywhere.
Right about now, you might be asking yourself, “Are we basically just screwed then?”
Not completely. There’s still hope.
For instance, if you live in California or visited in the last few years, maybe you’ve seen signs displayed by businesses, stating that a product they carry contains chemicals known to cause cancer. That was Proposition 65’s doing.
Originally called the (long-winded) Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, Proposition 65 requires California businesses to share if they’re associated with chemicals that can cause cancer or birth defects. Whether it’s in the workplace, a product they’re selling, or crap the businesses are spewing into the environment.
As you can imagine, some companies aren’t too fond of Proposition 65.
Now, there are proposed changes in the works where manufacturers will have to list the actual toxic chemical they’re using, as opposed to a general sign.
7) Canned Food
I’m sure many of you are already familiar with this, but there’s still plenty of us out there who have no clue canned food contains the chemical, bisphenol A (BPA). Banned from plastic baby bottles and sippy cups in 2012, the chemical still lines cans to create a barrier between the metal and the food.
Let’s not forget that other products like plastic water bottles, plastic foods containers, some types of store receipts, and shatter-proof eyewear (both corrective and protective) often contain BPA.
BPA can leach into foods, plain and simple.
According to Eric Holt Gimenez, Executive Director of Food First/ Institute for Food Development Policy, “BPA acts like estrogen in the body and hundreds of laboratory studies have linked it with an increased risk for obesity, breast cancer, prostate cancer, early-onset puberty, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and altered development of the brain and immune system.”
Even though babies, kids and women who are pregger’s are especially susceptible to the effects, that doesn’t mean the rest of us are immune.
Ok well, what are some other options?
The list of brands that pack their food in BPA-free cans has grown over the last few years. Labels such as Amy’s, Sprouts, Annie’s Homegrown, along with 28 other companies have transitioned over to safer alternatives. Check out the full list of companies here at Environmental Working Group’s website.
The company, Eden Foods lines their cans with vegetable resin enamel, a method commonly used before the practice of lining cans with epoxy resins (usually a chemical reaction between epichlorohydrin and BPA) came along in the 1940s and 1950s.
Overall though, experts say that fresh, frozen or dried produce is your best bet when choosing the healthiest alternative.
If you’re a canned soup lover, switch it up for soup in boxes (which looks like a big juice box sans straw), glass jars, or pouches.
Canned bean connoisseur? In addition to the brands with BPA-free cans, Whole Foods’ 365 Organic and Fig Foods Inc offers ready to eat beans in boxes as well as pouches. And Pennsylvania-based company, Hanover, produces frozen heat and serve beans.
However, cooking beans from scratch tends to trump store bought. Soak dry beans overnight and then cook those humdingers yourself. It does mean you have to plan ahead, which I’ve never been too good at. One positive worth mentioning though is dry beans are cheap, cheap, cheap.
Me love cheap.
8) Stain/Water/Oil Resistant Materials (clothing, furniture upholsteries, carpets, etc.)
So sorry to be bearer of bad news, but these materials are sadly too good to be true. The stuff that makes materials resist the water/stain/stick are called perfluorinated compounds (PFCs), a group of chemicals linked to cancer.
The website, Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) states that “a variety of PFCs are applied in water-, soil-, and stain-resistant coatings for clothing and other textiles.”
Two of the poopier chemicals in the PFC family include Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and Perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS), the first of which I brought up in part one. These chemicals have been linked to kidney and bladder cancers, and when tested on lab animals, the notorious PFCs caused tumors in the liver, pancreas, mammary glands, and the testicles.
What’s crazy is that PFCs are found in approximately 98% of the U.S. population, and can stay in the body for years, meaning longer exposure time to the chemicals.
Some other places you’ll find PFCs hiding include microwave popcorn bags, pizza boxes, some toiletries like shampoo and floss, Teflon, (mentioned in part one) which is the coating on nonstick cookware, etc.
And not to shiza on your shindig, but PFCs are basically impossible to avoid completely. When it comes to stain/water/oil resistant materials, the recommended, and most basic, solution is to limit your exposure. Simply buy the less convenient, yet less toxic materials that have not been treated with possibly dangerous chemicals.
Whewee! That was a long one. If you’re still reading this right now…You rock my face off.
Be on the watch for the third and final part of the toxic household products. BTW, I was originally only planning on having two parts, but there’s so much important information to share with you guys, I decided on three.
This is where my blog will be partying this week:-)