It is not unknown that many chemicals can cause medical problems. People actively avoid certain types of chemicals to protect themselves, and many have been found to be so dangerous that they have been outlawed.
However, there are still many dangerous chemicals that are used in every day products that can be found in your kitchen. The government has stated that these products are safe in small quantities, which is why they are allowed to use them in the products. However, no one has stated what happens when a person has long-term exposure to these products.
A quick look at some of the products in your home can help you find where dangerous chemicals are lurking and how you can get rid of them to improve or protect your health.
- Non-Stick Pans: Non-stick pans have a chemical called perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) in the coating. When the coating chips or flakes, and they always do, the chips can get into your food. PFOA has been associated with many illnesses, including cancer. Your best option is to use stainless steel or cast iron cookware with healthy oil, like olive oil, to cook.
- Plastic Food Containers: All plastic degrades over time. If you look at your plastic food containers and they appear to be getting “cloudy” looking from continual use, they have begun to degrade. The chemicals that leak from degrading plastic have been associated with several endocrine-related illnesses. Endocrine-related illnesses include thyroid problems, adrenal problems, or any other glandular condition. Switching to glass containers is your best option
- Sunscreen Containing Oxybenzone: Oxybenzone is found in all types of cosmetics that offer UV protection, with the highest concentration being found in sunscreen. This chemical compound is easily absorbed into the skin and enters your system. A report by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) shows that women have a very high concentration of this chemical in their urine and that it can be directly connected to hormone disruption. Look for sunscreens and UV protection products that contain Zinc instead of oxybenzone.
- Toothpaste: The fluoride in toothpaste is a dangerous chemical. In fact, fluoride is a controlled substance. If you look at the box your toothpaste comes in, it clearly states that it is dangerous to swallow and that you should use a very small portion when you brush. This is why your dentist will counsel you not to swallow toothpaste under any circumstance. It also makes toothpaste very unsafe for children. Fluoride has been linked to brain damage, slowed reflexes and forms of cancer. Opt for a non-fluoride toothpaste or mix your own using baking soda and peroxide.
- Deodorant: Deodorant containing aluminum based compounds and parabens are a risk to your health. Most deodorants contain one or both of these ingredients. Add to the fact that an aerosol type of deodorant has additional chemicals for the propellant and you are putting a dangerous cocktail under your arms each day. Look for natural deodorants that do not contain these chemicals. They work just as well, and sometimes even better than the chemical filled deodorants.
- Air Fresheners: Air fresheners are nothing more than a mix of chemical compounds that fill the air. Spray fresheners or spritzing fresheners have additional chemicals so that they can spray out. By inhaling these chemicals you are posing great risks to your lungs. Try filling your home with fresh flowers or take an orange and place cloves in it for a wonderful autumn smell.
- Commercial Cleaners: The chemicals found in cleaners are too numerous to list. Every type of cleaner has one or more dangerous chemicals contained in its ingredients. This goes for kitchen cleaners as well as pest control sprays and other products. Try changing over to natural cleaners that will not only reduce your costs to clean, but they will protect your health.
- Vinyl Products: Vinyl products can be found throughout your home. Shower curtains, rain coat and boots, certain binders for school supplies, and even your remote control for your television may have this material. Vinyl contains Phthalates in it, a harmful chemical that is easily absorbed into your skin when vinyl is touched. Even small amounts of this chemical have been related to developmental disruption in children, increased incidences of asthma, and several forms of cancer. Reproductive health issues, including low birth weight babies have also been associated with Phthalates. Opt for products that do not contain vinyl as often as possible.
- Liners Inside of Aluminum Cans: These liners were placed in these cans as a way to prevent aluminum from seeping into the food; these liners contain a large amount of BPA. BPA is a specific chemical found in plastics in the United States. This chemical can also be found in other reusable plastics, including baby bottles. BPA has been associated with many different illnesses, including cancer, endocrine problems, behavior problems (especially in children) and reproductive problems in both men and women. Avoid canned vegetables and other foods as much as possible unless they clearly state that their cans are BPA Free. Cans of this nature are usually only in the health food isle of the store. Avoid reusable plastic products unless they are certified BPA free.
- Shampoo and Body Wash: Many personal cleaners contain the ingredient Paraben. When you are looking at any of these personal cleaning products, look for anything that states “paraben free.” Paraben is a type of chemical and is usually the ending of a word, such as Ethylparaben. Look at the ingredients to make sure that none of them end in this word. Use of parabens has been associated with reproductive toxicity, endocrine issues, skin irritations, and an increased risk of breast cancer. Many companies have begun to remove these chemicals from their products, but you should still verify this before purchasing or using the cleaner.
- Nail Polish: Most people are unaware that one of the main ingredients in nail polish is formaldehyde. Formaldehyde is also found in many hair care products like gels and mousse. Formaldehyde is a carcinogen and daily exposure to this product can increase the chances of developing cancer. Look for natural nail colors that are formaldehyde free.
Trying to remove all of the dangerous chemicals from your home can be a chore. However, you can systematically accomplish this by checking everything before you make a purchase.
Image credit Flickr Creative Commons