Do you have a healthy home? Run through this checklist and if you answer “yes” or “don’t know” to these questions, you need to take heed of this article!
- Do you eat locally grown produce?
- Do you use air fresheners?
- Was your home built pre-1978?
- Do you have a wooden deck or wooden garden furniture?
- Do your cleaning products disrupt your hormones?
- Do electromagnetic fields disturb your sleep?
- Do you cook with non-stick saucepans?
- Do you eat canned foods?
- Do you clean your teeth with triclosan?
Most people use antibacterial cleaners and sprays in the kitchen as part of maintaining a healthy home. However, it is usually the food we eat that has hidden dangers. Buy organic produce and wash everything before cooking or eating it, as it can be high in cancer-causing pesticide residue.
Overheating non-stick cookware can release toxic fumes, so replace it with cast iron or stainless steel pans. Foods cans are lined with toxic bisphenol-A (BPA) and microwaving in plastic containers can release BPAs which can be particularly damaging to young children so make wise choices with containers.
Related: Dangers of Fumigation
How does your bathroom measure up as part of your healthy home? Air fresheners and fragrance used in personal products can all contain toxic chemicals. For youngsters, fluoride-free toothpaste is advisable, as fluoride can be toxic when swallowed.
Check the ingredients list of toothpaste, soap, deodorant and other antibacterial products. Avoid triclosan which has been shown to cause liver problems and disrupt thyroid function. When triclosan passes through wastewater treatment plants it is not removed so it goes on to poison aquatic life in lakes and rivers.
Laundry and Cleaning Hazards
Many everyday cleaning products contain known chemicals and harmful pesticides, and not all ingredients are listed on the label. Ingredients to avoid include 2-butoxyethanol, alkylphenol ethoxylates, ethanolamines and quaternary ammonium compounds (aka "quats").
The words “dye” and “fragrance” may also be hiding undeclared chemical information, while pine and citrus oil can react with the ozone in the air to form carcinogenic formaldehyde.
It’s worth paying a little more for eco green products, but you still need to analyze the contents.
House and Garden
More hazards lie in wait in the bedroom with electronic gadgets, TVs, treadmills and lamps generating electromagnetic fields (EMFs) which can disrupt sleep.
Lead paint, asbestos fire-retardant material and wood furniture containing arsenic sealant can all be toxic if children chew on them.
The long list of hazards in your otherwise healthy home is frightening and cannot be covered in one short article. You can find out more by checking out the website of the Environmental Working Group. Having knowledge is the first step to keeping you, your family and your home healthy and safe.