Top 10 Most dangerous household products
#10 Plastic Shopping Bags
Plastic lasts forever as can be seen both landfills all over the world and in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. The GPGP is twice the size of Texas and is full of plastic trash. It floats 1,000 miles off the coast of California in the Pacific Ocean. In the USA only 2% of plastic bags are recycled, the other 98% are thrown into the garbage which ends up in landfills or blowing about in the woods. While on a US tour with my band in 2005 I witnessed towns in the midwest that were so full of garbage that you could see more plastic on the ground than dirt and grass; It was sickening. When I shop I use cloth bags, but sometimes I forget them. In that case I can either opt for paper and recycle or compost the bags or get plastic and reuse them. At home I keep a bunch of plastic bags that I reuse when passing off hand me down clothing or giving away something to a friend. As long as you make a concious effort, it’s not hard to reduce, reuse, and recycle.
#9 Flame Retardants
The most common flame retardant used in most mattresses (Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers – PBDE) is known to accumulate in blood, breast milk, and fatty tissues. The chemical can cause liver, thyroid, and nuero-developmental toxicity. Sleep soundly, sleep deep, sleep and Rest In Peace my friends. Make sure and ask a lot of questions before purchasing a new mattress. There are always alternatives that are safer than this. Why put yourself at risk for toxicity over fire? Instead of worrying about fire don’t smoke in your house, don’t use towels to wipe out hot pans, and don’t burn candles of any kind. If you have a fireplace be extra diligent about keeping children and flammables away from it. If you don’t have a fire you don’t have to worry about your bed going up in an inferno.
#8 Air Fresheners
Air fresheners are highly toxic and even those labeled “clean” or “pure” can still cause respiratory distress, especially in those with asthma. My suggestion is to open all your doors and windows and let the air move through you house. If you do this (even in winter) just for 15 minutes you will be amazed at how much better you feel and how clean the air smells. If you cannot do this (-20 F) then you can always use oil and make your own diffuser using cinnamon and cloves to enhance the air.
#7 Light Bulbs
Compact Fluorescent (CFL) bulbs just a small fraction of the energy that regular lights bulbs use. Unfortunately they contain high levels of mercury. This is a toss up because by using a CFL you are reducing the amount of electricity you use, since coal plants power much of the electrical grid than in fact you are lessing the amount of mercury released because they do not need to burn as much coal. You are though exposing you and your family to a potential health risk if one breaks. Just take extra care when removing and replacing bulbs and DO NOT throw them in the regular garbage. They must be disposed of through a hazardous waste collection unit which generally are available at certain times during the year in most cities throughout the US.
#6 Chemical Fertilizers
If you are using these you are encouraging algal blooms and run off what destroys eco-systems. Instead of pouring chemicals into the ground try either rotating your crops or plants or diversifying your gardens. Certain types of plants leech specific minerals out of the soil and replace others when they die. By diversiying or rotating you keep the natural cycle nature has already crafted and perfected over millions of years. We still don’t know the full effects our chemicals will have on the earth and our food supplies. Practice common sense.
#5 Antibacterial Products
By introducing antibacterials into common items such as soaps, toothpaste, and children’s toys we are creating super strains of common illnesses which are starting to effect the population in stronger than usual cold and flu seasons and longer recovery times. In some cases these super bugs spread death to the young and elderly; MRSA for example. 97% of breast feeding mothers were found to have triclosan in their milk and 75% in their urine. This is scary since many of these people didn’t even know the products they were using contained antibacterials.
#4 Chemical Insecticides and Herbicides
Since these chemicals are dangerous enough to kill pests you can bet they harm or kill humans as well. The active ingredient in Round-Up is known to cause kidney damage and reproductive harm in mice. Many would argue that since it hasn’t shown the same effects in humans that it is safe. Let me give you a history lesson- Round-Up is made by a company by the name of Monsanto. This company is responsible for the Genetically Modified Foods that are being forced upon the world without their consent. They have modified the foods to contain a selective set of chemicals containing portions of Round-Up so that when sprayed with Round-Up the crops will not die. Monsanto’s head employees have a revolving door with the USDA so that the same people who work at Monsanto also approve their own products for US consumption. Feeling hoodwinked? You are. Thus, any testing done with Round-Up on humans most likely is understated, hidden, passed off, disregarded, and covered up by either Monsanto or the USDA. All I know is that when I have a pest problem like mice, I hire a cat.
#3 Convential Cleaning Supplies
These contain toxic chemicals that negatively affect every system in your body. All purpose cleaners contain ammonia, a strong irritant linked to liver and kidney damage. Bleach is extremely toxic and can burn the skin and eyes. Oven cleaners can cause chemical burns, emit toxic fumes, and is one of the biggest threats to children under 5 contained in the common household.
A great alternative to these dangerous chemicals is either a mixture of vinegar and baking soda to scrub off soap scum on tubs or caked on grease in ovens, or hydrogen pyroxide for cleaning and disinfecting all other surfaces. If you do not want to use these there are safe alternatives at many high end health food stores and co-ops such as Whole Foods and PCC.
BPA was the most recent big scare in plastic bottles. For me the scare was the massive amount of plastic bottles floating in the bay of Puerto Vallarta. It made me sick to see us regard our oceans as a waste recepticle. Back to BPA- it mimics the effects of hormones that harm your endocrine system. While BPA is now banned, there are still other types of plastic to watch out for in addition to those old BPA plastics floating around 2nd hand. Single use plastic bottles leech chemicals into water, especially when left in the sun.
*Bottled water is not as stiffly regulated or tested as convential tap water and can contain bacteria, chemicals, and other unknowns.
*Tap water is heavily tested, regulated, and is used by the entire populace. In fact, most cities test their municipal water supply over 2,000 times in a single year. That’s 5.47 times per day!
If you don’t like the taste or want the flouride or other additives the city puts in simply use a filter. It’s easy and cheap to filter water these days and most fridges contain a water filtration unit as standard. Make sure you replace your filter often. Plus, it’s cheaper than buying bottled water and contributing to the aforementioned plastic garbage crisis.
#1 Non-Stick Cookware
In the 1960s non-stick pans were introduced to the American household. Many people loved how easy they were to cook with and clean, but they held a sinister cost for this ease of use. The coating of Teflon pans non-stick is Polytetrafluoroethylene or PTFE for short. When PTFE hears up it releases toxic gases which cause cancer, organ failure, reproductive damage, and other harmful health effects.
Instead of teflon use cast-iron cookware for an easy and healthy way to get your daily iron. If you don’t like cast iron use stainless steel cookware. Even better, stop cooking your food and start steaming or eating vegetables raw to extend your life and improve your health and well being. That is part of the reason you’re reading this article isn’t it?
There you have it, the 10 most dangerous household products. Do you have anything to add to this list? Anything you disagree with? Please feel free to comment below via NERD TREK or Facebook. Thanks for reading!