When most people think about toxins, what comes to mind is probably guys in biohazard suits cleaning up sludge from a river, or an old factory spewing chemicals into the air through its smoke stacks. Those are obvious signs that a substance is harmful and should be avoided — and most people do. The problem is that many toxic things don’t come with such clear labels. Many toxic things, in fact, are found in items that people use every day without even suspecting that there might be a problem. However, just because the warnings are not obvious, that doesn’t mean these items can’t prove to be a threat to human health, especially if there is daily or long-term exposure. Below, some common items which most people probably use every day but which are nonetheless toxic are discussed – and some of them might come as something of a shock!
Some women wear perfume every day and assume it is safe – but in fact most perfumes are not. They can contain chemicals like acetone, methyl chloride, linalool and camphor. If these chemicals are breathed in (which is easy to do when applying a perfume!) they can cause a whole array of physical symptoms, including nausea and vomiting, dizziness and headaches. Essential oils can be used as a natural alternative. (1)
It’s easy to lose a little sleep over the fact that many mattresses are imbued with toxic chemicals called PMBD’s during the manufacturing process. These chemicals can leach out from the mattress later and it is possible to breathe them in while sleeping. Exposure can lead to neurological problems as well as reproductive issues like low sperm counts. Organic mattresses are available, however. (2)
Ironically, many of the products that are supposed to be making a home clean can actually make it more toxic! Many household cleaners contain suspicious ingredients like phthalates, surfactants and other ingredients that can cause a whole array of health problems, including damage to the lungs and kidneys. That is why so many people are turning to natural alternatives to clean their home. (3)
Air fresheners are common household items used to keep things smelling nice around the house. But they, too, can be full of toxic artificial fragrances and chemicals like glycol ethers that can lead to severe allergic reactions and other respiratory issues. A safer bet to freshen the home is the use of essential oils in a diffuser. (4)
The fact is, it is impossible to completely avoid toxic exposure. However, simply doing your homework and being aware of what is in the products being purchased will help consumers to make more educated decisions about what they do and do not want in their homes.