10 Common Household Poisons And Hazardous Chemicals To Avoid

10 Common Household Poisons And Hazardous Chemicals To Avoid
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What are the common household poisons or hazardous chemicals you need to avoid in your house? These 10 examples of chemical hazards pose dangers in the home.  

Are Household Poisons Hiding in Your Home?

We know that toxic products are best avoided and that most of us will go out of our way to minimize exposure to toxins in food and poisonous substances in the home, especially if we have little kids or pets.

More people today are making an effort to drink filtered water, consume organic food, install air purifiers, and turn to natural alternative medicines over prescription drugs to avoid the harmful effects of toxins in the body.

Yet most of us remain oblivious to the dangers of environmental toxins, household poisons, and harmful household chemicals that can create a toxic environment at home.

Thanks to the everyday products we casually purchase, there are many hidden toxins in your home. In some cases, the buildup of dangerous chemicals from toxic products at home could even cause what is known as sick house/home syndrome.

Because all household products (harmful or not) are made from chemicals, there’s no such thing as a “chemical-free home.”

What we need to aim for is eliminating household poisons in the home that are on the list of hazardous substances, very dangerous chemicals, or hazardous chemicals list.

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10 Common Household Poisons & Hazardous Chemicals To Avoid

There are too many examples of harmful household products, harmful substances and harmful chemicals in household materials to list all of them here.

In this article, we list 10 examples of chemical hazards, including household chemicals that contain the most common household poisons or hazardous chemicals you need to avoid in your house.

This list of toxic chemicals in everyday products highlights the top 10 chemicals most commonly found in the home and the potential risks associated with them.

1. BFRs (Brominated Flame Retardants)

BFRs are usually added to household products in order to reduce their flammability. While this can reduce the likelihood of injury or damage to property, there are long-term risks that are not so well-known.

BFRs have been connected to developmental problems, including learning difficulties, delayed puberty onset and fetal malformations, as well as disruption to the thyroid function, memory impairment, and behavioural changes.

There is also some research that connects BFRs to cancer. Bromine based chemicals have been found in human bodies for more than 20 years after initial exposure.

BFRs are primarily found in electronics such as printed circuit boards, connectors, electrical cables and plastic covers. They are also found in plastic covers of television sets, carpets, pillows, paints, upholstery, and domestic kitchen appliances.

2. PFOs (Perfluorinated Chemicals)

PFOs are used in many products in the home to give a stain-resistant coating. This includes carpets, furniture and clothes, as well as non-stick cooking pans. PFOs are also related to the chemicals used to preserve food packaging.

They are particularly harmful not only because they can enter human blood and stay there for over four years, but also because they do not degrade and cause massive environmental issues as well as serious health issues.

From reproductive and developmental issues to liver and kidney problems, there are significant health effects from being exposed to these chemicals. Some animals even developed tumours after being exposed.

Very rarely, drinking water can be a source of exposure. For this to happen, though, it would be as a result of the local water supply being contaminated in specific locations, such as an industrial facility or oil refinery or even airfield.

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3. Plastic Water Bottles

Plastic bottles should be on the list of poisonous household items for humans as one of the household products that cause cancer. If you buy water in plastic bottles, you should be checking the type of plastic bottle as it may be contaminating the water.

A lot of plastic bottles you buy in stores are only intended for one-time use, so it is not a good idea to refill them as a substance called Bisphenol A (BPA) can leach out of these plastics.

BPA is a xenoestrogen chemical and a known hormone disruptor. It is often found in bottles and cups made from polycarbonate plastics and has been linked to type-2 diabetes, cancer, decreased testosterone and health problems in babies and young children.

When you drink from polycarbonate plastic bottles, you’ll probably be able to taste it. Ideally, you should be looking for HDPE (high-density polyethene), LDPE (low-density polyethene), or polypropylene water bottles.

However, if you want to completely minimize your risk of exposure, the best solution is to purchase a reusable stainless steel or metal bottle rather than a plastic one.

This way, you can avoid having to reuse plastic bottles that contain BPA and minimise the environmental impact of plastic. Not only will a stainless steel bottle make the water taste better, but it will also look classy!

4. Phthalates (Plastic Softeners)

To make plastics soft and easy to shape, manufacturers add polyvinyl-chloride plastic softeners, more commonly known as phthalates. These plastic softeners are found in plastic toys, shower curtains, shampoo bottles, and raincoats, to name just a few.

These types of toxins have been linked to congenital disabilities in the male reproductive system, can interfere with hormonal development in children, and can cause damage to the liver, kidneys, and lungs.

Is vinyl flooring safe for children? Unfortunately, no. Studies have found that most vinyl floorings tested contained toxic phthalates, a number of which have been banned in children’s products since 2009.

Children are more vulnerable to these chemicals, and the European Union has even gone as far as to ban the use of phthalates in children’s toys.

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5. Toxic Bedding

We spend about a third of our lives in bed, so it is concerning to discover that a lot of bed sheets, pillows, and mattresses contain harmful toxins. In fact, around 70% of manufacturers currently use chemicals like formaldehyde, Aldicarb, Parathion, and AZO dyes.

Formaldehyde is often used to make bedding wrinkle-free but has been linked to cancer, and Parathion and Aldicarb are hazardous insecticides used in the growing of textile crops such as cotton.

We spend years wrapped up in our bedding and breathing in particles from the fibres, which can cause allergies, fatigue, rashes, and more.

Thankfully, it is now possible to buy mattresses made with eco-friendly materials, such as organic cotton, latex, and wool to minimize your exposure.

If you’re wondering how to clean the air in your home, you can use air-purifying house plants to rid your home of these common household toxins.

6. Dry Cleaning Chemicals

Dry cleaners use strong toxic chemicals to clean your clothes and soft furnishings, which includes the chemical known as trichloroethylene.

Even a short period of exposure to this household poison can lead to headaches, fatigue, dizziness, poor coordination, and loss of consciousness.

If you’re exposed to these chemical cleaning products for a prolonged period of time, it can lead to kidney and/or liver damage.

When you bring fabrics that have been dry cleaned into the home, they will continue to emit the toxic substances into the air around them, so it is best to air them out thoroughly before putting them away or wearing them.

7. Common Household Cleaners

It is not a revelation that most common household cleaners and domestic cleaning products such as disinfectants, window cleaners, polishes, oven cleaners, and dish soap contain harmful chemicals. However, it may surprise you just how dangerous they can be.

Most cleaning chemicals contain highly concentrated chlorine, which can cause respiratory problems and nasty skin and eye reactions. In some cases, cleaning products contain hydrochloric acid, which is highly corrosive and can cause liver and kidney damage.

Other dangerous household chemicals which are often found in household cleaning products include petroleum distillates, which have been linked to skin and lung cancer and fatal pulmonary oedema.

Cleaning products are some of the most toxic household items because they can contain perchloroethylene, ammonium hydroxide, sodium hypochlorite (which can lead to fluid in the lungs, causing coma or death) or trichloroethane (which is a nervous system depressant).

It can be difficult to avoid toxic chemicals in generic store-bought cleaning products, but you can easily buy non-toxic, eco-friendly cleaning products online.

You can also read up on green household cleaning tips and learn how to make your own non-toxic household cleaners and healthy, non-toxic cleaning products.

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8. Cosmetics & Skincare Products

It is becoming increasingly well known that there are many toxic ingredients in skincare products, so the list of skincare ingredients to avoid is growing.

Many toxic makeup ingredients used in cosmetics and personal hygiene products contain harmful chemicals such as carcinogens (which can cause cancer) and mutagens and reproductive toxins.

Currently, these toxic cosmetics chemicals in skincare and body care products are not regulated by the FDA, but toxic ingredients in cosmetics and toxic skincare products are thought to be one of the main sources of toxic exposure.

Sunscreen, nail polish, soaps, and shampoos often contain harmful chemicals and toxic skincare ingredients, and even those that are labelled as ‘organic’ only need to contain 70% organic ingredients.

If you’re interested in switching to organic cosmetics and personal hygiene products and want to know which cosmetic ingredients to avoid, check out our list of cruelty-free, vegan, halal cosmetics and follow a green beauty routine to minimize exposure to highly toxic chemicals found in cosmetics.

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9. Pesticides & Insecticides

Insecticides, pet flea, and tick treatments are pesticides that contain poisonous chemical compounds like imidacloprid, fipronil, pyrethrins, permethrin, diazinon, propoxur, chlorpyrifos and methoprene.

If these names of dangerous chemicals found at home sound scary, what they can do to your body is even more concerning.  All of these poisonous household items and toxic ingredients can cause symptoms like headache, dizziness, twitching and nausea.

Most industrial insecticides and pesticides are poisonous substances that can harm humans and pets. Cockroach killers are another easily available poison in the home as they use DDVP (2,2-dichlorovinyl dimethyl phosphate), which is rated as a first-class poison.

It is one of the most dangerous chemicals because DDVP exposure can lead to neurological, respiratory, reproductive and heart problems and might even trigger cancer. If inhaled in large proportions, it can even kill.

10. Combustion gases

Cooking in a poorly ventilated kitchen over a gas stove without a chimney could cause the buildup of gases like carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, and sulfur dioxide, which can be harmful and result in respiratory disorders and even death.

Ensure that your kitchen has cross ventilation and that the chimneys are cleaned and properly maintained to prevent the buildup of these harmful gases and their adverse effects on your health.

Find safe, eco-friendly alternatives

This list of 10 household chemicals and examples of toxic chemicals at home is not meant to scare you, but to make you aware that there are many eco-friendly alternatives to hazardous household chemical products that introduce environmental toxins in the home.

If you’re a health-conscious, eco-friendly mom wondering how to reduce toxins in the home and how to remove toxins from your body, you can flush out toxins with a toxin cleanse or a body cleansing diet.

The most important step to eliminating poisonous things at home and avoiding toxic home syndrome is to stop purchasing these toxic substances or storing anything on this list of harmful chemicals and unsafe things at home.

There’s no reason why you can’t eliminate household poisons and poisonous chemicals in the home by choosing safe and eco-friendly cleaning alternatives over these 10 chemicals at home.

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About the author:

Priya Florence Shah is the Group Editor at SHEROES and author of Devi2Diva, an emotional self-care book for women.

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