In cartoons, poisons are always easy to spot. If it’s been a while since you watched Looney Toons, I’ll help you out: they’re in the dark bottles with skull-and-crossbones labels. Often, they create a little green cloud when poured. There is no confusion with an image like that.
Unfortunately, the toxins in our own home are not so easy to spot. From the kitchen to the garden, bedroom to the bathroom, there are potentially dangerous items lurking. The only way to protect yourself is to know where these chemicals like to hide. Look out for these 10 potentially dangerous households products.
1. Non-stick cookware: Teflon pans are easy to clean but the polytetrafluoroethylene, or PTFE, can release gasses when heated that have been linked to cancer, organ failure, and reproductive damage.
2. Plastic Bottles: Innocent looking plastic bottles may contain BPA, a chemical that we now know is damaging to the endocrine system. Plastic bottles that have been heated release even more chemicals, so keep them out of the sun and microwave.
3. Cleaning Supplies: Conventional cleaning supplies are loaded with a huge range of toxins and dangerous chemicals. The best way to avoid these nasties is to choose green cleaning supplies.
4. Chemical Insecticides and Herbicides: Insecticides and herbicides are designed to kill things and the chemicals that make them effective pose a threat to humans as well.
5. Antibacterial Products: Hold on, aren’t antibacterial products intended to keep us healthier? They are indeed, but the widespread use of antibacterial products is spawning new strains of super-bugs that are resistant to standard treatment.
6. Chemical Fertilizers: Fertilizers help keep your lawn thick and green, but when it rains, these chemicals rush into the water supply causing agal blooms and other problems.
7. Compact Fluorescent Bulbs: CFL bulbs are excellent energy savers but they harbor a dangerous secret: mercury. Take caution when handling these bulbs, especially if they break.
8. Air Fresheners: Even if they are labeled “pure” or “natural,” air fresheners can emit toxins that have been linked to ailments such as asthma.
9. Flame Retardants: Commonly found in mattresses, flame retardants have been linked to liver, thyroid, and neuro-developmental toxicity.
10. Plastic Shopping Bags: Everyone has a drawer or cupboard filled with plastic grocery bags, but what happens when these seemingly disposable items get thrown away? It turns out nothing happens to them. Plastic shopping bags will last nearly forever and are a huge contributor to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.
This long list is frightening to scroll through and raises a single question: How do we keep these toxins out of our homes? For the answer, check out Sustain Lane’s excellent article “10 Dangerous Household Products You Should Never Use Again” at AlterNet.
Original article posted on Planet Green
Planet Green is the multi-platform media destination devoted to the environment and dedicated to helping people understand how humans impact the planet and how to live a more environmentally sustainable lifestyle. Its two robust websites, planetgreen.com and TreeHugger.com, offer original, inspiring, and entertaining content related to how we can evolve to live a better, brighter future. Planet Green is a division of Discovery Communications.
By David DeFranza, Planet Green