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10 Dangerous Chemicals To Avoid In The Home
Here is a look at some of the most dangerous chemicals to avoid in the home. Within our busy daily lives the tendency is to manage the health of ourselves and immediate family by focussing on diet, nutrition and exercise. However exposure to chemicals may well need to be added to that list as many chemicals today are known or suspected to be links to cancer, early puberty, obesity, ADHD and other serious health concerns.
However within your home you don’t have to live like teetotallers of chemicals to reduce your family’s exposure, there are simple ways to lower contact without too much change in lifestyle.
Despite its positive effect in reducing cavities, too much fluoride can cause health problems, including discoloured teeth, pits in tooth enamel and brittle bones. The hope is with fluoride to try and get enough to reap the benefits without ingesting too much. In which case try to avoid using fluoridated toothpaste and mouthwash until your child is old enough to spit them out independently.
Exposure to mercury impairs neurological development, and recent research has linked high levels of mercury to ADHD. Because neural development happens rapidly in pregnancy and early childhood, it is important to eliminate exposure where possible. For example try to eliminate large fish such as swordfish, shark, king mackerel, and tilefish from your family’s diet, especially if you are pregnant. It is safe to eat other kind of fish, which are still a healthy source of protein and essential nutrients.
Potentially carcinogenic pesticides have been linked to Non-Hodgkin lymphoma and leukemia in children, and they have been shown to have negative effects on neurobehavioral development. Primarily sprayed on treated produce and on outdoor lawns and gardens to kill insects and weeds but they can leak into the groundwater supply. Always seek to buy organic fruits and vegetables or stick to produce with lower pesticide levels, and wash fruits and veggies before eating. The benefits of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables still outweighs the risks of pesticide exposure.
Arsenic is a known carcinogen that has been linked to skin, bladder, kidney, and lung cancers. Arsenic can be found in apple and grape juice and in rice and rice products, which are contaminated by both naturally occurring arsenic and arsenic-containing pesticides.
To reduce exposure to this try offering your family water, milk, and whole fruits and avoid rice-based foods, such as rice milk and rice flour rice syrup.
It is also worth considering treating or replacing older pressure-treated wood, which might be found in sandboxes, playgrounds, swing sets as Arsenic can be found here.
Formaldehyde is a known skin irritant that can cause allergy-like reactions including watery, burning eyes and throats, stuffy noses, and skin rashes. This chemical is used to preserve a number of household products and can be found in pressed wood medium density fibreboard (MDF) furniture such as drawers and cabinets. Avoid any furniture made of pressboard or MDF. If you do buy formaldehyde-treated furniture, get it well before you intend to use it and air it outside or in a well-ventilated garage.
Bisphenol A (BPA) and Phthalates
Both BPA and phthalates are products that mimic natural hormones and can affect reproductive development and health. BPA is linked to early puberty in girls and phthalates are linked to low testosterone and to male reproductive problems. BPA and phthalates are additives in plastics; BPA creates a rigid plastic and phthalates make plastic more flexible. Even though major manufacturers are no longer making baby bottles and children’s drinking cups with BPA, it can still be found in the lining of food and beverage cans.
Do not microwave food in plastic containers because they can release BPA and try to avoid buying canned food or food storage containers unless they are marked “BPA-free.”
A type of flame retardant called polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) is of particular concern. Even small doses at critical points in development can damage reproductive systems and affect motor skills, learning, memory, and hearing. Flame retardants are nearly ubiquitous in upholstered furniture, including couches, pillows, mattresses, and carpet padding. Reduce your family’s exposure this chemical by not letting babies and toddlers put remotes or mobile phones in their mouths and replace furniture and pillows if the foam is old and breaking down or if the fabric is torn beyond repair.
Lead poisoning can cause nervous system damage, stunted growth, kidney damage, and delayed development. Lead was a common additive to paint prior to banning its use in household paint. However it can still be found in older houses and in some imported toys and jewellery. If you have an older home, use a lead-safe certified builder to make necessary renovations and avoid painted or metal toys made in 1900s.
High doses can interfere with iodine absorption into the thyroid gland; this interferes with thyroid hormone production needed for growth and development. This is an industrial chemical used in rocket fuel, fireworks, explosives, bleach, some fertilizers, and flares. The best way is to contact your local council for accurate levels and readings for this chemical in your drinking water, use water filters where needed; and pregnant women should discuss with professionals the possibility of taking iodine-containing multivitamins during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
Radon is a natural, odourless radioactive gas that can seep into homes from the ground. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer and can be detected with a test kit prior to calling in a radon remediation contractor if the levels are too high.
At our Fresh Start boot camp you will get ample opportunity to discuss topics such as dangerous chemicals to avoid in the home as well as other lifestyle changes that can be made towards a healthier and effective way of living.