Some of us are more health conscious than others. Those who are, tend to focus on their consumption of food, drinks, and exercise regimes. But what are we doing to control our environments, mainly in our homes? What about the dangerous chemicals in the home?
Many of us are unaware of the dangerous chemicals we use in our homes. But the fact of the matter is there are dangerous chemicals in household products. We clean our kitchens with these products: dish washing detergents (both hand and automatic dishwashers), sink cleaners, floor cleaners, counter top disinfectants and oven cleaners. We scrub our bathrooms with: cleansers, bathtub and tile cleaners, toilet bowl cleaners, and we clean our medicine cabinet mirrors with window cleaner. We shampoo our carpets, scrub our walls and clean our windows, all with chemicals. We don’t think twice about it! But we need to be aware that there are dangerous chemicals in everyday products and of the dangers in household chemicals.
The core of the issue
According to environmental experts, there is an average of sixty-two (62) toxic chemicals in most homes that we are exposed to on a regular basis. This includes phthalates in synthetic fragrances to the noxious fumes in oven cleaners. These ingredients are linked to asthma, cancer, reproductive disorders, neurotoxicity (adverse effects on the nervous system) and hormone disruption. This is the result of dangerous chemicals in the home.
There are chemicals in our products that are banned in Europe because of their toxicity. However, in the US, there’s no federal regulation of chemicals in household products. In terms of household cleaners, neither ingredients nor products must meet any sort of safety standard, nor is any testing data or notification required before bringing a product to market, according to scientists at a well-known activist group.
Producers of these products contend that in small amounts these toxic ingredients aren’t likely to be a problem. However, when we’re exposed to them routinely, and in combinations that haven’t been studied, it’s impossible to accurately gauge the risks. While a few products cause immediate reactions from acute exposure (e.g. headaches from fumes, skin burns from accidental contact), different problems arise with repeated contact. Chronic exposure adds to the body’s toxic burden. That term represents the number of chemicals stored in body tissues at a given time. This toxic body burden is the major worry in relation to toxic chemicals in the home.
While no one can avoid exposure to toxic chemicals totally, the danger is daily, weekly, chronic exposure over a lifetime. While it is true to be exposed to a chemical for an insignificant number of times wouldn’t cause harm, over time some chemicals build up enough or cause enough harm in your body to trigger a disease consequence. The body burden concept sheds light on the fact that pollution is not just accumulating in our air and water it’s also accumulating in us!
The dangerous chemicals in household products
Next we’ll take a look at some of the greatest toxic ingredients found in common household products.
Many fragranced household products, such as air fresheners, dish soap, even toilet paper contain phthalates. You probably won’t see the word on a label. However, if you see the word fragrance, phthalates are probably present.
Phthalates are known endocrine disruptors. Men with higher concentrations in their blood had correspondingly reduced sperm counts. Although exposure to phthalates mainly occurs through inhalation, it can also happen through skin contact with scented soaps, which is a significant problem. The skin has no safeguards against toxins as the digestive system. Therefore, absorbed chemicals go straight to organs. [Nice!]
This chemical is contained in dry-cleaning solutions, spot removers, and carpet and upholstery cleaners.
Perc is a Neurotoxin and the EPA classifies it as a possible carcinogen as well. People exposed to perc continually such as those who live in residential buildings where dry cleaners are located have reported dizziness, loss of coordination and other symptoms. In fact, the EPA has ordered a phase-out of perc machines in residential buildings by 2020. California plans to eliminate all use of perc by 2023. It is most often exposed through inhalation. The odor on clothes when they return from the dry cleaner is a sure sign and also the fumes that linger after cleaning carpets. We all have to use the dry cleaner to one extent or another. It’s best to remove the plastic cover and allow items to air out before using them.
This one is found in most liquid dish washing detergents and hand soaps labeled “antibacterial.”
Triclosan is an aggressive antibacterial agent that can promote the growth of drug-resistant bacteria. There no evidence that it makes us healthier or safer. The concern is overusing these antibacterial chemicals — that’s how microbes develop resistance. Other studies have now found dangerous concentrations of triclosan in rivers and streams, where it is toxic to algae. It is a probable carcinogen and is being investigated whether it may also disrupt endocrine (hormonal) function.
Quarternary Ammonium Compounds, or “QUATS”
These gems are usually found in fabric softener liquids and sheets, and most household cleaners labeled “antibacterial.”
Quats are another type of antimicrobial. Therefore, they pose the same problem as triclosan by helping breed antibiotic-resistant bacteria. They’re also a skin irritant. A study of contact dermatitis found quats to be one of the leading causes. They are also suspected as a cause for respiratory disorders: There’s evidence that even healthy people who are exposed to quats on a regular basis develop asthma as a result. [Nice!]
You’ll find these in window, kitchen and multipurpose cleaners.
2-butoxyethanol is the key ingredient in many window cleaners and gives them their characteristic sweet smell (all that’s sweet isn’t sugar). It belongs in the category of “glycol ethers,” a set of powerful solvents that don’t mess around. Law does not require 2-butoxyethanol to be listed on a product’s label In addition to causing sore throats when inhaled, at high levels glycol ethers can also contribute to narcosis, pulmonary edema, and severe liver and kidney damage. Although there is a standard on 2-butoxyethanol for workplace safety, if we’re cleaning our homes in a confined area, such as an unventilated bathroom, we can actually end up getting this chemical in the air at levels that are higher than workplace safety standards. [Watch out!]
Commonly found in: polishing agents for bathroom fixtures, sinks and jewelry; also in glass cleaners.
Since ammonia evaporates and doesn’t leave streaks, it’s another common ingredient in commercial window cleaners. But there’s a price for the sparkle. Ammonia is a powerful irritant. Its effects are immediate. Those most affected are those who have asthma, and the elderly with lung issues and respiratory problems. It’s almost always inhaled. Those who get a lot of ammonia exposure, like housekeepers, will often develop chronic bronchitis and asthma. I once inhaled a little more ammonia than I should have while doing a household chore and I developed one of the nastiest colds ever. Ammonia can also create a horribly smelling, poisonous gas if it’s mixed with bleach.
Scouring powders, toilet bowl cleaners, mildew removers, laundry whitener, household tap water is where this chemical resides.
There are many avenues of exposure with chlorine. We’re getting exposed through fumes and possibly through skin when we clean with it, but because it’s also in city water to get rid of bacteria, we’re also getting exposed when you take a shower or bath. The health risks from chlorine can be acute as well as chronic; it’s a respiratory irritant at an acute level. But the chronic effects are what people don’t realize: It can be a serious thyroid disrupter.
This scary one is mainly found in oven cleaners and drain openers.
Commonly known as lye, sodium hydroxide is extremely corrosive. If it touches your skin or gets into your eyes, it can cause severe burns. Routes of exposure are skin contact and inhalation. Inhaling sodium hydroxide cuts your breath and can cause a sore throat that lasts for days.
How to avoid exposure
Wellness begins at home!
The best way to avoid being exposed to all the above toxins is to avoid them altogether. It’s a good idea to get these toxins out of our homes. This is best achieved by getting involved into today’s wellness movement. Wellness changes our environment to a proactive one instead of a reactive one. In my post/article https://universal-health-products.com/protecting-our-home-environment/ I detail alternatives to the common chemicals that we’re exposed to.
The most convenient way to accomplish this is through a comprehensive wellness company that offers a host of chemical and preservative free products. These range from household cleaners to delicious and nutritional smoothies!
For information on the best on-line wellness companies in North America featuring chemical free household products , send your request via email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Please feel free to leave any question or comment below.
24 thoughts on “Dangerous Chemicals in the Home”
After reading your article, I’m now looking around my house thinking, I may have been doing more harm than good when cleaning. Thank you for the possibility life-saving facts.
Hi Brooks – you’re welcome! Stay tuned for more!
I remember reading somewhere on phthalates, these chemicals according to the study conducted by University of Adelaide, Australia, was found in 99.6 percent of every man aged 35 and older. Phthalates are very dangerous chemicals. They can cause cardiovascular disease, type-2 diabetes, and high blood pressure.
If they are found in men, just think how much worse for women who spend more time than men at the kitchen, house cleaning, bathrooms etc. It’s scary these chemicals are being used rampantly as household products without government oversight.
Are these chemicals listed on products labels? I just wonder. If not it should be with a clear warning of the negative side effects just like the warning on smoking by the surgeon general.
I am with you on the label concern. However labels can be deceiving. Regarding phthalates, you probably won’t see the word on a label. However, if you see the word fragrance, phthalates are probably present. As with food labels, generic terms like spices are often used to disguise the actual ingredient MSG.
The thing is women are more likely to be exposed every day to the household chemicals since they pretty much take care of household chores, more than men.
Phthalates is certainly a dangerous chemical from what I read and surprisingly there’s very little oversight by the regulatory bodies to make household products less dangerous. Either they are too ignorant to realize this phthalates danger or simply lack the resources to regulate their use.
Either way, consumers need to be aware and your article gives a piece of good information.
You’re welcome! Passing on information is the whole purpose! As I mentioned in the article, there’s no federal regulation of chemicals in household products. Neither ingredients nor products must meet any sort of safety standard, nor is any testing data or notification required before bringing a product to market. Go figure!
Excellent information !
Everyone needs to know about the dangers of toxic chemicals in our homes.
This type of information is not for any specific group of people it is for EVERYONE !
I would suggest a image at the top of the page to bring out the content even more
which will give the content a stronger impact on the readers.
Hi Otis – Glad you enjoyed the post. It’s amazing the dangers we’re so innocently subjected to. I’m going to work on that image!
I am aware of some of the chemicals in our cleaning products so I have always choose to buy the products that are natural and organic. I either buy the cleaning products from Trader Joe or I made it myself with Baking soda, vinegar, water and lemon. You can check the YouTube out they will tell you the right measurement for it.
I have recently listened to health podcast and was not even aware that there are chemicals everywhere in our home. They were talking about the tap water on how it is full of fluoride and we should not drink it. They even suggest that we use the filter for when we shower as well.
I cannot believe that my toilet paper has Phthalates, I will have to buy an organic version for it now. The chemicals is truly hidden everywhere and it is scary.
Thanks for the list of the chemicals, I will go over them with my household items.
You’re welcome Nuttanee! There are also wellness companies with products that contain natural ingredients; including snacks and drinks!
Thanks for this very helpful and important article. I’m going to be more careful now with the cleaning, washing and other chemicals I am buying.
I hope one day you are going to write about some healthy and safe alternatives to these chemicals? Is it possible to live nowadays without the chemicals? It seems hard.
Hi Sandy – On my site is an article: Protecting Our Home Environment. In the contents of the article are alternatives. There is also an icon on the left to click if if you desire more information. It may not be possible to live completley without chemicals but a large dent can be made; making our environment safer. If I can help further, please advise.
Dangerous chemicals in the home are always good to know about. There are always different chemicals being developed. Think about things like lead paint, asbestos or even hydrogen gas. Sixty-two toxic chemicals in the home is pretty alarming, and also that some products are banned in some countries while sold over counter in others, really makes you think. I appreciate awareness such as this and I’m looking forward to reading more!
Greetings Pentrental: yes it is quite alarming as to what we are unwittingly subjected to and the harm it can cause. It might be a good idea to investigate avenues for obtaining products with natural ingredients. I’m glad to bring the awareness. There are other articles on the site as well you may find interesting.
Have a blessed one!
Great post on the potential dangers that surround our everyday living. I pay very close attention to what I take in as food and drinks. Now you have raised my awareness to other potential sources of even greater risks.
Its terrible to learn that every little activity at our very home exposes us to even greater dangers. This is scary.
What do you recommend as solution to mitigate these risks? Are we supposed to stop using them at all? Excellent article to raise awareness. Thank you very much. I would already start looking for natural alternatives. I’ve bookmarked your article for future for reference.
Grettings NSOH ALIEH LAURINE: So glad the post raised some awareness about the dangerous chemicals we’re subjected to in our homes. That is the whole purpose. I do recommend terminating the use of these products as much as possible. I am in the process of switching my products to chemical free products using
natural ingredients. They work very well so far. If you’re interested, I can arrange a web presentation.
If we are running away from synthetic drugs and food that can expose our body to a harsh side effects, this chemicals you listed should also be included. I keep imagining how this chemical would have left behind a chronic side that is very difficult to believe it arise as s result of this unintentional daily usage of these chemical. Everyone enjoy using fragrance but majority do not knowo it contains phthalates. I think we should be more careful with all these chemicals. This is why there are safe and reliable alternative ( natural products). Please can you make review about natural alternative household products we can use ? Thanks for this educating review.
Hi Stella – For alternatives use this link https://universal-health-produ… In that article post, I offer alternatives. Also there is an icon with a link on the left if you need a wellness company that offers excellent natural products including, health, beauty, household and nutrition.
Have a great one!
This is a great topic of interest to many people who are concerned with non-GMO, hormone-free, grass-fed, and organic foods and ingredients.
There are others who are clean-freaks who don’t let their kids do anything.
Luckily there are alternatives. One is to only buy non-toxic cleaning agents for the home and your body. The second is make your own. Many people are cooking for themselves, discovering that what our ancestors made and used is still available to make today. There’s a trend to reconnect with the old ways.
This is a very timely and important article of great interest to me.
I have many of these home cleaning products still in my home, even though I use clean and organic personal products with out the chemicals. I did purchase a bunch of stuff from an MLM company that specialized in ‘clean’ household and laundry cleaners and still actively use their products.
I should probably discard all the other stuff that is toxic like what is described here. This is kind of a wake up call for those like me who at one time were rabid for clean stuff, but then kind of lapsed in intensity.
I appreciate this article… well researched… well presented… so relevant to me.
Hi Mike: I’m happy the article inspired you. Like you I still have some old products around. The change has to be gradual for several reasons in my case. The MLM company I use has replacements for just about everything! The one replacement I haven’t been able to make is oven cleaner. Does your MLM have one?
Hi! You’re right! We pay attention to what we eat, how much we exercise and many other things. But when it comes to our environment, at home or at work, we trust our authorities to do the job for us banning what could be chemically threatening for our health. Reading your post I have realized my mistake.
A few months ago I came across some report that explained how dangerous Butoxyethanol is. But your post has really made me start to see things from a different perspective. Thanks!
Hi Henry – Isn’t it interesting that chemicals that are banned in other countries are used in the USA? These chemicals are quietly affecting is in harmful ways. I’m happy to know that the post was fruitful for you.
Have a great one!
Hi Nathaniel! You’re right! We pay attention to what we eat, how much we exercise and many other things. But when it comes to our environment, at home or at work, we trust our authorities to do the job for us banning what could be chemically threatening for our health. Reading your post I have realized my mistake.
A few months ago I came across a report that explained how dangerous Butoxyethanol is. It surprised me but the article didn’t provide the proper context. But your post has really made me start to see things from a different perspective. This has been very helpful. Thank you very much!!!
PD: I will start taking action today!
Hi Henry – Glad the post was beneficial to you. Bottom line…it’s good to trust the authorities but only to point. We also have to take some responsibility and do our own homework. I’m glad your’re taking action. Every journey begins with the first step!
Have a great one!