When many people hear the word “carcinogen”, they tend to think about things like industrial pollution, cigarette smoke or the nitrates and nitrites that come in processed meat. While it is true that these substances have all been linked to cancer development, there are other, less obvious dangers lurking much closer to home.
There are, in fact, many common household items that contain chemicals or other additives which are suspected or known to stimulate the onset of cancer. What’s more, they can be in items which are commonly around the house and which many people simply take for granted. Five of the most common of these items are listed below.
Many commercial air fresheners are frankly dangerous as they contain volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) such as phthalates. These chemicals have been found to cause a variety of health problems, including exacerbation of asthma and other respiratory disorders as well as reproductive development. In addition to this, VOC’s have been strongly linked to several forms of cancer and have, for instance, been eliminated from “green” building materials like eco-friendly paints. It is much safer to freshen the home with natural essential oils instead.
Candles – especially scented candles – are extremely common household items, but often their wicks contain lead which is used by manufacturers to fortify the wicks. When they are burned, the wicks release about five times the amount of lead considered safe for children by the EPA; lead is a known carcinogen and is linked not only to cancer but to neurological and hormonal problems as well. Try using natural beeswax candles instead.
Some supplies which people keep around the house for decorating or art projects can also be hazardous – especially items like Epoxy resin, acrylic paints, solvents and the like. These items contain chemicals linked to cancer, organ damage and allergy development and children are particularly vulnerable to the effects as they are still developing physically and neurologically. There are, however, many natural art and craft supplies available.
These personal care items are probably found in nearly every bathroom in the United States, but they often contain ingredients like aluminum and other additives which have been linked to certain forms of cancer (such as breast cancer). Also, because they are designed to remain on the body for hours, there is ample opportunity for those toxins to be absorbed into the skin. Fortunately, there are many natural alternatives to choose from that are available in any health food store.
Shower curtain made of plastic can not only leak toxic chemicals into the shower or bath, they, like air fresheners, contain cancer-causing VOC’s which can leach out into the air of the bathroom and be inhaled by anyone who enters. Opting, if possible, for glass shower doors which can be easily cleaned with natural cleaners like vinegar is a much better idea.
In conclusion, while these common items are definitely linked to cancer and other serious health issues, there is good news, too: it is possible in most instances to find natural, organic alternatives to these conventional products that will not bring these dangers with them into the home.
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