We think of our homes as safe havens, protecting our families. But did you know that there are hundreds of toxic chemicals in your household that can harm your health?
A study by the State of Massachusetts found that 50% of all illness is due to poor indoor air quality.1
Additionally, the National Toxicology Program found that 150 chemicals can be found in the average home.2
You might be surprised about where toxins lurk, but don’t despair – there are easy, natural alternatives!
But first, here are some facts you should know about toxic chemicals and your health3:
- 75,000 synthetic (man-made) chemicals are registered with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). 250 billion pounds of these chemicals are produced every year.
- According to the EPA, only a fraction of these have been fully tested for human health concerns.
- Synthetic chemicals have been found in the blood of children and adults, even in the cord blood of newborns:
- Analysis of cord blood of newborn babies at Mt Sinai Hospital found more than 200 chemicals already in the blood stream at birth.
- A recent study on adults found a total of more than 200 synthetic chemicals in their blood — with an average of 67 different chemicals in each individual.
- Serious illnesses are increasing among children and adults:
- Toxic chemicals in the home and household cleaners are associated with allergies, birth defects, cancer, and psychological or neurological disorders.
- 90% of poison exposures occur in the home. In fact, women who work at home have a 54% greater death rate from cancer, according to a 15-year study reported at the 1990 Toronto Indoor Air Conference. This study concluded that the increase resulted from increased exposures to toxins in the home.4
- Women who use dry cleaning may have increased risk of developing breast cancer.5
The main culprit for toxic chemicals in your home are air fresheners and household cleaning products, like drain cleaners, liquid dish soap, oven cleaners, all purpose cleaners and furniture polish.
Additionally, building materials, furniture fabrics and new carpeting all add to exposure to toxic chemicals in your home.
Another common household product, Teflon (found in non-stick pans and fabrics), was banned by the Swedish government due to increased risk of breast cancer.6
What the advertisements don’t tell you is that women who use non-stick pans and stain-resistant fabrics risk harming their baby’s health too.
The toxins in Teflon and stain resistant fabrics do NOT break down and instead, accumulate in your body.7 In one study, researchers found toxic chemicals from non-stick pans and stain resistant fabrics in the breast milk of every woman tested.8
(While breast milk is still the healthiest form of nourishment for your newborn, it’s important to know that your exposure to toxic chemicals also affects your baby.)
It may seem like toxins are everywhere…and while they really are a fact of life in today’s world, it’s easy to reduce your toxic load! These days, there are non-toxic alternatives for just about everything you use in your home.
Reduce Toxic Load for Overall Health
So how can reducing exposure to toxic chemicals improve your health?
Our last two articles had several tips for a detoxification diet and breast health, so these tips focus on two easy steps to detoxify your home:
- Choose non-toxic alternatives – Look around your home and begin to look for non-toxic alternatives to common toxic household goods.At PureBalance Natural Health Center, Dr. Ingrid Maes and I do extensive research on safe household cleaning and beauty products. Whether you come visit the center and shop our store or purchase products online, here are some that we highly recommend:
- Ecover– from dish liquid to laundry detergent and household cleaners, Ecover is a truly “green” (chemical free) product that does not test on animals.
- Le Creuset Cookware– Le Creuset is enamel coated cast-iron, which is a healthy alternative to toxic aluminum or Teflon coated pans. While Le Creuset cannot compete with Teflon for it’s non-stick properties, isn’t your family’s health worth a little extra elbow grease?
- Non-Toxic (“Green”) Furniture & Paint – Did you know that most furniture today is coated with toxins to make them stain resistant or inflammable? Because of this, many people are choosing to buy antique furniture. If you are looking for beautiful modern designs, consider our favorite find, Green Nest. You can also avoid VOCs with Zero VOC and Low paint from Green Nest! Created by a husband and wife team of green builders, Green Nest many safe, non-toxic products a healthy, toxin-free home!
- Clear the air – the air in your home or office can be up to ten times worse than the air outdoors! Protect yourself from toxins in the air like pet dander, mold, pollen, radon, Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) and more by using an air purifier.
Now that you are thinking differently about the products you use in your home and the air you breathe, the next step would be to begin looking at your personal care products, like soaps, lotions and other beauty products.
Stay tuned for future articles on healthy skin and beauty products, along with more tips to enjoy your best health!
At PureBalance Natural Health Center, we are committed to helping you detoxify your body, your lifestyle AND your home.
1 Bahamas Journal. http://www.jonesbahamas.com/?c=53&a=6400
5 Weidenboerner, Katie. Speaker to Educate About Hazardous Wastes in the Home. St. Mary’s Press. October 2006.
8 Gutierrez, David. Nonstick Cookware Chemicals Found in Human Breast Milk. NaturalNews.com, September 2008. http://www.naturalnews.com/024148.html