Oct 21, 2013

Top 5 toxins in your home

Very little attention is paid to slow-acting poisons and toxic chemicals found in everyday household products that, when absorbed through the skin (as practically all chemicals are), lead directly to liver toxicity, nervous system disorders, and even cancer. Here's a quick look at the list of toxins that I've compiled. 

I encourage you to research the ingredients in the products you use and determine the value of making changes. There are numerous government (FDA, EPA) and private organizations that provide research and statistics on these and other toxins and using GOOGLE is an easy way to investigate.

1) Household cleaners. Surface cleaners pose the largest risks. Fortunately, better options are available at grocery stores everywhere and you CAN make your own as I have for years. Laundry and dish detergents are another big category. One example is triclosan - used in antibacterial soaps. It can be found in detectable levels in people who use them and the product isn't better than normal soap. Buy "fragrance free" products since fragrance is the source of many toxic chemicals. Air fresheners are NOT good for you. A prominent ingredient in many is formaldehyde. Yikes! If you must cover an odor, use essential oils. Don't forget laundry softeners. Dryer sheets coat fabrics with a layer of toxic chemicals. Your body moisture - when chemicals come into contact with your skin - allows them to be absorbed directly into your bloodstream.

2) Carpets & Furniture. New carpet emits chemicals known as Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) for several years after installation. VOCs are also released from padding and installation products, such as adhesive and seam sealant.  Results from tests on laboratory rats show tremors, hemorrhaging and paralysis after exposure to carpet fumes. Children and pets are particularly vulnerable to adverse effects because they inhale carpet fumes at close range. Risks from furniture include use of poly vinyl chloride ( found in flooring, carpet backing, pipes, siding, window treatments, furniture, wall coverings, and upholstery). You know that new furniture or freshly painted smell? What you are smelling is VOC's! They're associated  with allergies, damage to the liver, kidney and nervous systems, and increased cancer 
\risk. Examples of problematic VOCs are formaldehyde, benzene, toluene, xylene, acetaldehyde, and isocyanates, found in furniture, paint, stains, and common building products. Formaldehyde is a potential carcinogen. It is found in cabinets, flooring, furniture, insulation, curtains, glues, and more. 

3) Cookware. The EPA urged a Teflon chemical ban and is requesting voluntary compliance from companies. Teflon-coated products include cookware, water- and stain-resistant clothing and furnishings, cosmetics and more, could be a serious health risk to young girls and women of childbearing age. The concern is an increase in birth defects and reproductive problems. Teflon is a member of a family of chemicals called “perfluorochemicals” (PFCs). According to the Environmental Working Group, the nonprofit advocacy organization who initiated the breaking of the story, “PFCs virtually never breaks down in the environment and has been found to contaminate most of the US population, including 92 percent of children tested to date. 
Go back to using cast iron and stainless steel. 

4) Personal Care products.  Makeup, shampoo, toothpaste, creams and lotions and more are what make up this list. Deodorants contain aluminum (associated with Alzheimer's disease), shampoos contain harsh solvents (attributed to liver toxicity), toothpaste has non-organic fluoride (implicated in osteoporosis), mouthwash with aspartame (causes brain tumors) or saccharin (known to cause cancer), and to top it off, fragrances and colognes highly toxic cancer-causing chemicals.  The big chemicals to avoid are:  DEA (diethanolomone); Propylene Glycol (also called Propanediol) used in anti-freeze solutions and as a solvent in some pet foods, processed foods and cosmetics, toothpastes, shampoos, deodorants and lotions; Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) or Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES)  used as a surfactant;  Behentrimonium Chloride, Guar Hydrosypropyltrimonium Chloride, Linoleamidepropyl PG-Dimonium Chloride Phosphate what are toxic ammonium compounds. Ingestion can be fatal. Concentrations as low as 0.1% can be irritating to eyes and cause necrosis (tissue death) of mucus membranes and ; Stearamidopropyl Dimethylamine a synthetic surfactant that can cause eye irritation and dermatitis.

5) Mold.   
Molds have been present for billions of years and comprise 25 percent of the earth’s biomass. They are everywhere! Most of these molds are harmless and don’t affect our health. But indoor fungi such as aspergillus, penicillium, stachybotrys, cladosporium, and alternaria are capable of creating health issues when at sufficient levels. Health problems associated with high levels of airborne mold spores include allergic reactions, asthma episodes, irritations of the eye, nose and throat, sinus congestion, and other respiratory problems. For example, residents of homes with mold are at an elevated risk for both respiratory infections and bronchitis.When mold spores are inhaled by an immunocompromised individual, some mold spores may begin to grow on living tissue, attaching to cells along the respiratory tract and causing further problems.  A serious health threat from mold exposure for immunocompromised individuals is systemic fungal infection (systemic mycosis).