While our homes might appear neat and clean, unknown dangers lurk within. Research indicates chemicals in those run-of-the-mill products we use on a daily basis can generate a long list of health problems.
From infertility to birth defects and even certain types of cancer, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed more than 250 environmental chemicals were found in humans, including several used in consumer products. Since wellness is not just about what we eat or exercise frequency, it’s crucial to be aware of products that increase our exposure to noxious substances.
Antibacterial Products (Soaps and Sanitizers)
Antibacterial sanitizer is a true blessing for moms everywhere. But while the CDC states sanitizer as an effective method against the spread of germs, its main ingredient is troublesome. As an antimicrobial compound linked to hormone problems like infertility and early puberty, the University of California discovered triclosan causes liver cancer in mice. Since the study, companies are removing triclosan from products but adding the antibacterial agent, benzalkonium chloride. The Catholic University of Louvain in Belgium discovered this component causes respiratory irritants that exacerbate asthma. Your safest bet would be to find antibacterial sanitizers with ethyl alcohol or simply use soap and water.
Wall-to-wall carpeting is beloved by parents because it’s easier on the knees of their newly-walking babies. Nevertheless, if you have a carpet resistant to grape juice spills and wine club mishaps, you’re setting your family up for several health issues. While older carpets include the Teflon chemical, PFOA linked to cancer and thyroid disorders, newer stain-resistant carpeting chemicals called PFASs are a growing concern from researchers. These acids build up in our bodies, and shockingly enough, end up passing through breast milk. Opt for untreated, all-natural carpeting made of wool, sisal, or eco-friendly options. If you look into laminate or hardwood, area rugs are pretty and easy to wash.
Plastic Food Containers and Bottles
For years we’ve heard plastic food containers and bottles aren’t good for our environment. Because of the growing concern, several companies manufacture BPA-free products. Though it’s a step in the right direction, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences suggests chemicals like phthalates found in plastic containers, bottles, cosmetics, shower curtains and even children’s toys can create a negative effect on our endocrine system -- the glands responsible for our developmental, reproductive and neurological systems. Since plastics break down gradually, the release of these chemicals find their way into our food and body. As an alternative, use glass or stainless steel and avoid BP-anything. If storing food, steer clear of plastic wrap and use tin foil, glass jars and ceramic containers.
Non-stick Cookware and Bakeware
The miracle of non-stick cook- and bakeware is the easy cleanup after a long day, but there’s a price to pay. When heated over 500 degrees, that non-sticky, slick, and shiny technology made from the synthetic material, perfluoroalkyl acid, gives off a toxic gas that's been linked to reproductive issues. Additionally, researchers discovered it also has a link to high cholesterol, thyroid disease and ADHD. To be safe, stick to non-stick for low-heat only and stock up on cookware and bakeware made of glass, stainless steel or cast iron.
Canned foods are the backbone of American households, but the hormone-disrupting BPA chemical found in most cans links to infertility, diabetes, heart disease, and aggressive behavior in children. Additionally, just like pots and pans leak, so do aluminum cans. Many don’t realize for longer shelf life, manufacturers seal uncooked foods and wait for them to cook “naturally,” retaining the aluminum’s free radicals, while actually contaminating contents. Forget cans and buy all natural fruits and veggies. Not only do you reap the rewards of freshness, but you’ll maximize your vitamin and mineral consumption.
There’s nothing like a freshly scented home! But when we can’t open windows and get rid of unwanted smells, we use air fresheners or synthetically scented candles. When used excessively in small, unventilated areas, these products release pollutants. Not only do they contain phthalates, but they’re made of preservatives, propellants and volatile organic compounds that react unfavorably with the ozone. Instead, choose flowers, candles with essential oils and if you want to get rid of staleness, use baking soda or white vinegar as odor absorbers.