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The last thing you want to do is have products in your home that put your health at risk. Yet, millions of Americans unknowingly purchase and use products that contain toxins and hazardous materials each and every day. If you think that your home is making you sick, or if you and your family members experience allergies, headaches, dizziness, stomach pain, or other ailments that disappear after you leave home, there is a good chance that the items in your home are putting your health at risk. We share some tips for replacing these harmful products here.
While you may love the scent of your candles and air fresheners, there is a good chance that you have purchased those that contain phthalates, which are known to cause reproductive issues. Recent studies show that scented candles, aerosols, plug-in scents, gels, and incense sticks can make people sick because of the chemicals found in fragrance and wax. Long-term use of these items could lead to asthma, lung damage, or cancer. Researchers also found that burning candles with fragrance produces more soot and causes indoor air pollution.
For people who love the scent of candles and air fresheners but don’t want all of the harmful side effects of using them, there are a few natural options. You can make DIY candles that incorporate essential oils. You also can opt for beeswax candles that help clean indoor air. If you don’t want to risk burning candles in your home, you can diffuse essential oils. Some favorite scents include peppermint, citrus, and lavender. If you want the glow of candles but want a product that is much healthier and results in a calming atmosphere thanks to its ability to release negative ions, salt lamps are a good choice.
There has been a debate raging over Teflon and nonstick cookware for years because the majority of nonstick pans contain the chemical perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) that has been linked to cancer in laboratory animals. When the chemical heats up to about 500 degrees F, it releases toxic gases. Other risks associated with nonstick pans occur when the lining scratches or chips off into food.
Cookware alternatives such as cast iron and stainless steel are healthier options that pose fewer risks. Remember to use natural, nonstick sprays such as olive oil when cooking with pans made of these materials.
Cleaning products are items with most hazardous materials in our homes. Ammonia, found in kitchen, bathroom, floor, oven, and glass cleaners in addition to polishers, can irritate, burn, and damage the eyes and skin. It also irritates the respiratory tract and leads to coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath. If products contain at least 5% ammonia, they must be labeled as poisonous.
In addition to cleaning products that contain ammonia, those that contain lye, such as drain and oven cleaners, significantly irritate the skin and eyes. Similarly, toilet bowl cleaners that contain hydrochloric acid are corrosive and can seriously damage whatever tissue it touches, causing permanent damage. It’s also important that you never mix products containing hydrochloric acid with products containing bleach because it will result in toxic gas.
It is much better for you and your family if you clean with natural ingredients. Baking soda, vinegar, lemon, and hot water can clean just about anything in your home and work wonders without being toxic to your household.
While you may have grown up smelling clothes bathed in chemicals from dryer sheets, you should toss this product in the trash. The chemicals found in dryer sheets are among some of the most hazardous materials, yet they leech into our body through our skin when we wear our clothes. These chemicals affect the nervous system and endocrine system and may lead to chronic illness. Just the fragrance in dryer sheets is enough to be toxic to our systems.
Alternatives to traditional, scented dryer sheets include dryer balls and reusable dryer sheets. Dryer balls help clothes dry more quickly and soften fabrics. They are made of natural materials and do not add synthetic chemicals to your laundry. Similarly, reusable dryer sheets block static, reduce wrinkles, and soften fabrics but do so without the chemical residue. Make sure that you purchase dryer balls and reusable dryer sheets that are hypoallergenic and free of perfumes, dyes, and chemicals.
By replacing a few commonly used toxic items in your home with those that are natural or free of toxins, you will be doing a world of good for your entire household.