Environmental Hazards: Where Toxins May Be Hiding

Living Room: Where Toxins May Be Hiding

In the past few years we have become hauntingly aware of the fact that environmental hazards can be found all around us. Some of these hazards can come in the form of clearly-labelled poisonous chemicals, harmful toxins and other potentially dangerous substances. Other toxins may be a little less obvious. Either way, both types are capable of causing serious damage and injury. While it may be easy to avoid the obvious or more blatant chemicals and toxins, there are other types that are concealed in every day items and are hiding in plain sight.

Here are some of the products, materials and foods were toxins may be hiding:

Cleaning supplies – I’ve always been a big proponent of natural and homemade cleaning supplies. First of all, I don’t usually like the chemical smell that most of them contain. Second, I don’t like the idea of adding toxins to the place where my family and I live. It doesn’t make sense. Making your own cleaning supplies is of course the best way to go, but when you can’t do that, opt for products void of harmful chemicals and ingredients you can’t pronounce. Take a look at some of these hidden toxins that may be hiding in your cleaning supplies.

Fragranced products – One of my personal pet peeves involves fragranced products. I am extremely sensitive to chemical smells and I would much rather have a fresh, natural smell over a packaged fragrance. These fragrances are not necessarily just bad for your senses, but they contain harmful chemicals that could have an adverse reaction to your health as well.

Carpet, fire-retardants and chemicals in homesCarpeting – Almost every home and office uses some kind of carpet materials. At home it is not uncommon for our families and pets to sit on the carpet, lie down on it, roll around on it and more. But is that really safe? In addition, based on the chemicals often used to treat such products, is it surprising that indoor air pollution has become such a problem as well? To help in the reduction of these types of harmful chemicals the EPA reports they are taking steps to allow restriction of imports of harmful category of chemicals used in carpets. If you opt for natural carpeting cleaning methods it can go a long way.

Vinyl flooring – Most commonly found in commercial buildings and residential housing units, vinyl flooring often contains volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that can be harmful to the human body. VOCs have been shown to cause headaches, difficulties with breathing, rashes and in some cases, cancer. Most people are familiar with the VOCs found in paint products, but it is important to know they are found in other broadly used materials as well.

Fire-retardant materials – For decades parents have been told about the importance of buying fire-retardant pajamas, clothes, blankets, mattress covers and furniture to help protect their children and families from potential fire hazards. Despite clear evidence that these types of toxins are extremely harmful to humans, animals and the environment, fire-retardant chemicals and materials continue to be used. On a more positive note, it seems that progress is being made because the state of California is looking to update its fire code and put an end to toxic flame retardants.

Coffee – I’m not a coffee drinker myself, but my husband is and many other people I know love having a cup of coffee (or two or three) to start their day, or give them a little boost. But are you aware of all the hidden chemicals that are lurking in your coffee?

Pesticides and chemicals on our foodFruits and vegetables – We all know that fruits and vegetables are good for us, right? Well….not so fast. Yes, naturally-grown, organic fruits and vegetables are good for us, but when you add in the various pesticides, fertilizers and other chemicals that are sprayed on most of the fruits and vegetables you find in your local grocery store, all bets are off. Reports have clearly shown the harmful effects these types of toxins can have on the human body and the environment. Here are a few reasons it is important to minimize the use of pesticides and fertilizers.

Water – The average adult is 50-65% water and children’s levels are even greater. We are told to consume at least 8 glasses of water a day in order to keep ourselves hydrated, but what we aren’t told is what kind of water we should drink. Not all water is the same. Some water contains harmful chemicals that could do more harm than good. Are you aware of these 7 gnarly chemicals found in your drinking water?

I could go on and on here as there are many other foods and products we consume or use every day that may have toxins hiding in them. The trick is to know where to look. Take a look at this trailer about the unacceptable levels of chemicals in our bodies and how they all got there.

Eye-opening, isn’t it? Now, I understand it may be easier to go about your life attempting to ignore the environmental hazards and toxins hiding all around you, but isn’t it better for you and those you love to make yourself more aware of the problem at hand? Trust me, each step and every action you take will make a noticeable difference in your life.

Living room image by Mike Fisher, family and pets at home image by Thomas Lillis IV, and pesticides on our food image by thenext28days. All via Flickr Creative Commons.

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