Your house is full of toxins! I know, we all strive to make our homes safer for our family. However, when choosing our food, cleaning supplies, or body care, we consequently choose the level of the most common toxins in our home. Don’t think that you are more protected at home from harmful toxic exposure than you are outside. In fact, indoor air generally contains higher concentrations of toxins than outdoor air. Thus, our health and safety are dependent on the product choices we make. Most conventional products contain a fair share of toxic chemicals that effect your health. SO, what are the most common toxins in your home?
The Most Common Toxins: Pesticides
What are pesticides?
These are chemicals that are used to control a variety of agricultural pests that damage crops. Over 1 billion pesticides are used in the US each year. Pesticides can do a lot of damage to your health.
Pesticides can lead to diabetes, cancer, autism, obesity, autoimmune diseases such as thyroid problems and Parkinson disease. Exposure to pesticides can even lead to infertility and birth defects.
Where are pesticides found?
One of the most prevalent ways we are exposed to pesticides is through the fruits and vegetables we buy. The Environmental Working Group publishes a yearly list of fruits and vegetables with the highest levels of pesticide residue. The current top 12 are apples, celery, spinach, peaches, nectarines, grapes, lettuce, sweet bell pepper, cucumbers, potatoes, strawberries, and blueberries.
How to protect yourself
Make sure to buy organic fruits and vegetables. Organic food is grown without the use of pesticides. If you can not afford organic, you must take several steps to protect yourself from the exposure when eating conventional food. One way is to wash vegetables and fruits. This will help get rid of some pesticide residue. A more effective way would be to peel the outer layer.
The Most Common Toxins: Phthalates and Polyvinyl chloride
What are phlalates and polyvinyl chloride?
Phthalates are colorless industrial chemicals most often used to manufacture polyvinyl chloride plastics. They are used as plastic softeners. These are the most toxic chemicals known to man.
Where are they found?
Phthalates are commonly found in toys, household cleaners, cosmetics, personal care products, food packaging, furniture, carpet, shower curtains, plastic medical equipment, and even infant formula and baby food. Phthalates are also used as solvents in many cosmetics, hair sprays, deodorants, nail polishes and perfumes.
Phthalates have damaging effects on the liver, kidneys, lungs, reproductive systems, and can cause birth defects. They are also known as endocrine disruptors, which affect hormone systems.
How to protect yourself
The most obvious way is to buy products without PVC content. A common way to know whether or not a product is made from PVC is to look for the number 3 or the letter V inside the recycle circle on the bottle. Many companies have also introduced phthalate-free toys and baby products. Additionally, if you buy cosmetics, make sure to check the ingredient label. The ingredients list may include them, or just mention only “fragrance,” which probably contains them. Alternatives to PVC at home would include natural materials such as wood, bamboo and metal.
The Most Common Toxins: Heavy Metals
What are heavy metals?
Heavy metals include any metallic chemical element that has a relatively high density and is toxic or poisonous at low concentrations. The most common heavy metals that we are exposed to are mercury, lead, and arsenic.
Where are they found?
Heavy metals can be found in drinking water, vaccines, paints, pesticides, deodorants, and building materials. Food sources such as vegetables, grains, fruits, fish and shellfish can become contaminated with heavy metals through their surrounding soil and/or water.
Exposure to these metals can lead to serious health consequences such as cancer, organ damage, nervous system damage, and autoimmune diseases. Additionally, it leads to diseases of the kidneys, circulatory system, and can cause fertility issues.
How to protect yourself from most common toxins
The most important way is to install water filters.
Avoid products made with PFC, such as Teflon cookware. Stainless steel is my favorite.
Use cold water for cooking and making coffee, or tea.
Avoid lead-based paint.
These most common toxins found at home are a huge threat to your health and the health of your family. Avoid over exposure by any means possible. Your health is in your hands.