You eat right, exercise daily and live a healthy lifestyle — but are you really healthy? Hidden household toxins can wreak havoc on your body and the environment. According to the National Library of Health’s Tox Town, household toxins disrupt your endocrine system and the hormones that keep your metabolism running properly. Toxins lurk everywhere, including your walls, household cleaning products and cooking tools. Limiting your exposure to household toxins will improve your health and help the environment. Use the following guide about household toxins to improve the health of your home.
Paint The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) warns that if your home was built before 1978, it probably contains lead paint – a deadly poison that affects the nervous system. While painting old paint, open the windows for ventilation, use a wet sanding technique to reduce dust and select low VOC paints.
Baby Wipes Many parents use commercial baby wipes to keep their children clean, but these wipes aren't the safest. Ingredients include phthalates (endocrine disruptors) and Bronopol, a common antimicrobial compound that's toxic to the skin, immune system and lungs. For a safer solution, buy toxin-free brands, or better yet, use simple soap and water.
Carbon Monoxide Poisoning The toxic gas carbon monoxide is called the “silent killer” for a reason – it is difficult to detect. It is odorless, colorless, tasteless, and initially non-irritating. Protect your family against this deadly threat, and install carbon monoxide monitoring. Check if your home security and alarm system offers a carbon monoxide monitoring service.
Tap Water Your water can literally be dripping with toxins, such as lead, chlorine and pesticides. Test your tap water with a kit and invest in a quality water filtration system. Water infiltration is the safest route to remove potentially harmful contaminants. Visit homedepot.com for a tap water testing kit.
Air Filters Newer, energy-efficient homes are built without much ventilation. Homes can trap and seal allergy and asthma-aggravating irritants like mold, pet dander and dust mites. Filtering your indoor air through your furnace and air conditioning system with a MERV 11 or 12 disposable high-efficiency filter will keep your indoor air fresh and pollutant-free.
Cookware Non-stick Teflon-coated cookware is massively toxic to birds. Imagine how toxic it could be in your food. While nonstick cookware is convenient, it is coated with chemicals such as PTFA and TOEFL that have been linked to cancer. Chemicals release toxic fumes into the air and have been proven to kill birds and affect human health. A better choice is ceramic-based, chemical-free nonstick cookware.
Carpeting While synthetic fiber wall-to-wall carpeting is known to release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the air, it can also trap dust, pollen and mold in its padding. Spills from children and pet mishaps absorb beneath the carpeting, providing a breeding ground for mold and bacteria. A better solution is to cover hardwood floors with natural fiber area rugs or to lay down carpet tiles. Eco-friendly carpet tiles such as those offered at Flor.com can easily be removed to be cleaned, dried or replaced – and they're recyclable.