Quantcast

8 Toxic Products You Should Not Bring in Your Home + Natural Alternatives

Health + Wellness

There are a lot of common household products almost everyone has on hand and probably never thinks much about. Your parents had them and now so do you. But a lot of these common products are toxic, something we know more about now than your family did back in the day. So you might want to avoid some of these items and look for some house-healthier substitutes.

Cleaning supplies often contain substances like bleach or ammonia, which can release toxic fumes that lead to respiratory distress.
Photo credit: Shutterstock

1. Non-stick cookware may save you some cleaning time, some elbow grease and some scouring pads, but at high temperatures the polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) that makes Teflon non-sticky gives off toxic gases that have been linked to reproductive problems, cancers and other health issues. It's best to opt for stainless steel or iron skillets, or if you must use non-stick pans, cook at lower temperatures.

2. We know how bad plastic bottles and other containers are for the environment, especially if you just toss them in the trash after using the contents. But they can also leach chemicals into whatever you're drinking. Watch out especially for the hormone-disrupting, possibly birth defect-causing Bisphenol A (BPA). Many plastic products promote they are now BPA-free, but that isn't the only potentially harmful chemical they can shed. It's safer to use a glass.

3. When you see roaches or ants in your house, it's natural to want to dash out and grab the first high-power pesticide you see on the shelf. Hold that disgust! Try a natural solution: one of many insect repellent herbs, such as mint or tansy, or some vinegar or lemon juice sprinkled along their entrance points and other places where they hide.

4. "Germ-killing" hand soaps and other antibacterial products are full of chemicals but have become widespread due to the public's overblown fears of catching something (ebola! ebola!). In addition, killing off germs indiscriminately can hinder the immune system's own defenses, eliminating good bacteria along with the bad. There's a lot to be said for more environmentally friendly and healthful soap and water.

5. Cleaning supplies often contain substances like bleach or ammonia, which can release toxic fumes that lead to respiratory distress. It's good to be aware of what is in those products; often the more instantly effective they are, the more toxic they are as well. And many common household products such as vinegar and baking powder can also be effective in tackling ordinary household cleaning jobs. And you don't need a specialized product for each separate cleaning task!

Many common household products such as baking powder and lime can be effective in tackling ordinary household cleaning jobs.

6. Air fresheners contain a brew of chemicals such as phthalates, known to cause hormonal abnormalities, reproductive problems and birth defects. They also contain such little-defined ingredients as "preservatives," "propellant" and the ever-popular "fragrance," which could be just about anything. And no, the word "natural" doesn't mean anything when it comes to fragrance. Try a big pot of some fragrant, flowering, house-loving plant like jasmine instead.

7. With so many natural moth repellants available, ranging from cedar blocks to sweet-smelling herbal solutions like lavender, mint, cloves and rosemary, there's little need to resort to those old-fashioned mothballs. Not only do they smell like those old clothes of your grandmother's that have been in the attic for years, but they're little balls of toxic chemicals that can cause dizziness, headaches and nausea.

8. Dryer sheets and other fabric softeners work by coating your clothes with a thin layer of—you guessed it!—potentially toxic chemicals. A common one is quantenary ammonium salts which can cause skin irritation and rashes, respiratory problems, nausea, headaches and even vomiting. Likewise the undisclosed "fragrance" most contain can cause respiratory problems. Try tossing some wool balls or an old sweater in the wash to eliminate wrinkles and static cling.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

A Life Less Toxic: Amy Smart and Carter Oosterhouse Visit Organic Mattress Factory Naturepedic

5 Ways to Detox Your Laundry

10 Natural Ways to Keep Insects Out of Your Home

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Microsoft's main campus in Redmond, Washington on May 12, 2017. GLENN CHAPMAN / AFP via Getty Images

Microsoft announced ambitious new plans to become carbon negative by 2030 and then go one step further and remove by 2050 all the carbon it has emitted since the company was founded in 1975, according to a company press release.

Read More
Nestlé is accelerating its efforts to bring functional, safe and environmentally friendly packaging solutions to the market and to address the global challenge of plastic packaging waste. Nestlé / Flickr / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Nestlé, the world's largest food company, said it will invest up to $2 billion to address the plastic waste crisis that it is largely responsible for.

Read More
Sponsored
Yellow soft shell D-vitamin capsule held to the sun. Helin Loik-Tomson / iStock / Getty Images

By Margherita T. Cantorna

Winter is upon us and so is the risk of vitamin D deficiency and infections. Vitamin D, which is made in our skin following sunlight exposure and also found in oily fish (mackerel, tuna and sardines), mushrooms and fortified dairy and nondairy substitutes, is essential for good health. Humans need vitamin D to keep healthy and to fight infections. The irony is that in winter, when people need vitamin D the most, most of us are not getting enough. So how much should we take? Should we take supplements? How do we get more? And, who needs it most?

Read More
The common murre population in Alaska has been decimated by an ocean heatwave. Linda Burek / iStock / Getty Images Plus

An expanse of uncommonly warm seawater in the Pacific Ocean created by a marine heatwave led to a mass die-off of one million seabirds, scientists have found.

Read More
Climate activists hold a banner after climbing atop the roof of the entrance of the building as they protest outside offices of Youtube during the tenth day of demonstrations by the climate change action group Extinction Rebellion, in London, on Oct. 16, 2019. PAUL ELLIS / AFP / Getty Images

By Dana Drugmand

You don't have to look far to find misinformation about climate science continuing to spread online through prominent social media channels like YouTube. That's despite the overwhelming scientific consensus that humans are driving the climate crisis.

Read More