12 Common Bedroom Items That Are Secretly Toxic
If you’re not careful, the room that should foster sweet dreams could become a waking nightmare. Don’t miss these surprising dangers that may be lurking in your bedroom—and wreaking havoc on your health.
When something burns, you breathe in the smoke and particulate matter that it releases. This may be particularly problematic with scented candles, where you’re likely adding VOCs and other chemicals to the mix. “Several toxic chemicals and airborne particles from [scented candles and other fragranced products] have been linked to adverse health effects, such as respiratory issues, migraine headaches, and contact dermatitis,” says McElroy. “Avoiding exposure to these toxins by not using items that emit fragrances is the best solution. Well-ventilated areas will also reduce the exposure: The old-fashioned solution of airing out the room by opening windows does help.”
Cleaning is obviously a good thing, but the chemicals that we clean with may not be. Many common cleaning products contain a variety of chemicals, including VOCs, as well as fragrances. Chlorine bleach and ammonia, for example, can release chemicals into the air that can aggravate allergies and asthma. The American Lung Association also warns that those two items should never be mixed since they can create gases that can cause chronic breathing problems and even death. Button suggests using products made with plant-based or natural ingredients, noting that it isn’t necessary to use heavy-duty chemical-based cleaners for everyday cleaning. “And never underestimate the simple cleaning power of soap and water,” she adds. “It’s what we use to wash germs off our hands, and it does the same for items in the home, such as floors, toilets, and countertops.” You’ll definitely want to know about these 13 toxic cleaning products—and what to buy instead.
While the dust on top of your dresser and the dust bunnies underneath it aren’t bedroom items, per se, they can take up semi-permanent residence in your room. According to a study published in Environmental Science & Technology in 2016, researchers found 45 toxic chemicals in house dust—ten of which are in 90 percent of homes across the United States. Two the most common were phthalates and flame retardants, and all of the chemicals generally came from common items such as flooring and carpets, blinds, fragrances, treatments for upholstery and clothes, and personal-care products. While this can pose a danger to anyone, young children are at the most risk since they crawl on the floor, touching everything and then touching their mouths. Instead of simply dusting, try using a vacuum with a HEPA filter, and remember to wash your kids’ hands regularly, even when at home—and your own as well. Of course, your bedroom isn’t the only potentially problematic room in your house—check out these 15 common kitchen items that are secretly toxic.