Toxic Troubles: Is Your Home Making You Sick?
January 29, 2013
I like to think of my home as a refuge. It’s where I return at the end of a busy day to relax and unwind. It’s where I feel safe when the weather is bad outside. But what if your home wasn’t really as safe as you thought it was? What if your home had hidden dangers that you weren’t aware of and weren’t prepared for? Is your home making you sick?
There are several toxins you may be exposing yourself to unknowingly in your home. Here are a few things that you should be aware of.
- Your dishes – Plastic is an amazing thing but when it’s heated – either from cooking with it in the microwave or from putting hot food into it – it has the potential to release toxic chemicals. Not all plastics are created equal and things like melamine can be harmful. Melamine is used in many types of non-breakable dishes but should not be ingested. It has been linked to kidney failure and cancer in studies.
- Your rugs, curtains and furniture – New rugs and furniture are treated with chemicals, both to lessen the risk of fire and protect from stains. Unfortunately these chemicals can be just as dangerous as the VOCs found in paint. They evaporate over time but can release fumes that can irritate the eyes, nose and throat and trigger headaches and nausea.
- Chemical pesticides – We all want our lawns and gardens to look good but is it worth the cost to your health? Chemical weed and bug killers aren’t safe to breathe. What’s coming through your open window from your yard or your neighbor’s yard? Weed killers have been linked to cancer, including non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Bug killers have been connected to brain damage in kids.
- Antibacterial soaps and washes – When we hear antibacterial, we think it’s a good thing but it may not be. The chemical triclosan in antibacterial soaps is thought to disrupt thyroid function and hormone levels in people. When it leaches into our water system, it can cause gender changes in aquatic life! S experts believe that our increased exposure to antibacterial products is actually promoting the growth of bacteria that are resistant to antibacterial treatment.
- Synthetic fragrance – I love a nice smelling home as much as the next person but what if it’s making you sick? Everything has fragrance nowadays – our laundry, our cleaning products, our air fresheners and even our health and beauty products. Consider where that fragrance is coming from because hundreds of harmful chemicals that are known to be carcinogens, endocrine disrupters, and reproductive toxicants can be included under that term.
Turn your home back into a safe haven and consider safe alternatives for some of these toxic substances that may be in your home. Glass dishes, untreated home decor, organic lawn and garden products, traditional soaps, and essential oils are safer alternatives. Give some thought to whether your home is making you sick and then start taking steps to address the problem areas and make your home a healthier one.