Top 10 Worst Toxic Chemicals Found In Your Home

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Top 10 Worst Toxic Chemicals Found In Your Home
Graphic – Shower curtain photo – Wikipedia – lic. under CC 2.0.

Due to the advance of the industrialized world, having a home free from artificial chemicals may be next to impossible in this day and age. A list of the top 10 toxic chemicals to look out for and avoid is found below.

1. Formaldehyde

Formaldehyde, also known as methanal, is used in a vast number of industrial applications and is found in an enormous number of industrial products. Formaldehyde is a volatile organic compound (VOC) and is “off-gassed” from a variety of construction materials, furnishings, and consumer products. The three products that emit the highest concentrations are medium density fiberboard, hardwood plywood, and particle board. [1] Carpets and memory foam also emit formaldehyde.

In 2011, the US National Toxicology Program described formaldehyde as “known to be a human carcinogen”. [2] Owing to its widespread use, you might have a difficult time removing formaldehyde-emitting products from your home entirely, and this is a bigger problem ever before now that modern homes are much more “air sealed” than ever before – for insulation purposes. However the USA’s EPA has made a positive step and finalized new regulations Dec 2016 controlling the allowable emission of formaldehyde in industrial products such as plywood and fiberboard. [3]

One thing that is advised is to maintain a supply of fresh air in the home. It’s also possible to obtain VOC-removing air purifiers.

2. Atrazine

Atrazine is one of the most widely used but controversial herbicides in the world. [4] Farmers and gardeners use it to prevent broadleaf weeds and to kill weeds that have already emerged.

The herbicide is very common in the United States and over 73 million pounds of it is found in our lawns, food crops, and golf courses every year. [5] It can lead to water contamination and as a result, it affects our marine life including fish, turtles, frogs, and alligators. In particular, it affects our marine life’s reproductive system and hormones – male fishes were found with eggs due to exposure to this herbicide. While there have been no documented studies about how it could affect human hormones, scientists believe that the effects are also negative.

Short-term exposure can lead to muscle spasms, damage to adrenal glands, low blood pressure, and congestion of heart, lungs, and kidneys. [6] Long-term exposure can cause cardiovascular damage, cancer, and retinal and muscle degeneration.

3. Bisphenol A (BPA)

Bisphenol A or BPA is a synthetic estrogen and industrial chemical that has been used to make certain resins and plastics since the sixties. [7] In particular, it is found in polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins.

BPA is typically found in water bottles and other plastic containers used to store food and beverages. It can seep into our food or beverages. While the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has stated that it is safe at very low levels that occur in some foods, it is still better to use BPA-free products.

Although it is usually found in plastic, it is also found in other products we are exposed to on a daily basis. [8] The substance is found in canned goods and cash register receipts and money. It is believed that eating food from canned products will greatly increase BPA exposure by up to 1,000 percent. [9] As for receipts and money, researchers have found that we could be absorbing a few nanograms of BPA every day just from holding the receipts and money! [10]

People now tend to avoid BPA after reports have revealed that it is an endocrine disruptor that could raise your blood pressure. [11] This can lead to hormonal imbalances, infertility, and increased risk of reproductive cancers. In addition, it could also lead to low sperm count, early puberty in children, and other hormone-related problems.

4. Chlordane

Chlordane is a generic term for a group of chemical compounds that are “chlorinated cyclodienes.” [12] It has been banned in the United States for around 30 years. [13] However, the risk of exposure is nowhere near gone.

It was typically found in insecticide and termiticide in the past. Despite the long period of time, it still remains. It is a persistent organic pollutant that does not readily break down and is still found in a high percentage of homes 30 years after being used.

Long-term exposure to chlordane, particularly from living in a house built before 1988, could affect your nervous and digestive system. The chemical is also toxic to your liver. High exposure and lead to convulsions and immediate death. Low exposure over time could also lead to headaches, vision problems, vomiting, general malaise, and stomach cramps.

5. Dioxins

Dioxins are a group of chemically-related compounds which are persistent environmental pollutants. [14] They are found all over the world and can accumulate in the food chain in the fatty tissue of animals. Over 90% of our exposure is through food, mainly with dairy, meat products, fish, and shellfish.

These compounds are highly toxic and can lead to developmental and reproductive problems. It can also interfere with our hormones, damage the immune system, and also cause cancer. In order to reduce your risk to exposure, it is advisable to trim the fat from your meat and consume low-fat dairy products.

6. Flame Retardants

Flame retardants are used to reduce the devastating impact of fires. [15] The most common elements in flame retardants are chlorine, phosphorus, bromine, and nitrogen. Inorganic compounds are also used in flame retardants as well.

The primary applications of flame retardant chemicals in the United States are in wires and cables, electronics, building insulation, and polyurethane foam. [16] Recent legislation has been more strict about their use; however, household products and pipes of furniture manufactured before 2005 still have these chemicals in high concentration.

A study showed that some flame retardants used in everyday household items have been associated with papillary thyroid cancer. [17] Other studies have shown that flame retardants in breast milk have been linked to infertility, cancers, behavioral problems, birth defects, and lower IQ scores. [18]

7. Lead

Lead is a naturally occurring element found in the earth’s crust. [19] While it has its benefits, it is generally considered to be toxic to humans and animals. It is found in the air, the water, and the soil. It can also make its way into our homes through the water pipes that bring in our water, countertops and floors that contain dust from paint and soil, and even some windows. It was also commonly found in paint and even in some beauty products.

Too much exposure to lead can be detrimental to our health, especially for young children. Lead in the body is assessed through the measurement of it in the blood. [20] It is usually distributed to the bones, kidney, brain, and liver. No known level of lead exposure is considered to be completely safe.

8. Mercury

Mercury is a naturally occurring element which can be found in water, air, and soil. [21] Exposure to it can cause serious health problems which could affect the digestive, immune, and nervous systems.

Mercury is found in some thermostats and thermometers which could break and release droplets into the air. Small amounts of it can also be released from “silver” dental fillings over a long period of time, it is found in many “spiral” compact fluorescent lightbulbs – which will release it if broken. We may even be exposed to it from some skin lightening creams and eating fish.

It is a major public health concern when people are exposed to high levels of mercury. It can enter the body through ingestion, inhalation, or skin absorption. Acute exposure to mercury could lead to psychotic reactions, suicidal tendencies, delirium, and hallucinations. [22] It has also been linked to immune conditions such as Multiple Sclerosis.

9. Perchlorate

Perchlorate is both a naturally occurring and a man-made chemical compound that is typically used in batteries, fireworks, explosives, and rocket fuel. [23] It is also found in fertilizers, airbags, and bleaches. It can also be widespread in soils and plants, ground water, and even our food.

This known toxin is absolutely poisonous to the environment and human beings. It is detrimental to the thyroid gland, hormonal balance, and metabolism. It is also considered a “likely human carcinogen” by the EPA. [24]

10. Phthalates

Phthalates are a group of chemicals which soften and increase the flexibility of both plastic and vinyl. [25] It is used in hundreds of consumer products such as hairspray, perfume, shampoo, soap, and nail polish. We can also find them in shower curtains, wallpaper, vinyl toys, food packaging, and plastic wrap.

Researchers have linked phthalates to attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, asthma, and breast cancer. [26] In addition, they have also been linked to type II diabetes, obesity, low IQ, behavioral issues, neurodevelopmental issues, and autism spectrum disorders. They also affect reproductive development and male fertility issues.




























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