We have grown to believe that our home is our castle. But things have changed long ago and nowadays our homes might be hiding more danger than safety. Indeed quite a lot of information has been shared about the infamous formaldehyde, nitrobenzene and methylene chloride – all carcinogens that can be found in everyday items such as rubber, plastic, dyes, perfumes, shampoos.
Take a look at a few of the items you thought harmless and see the health problems they can provoke. Then make sure you take the right decision and rid your home of many cancer-causers and ensure a healthy environment for you and your family.
1. Air fresheners
Many air fresheners have carcinogens, volatile organic compounds, and toxins such as phthalate esters in their formulas. A Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) study of 13 common household air fresheners found that most of the surveyed products contain chemicals that can aggravate asthma and affect reproductive development.
According to a 2008 study by Anne Steinemann of the University of Washington, all air-fresheners tested gave off chemicals regulated as toxic or hazardous under federal laws, including carcinogens with no safe exposure level. None of these chemicals, however, were listed on the product labels or Material Safety Data Sheets. As a replacement, try natural fragrances from essential oils.
According to a study by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), 40 percent of candles on the market contain lead wires inside their wicks. Scented candles most commonly contain lead wicks. Fragrance oils soften the wax, so the manufacturers use lead to make the wicks firmer.
A candle with a lead-core wick releases five times the amount of lead considered hazardous for children and exceeds Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) pollution standards for outdoor air, says the CPSC. Exposure to high amounts of lead may contribute to hormone disruption, behavioral problems, learning disabilities, and many other health problems.
If you want to keep your home softly lit and cozy without risking your health go for beeswax candles with cotton wicks. For more information on how to make your own beeswax candles read How to Make Beeswax Candles.
3. Art supplies
Certain art supplies like Epoxy and rubber cement glues, acrylic paints and solvents, and permanent markers contain chemicals linked to allergies, organ damage, and cancer.
Children are particularly vulnerable to toxins because of their higher metabolisms, and immature immune systems, so it pays to exercise extra care with the products they use. To find nontoxic and green alternatives to common art supplies or recipes for making your own, read Are Art Supplies Toxic?
Unlikely as it may sound, conventional shampoos have too many toxic ingredients. Funny as it may sound, their effects are still being researched, and there is no scientific consensus whether they cause cancer. But if you want to be on the safe side, you can use any of the myriads of handmade shampoo bars, offered on Etsy.
Most conventional deodorants and antiperspirants contain several ingredients linked to virulent cancers. Since deodorants and antiperspirants are designed to stay on our bodies for hours, this allows the potential absorption of harmful chemicals through the skin. After I read this article on Green Living Ideas I completely stopped using antiperspirants but am yet to write an extensive post about that.
6. Shower curtains
Plastic shower curtains leach toxic chemicals not only into your shower or bath but also into the environment, emitting harmful chemicals called volatile organic chemicals or VOCs.
Reducing your contact with any of these products, in addition to conventional cleaners, will surely make your home your castle.