How your home can harm you
You probably know lead and asbestos are dangerous substances that can turn up in homes, but you might not know that other chemicals inside our houses, both natural and man-made, can make you sick. These substances can foul your air, water, food, and even the products you use to clean. Some symptoms of sick building syndrome can include irritated eyes, nose, throat, or skin, breathing trouble fatigue, and confusion; building-related illness may include long-term problems like asthma and allergies. And then there are the chemicals that disrupt hormones or jumpstart cancer. Here are some things you can do that to make your house healthier and reduce your risks.
You have toxic dust
The dust in hard-to-reach corners or settled atop your furniture can do more than cause a sneezing fit, it can actually be toxic. Researchers from George Washington University analyzed dust samples data from across America and found 45 potentially toxic chemicals hiding within, ten of which turned up in 90 percent of the samples. One repeat offender was TDCIPP, a flame retardant frequently found in furniture and other household items that is thought to cause cancer; phthalates, often found in toys and vinyl flooring, as well as phenols, typically used in cleaning products, were also found in high amounts. Minimize dust by vacuuming frequently (use the proper attachments to reach into corners and under furniture) and regularly wiping down surfaces. Check out these other 15 hidden home dangers you should never ignore.
You’re addicted to air fresheners
If you’re obsessed with keeping your house smelling fresh, you could be affecting your health. Scented candles, oil diffusers, plugin fresheners, and scented sprays may contain phthalates, chemicals that may disrupt the endocrine system by interfering with hormones. “Phthalates can act as a synthetic hormone inside the body. When we have synthetic chemicals that interfere with natural processes, we start worrying about health issues,” says Lara Adler, an environmental toxins expert and certified holistic health coach in Portland, Oregon. Safely freshen your home by using natural essential oils, buying flowers, or simply opening the windows. Just watch out for these signs your backyard is secretly toxic.