Want to have a more natural home? Learn about hazardous household products you should get rid of and replace with safer alternatives.
We have a lot of things in our homes that can cause health issues, including cancer. Replacing them with safer alternatives can help your family’s health. These safer options are also better for the environment.
Toxins can be found in surprising places all over your home and it’s important to know what to look for and what the risks are.
Hazardous Household Products to Replace
1. Non-Stick Cookware
Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) also known as Teflon, a DuPont brand trademark, can have some pretty serious health impacts. When used at high temperatures it can kill pet birds and cause people to develop flu-like symptoms (called “Teflon Flu” or “polymer fume fever.”
And a chemical used in the production of Teflon perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). It’s also classified as a possible carcinogen and harmful to the environment.
How to Avoid: Switch to safer cookware that is Teflon-free. Make sure to also avoid fabrics and carpets that are stain resistant as they may be treated with Teflon. A lot of appliances are also coated with it.
Mothballs usually contain naphthalene or paradichlorobenzene. They are harmful to humans, pets, and other wildlife. They are insecticides and are dangerous in consumed and can even cause problems by just inhaling them.
How to Avoid: Check out Natural Alternatives to Mothballs
3. Air Fresheners
Many air fresheners contain phthalates which are endocrine disruptors. They can also irritate your lungs and cause problems for people with asthma and other lung conditions.
How to Avoid: Use natural air freshening products like baking soda which can help neuturize odors. You can also use essential oils to create your own air fresheners or buy natural ones from stores like Grove Collabortive.
4. Household Cleaners
Household cleaners can contain all kinds of toxic chemicals that are harmful to your lungs, possible carcinogens, and endocrine disruptors. When they come in contain with skin, especially laundry products, they can also be very irritating.
5. Flame Retardants
Flame retardants are found in everything from sofas to kids clothing. They can cause problems like cancer, decreased IQ, reproductive problems, and many other health concerns.
How to Avoid: Check labels on children’s products and furniture. California law requires labeling and the labels are still often present on products sold outside of the state. For things, you already own be sure to use a vacuum with a HEPA filter and wet-dust and mop often to keep the dust down.
6. Plastic Food Containers
Plastic food containers can contain BPA and other endocrine disruptors, even BPA-free plastics. These are the biggest concern when heating plastic in the microwave or even the dishwasher. It’s best to just avoid when you can.
How to Avoid: Use glass, stainless steel, or silicone storage containers.
7. Flaking Paint
In homes built before 1978, and even some built after, can contain lead paint. It becomes dangerous when renovating or if it starts to break down. If you don’t know if you have lead paint, and your home was built before the lead ban in 1978, assume it is lead. You can have it tested or buy test kits yourself.
How to Avoid: It’s banned now so the concern is antiques that have paint and homes. Be sure not to buy antiques that have original paint, this includes old windows often used in crafting now. Also, be aware of the risks when buying an older home.
Candles can have lead wicks, paraffin wax, and artificial fragrances, all of which pose health risks. They can put harmful toxins into your air causing respiratory issues.
How to Avoid: Choose soy or beeswax candles with cotton, lead-free wicks, and that are unscented or use natural fragrances or essential oils.
Avoiding these harmful products can help make the air cleaner and safer in your home. Shopping stores that only sell safe products is a great way to make this easier. Grove Collaborative is a great place to shop for this reason, plus you can get a free Mrs. Meyer’s cleaning set to get you starts.