10 Dangerous Chemicals to Ban from Your Home

Learn how to minimize 10 of the most dangerous chemicals in your home.

| July/August 2011

  • Many personal-care products contain a host of chemicals. Avoid those with “fragrance” or “-paraben” listed in the ingredients.

We are surrounded by human-made chemicals—more than 80,000 are in use in the United States today. Of those, only a few hundred have been tested for safety. Chemicals are so ubiquitous, they reach us before we’re even born: Researchers have found up to 300 contaminants in the umbilical cord blood of newborn babies.

Experts suspect this cocktail of chemicals in our water, food, air and homes may be part of the cause of the rising rates of some cancers, autism, diabetes and obesity. Young children, pregnant women and people with compromised immune systems are most at risk. While it may seem overwhelming to get control of our world’s rampant, potentially harmful chemicals, cleaning up the chemicals in your life is easier if you take it step by step. You can get started by reducing the quantity of these 10 chemicals in your house and yard.

1. Phthalates 

Phthalates are endocrine-disrupting chemicals used to make #3 plastic (PVC or vinyl) flexible. PVC leaches phthalates when it’s heated or worn down. Phthalates are found in personal-care products and detergents, often labeled as “fragrance.” Phthalate exposure has been linked to early puberty in girls, a risk factor for later breast cancer.

To minimize: Never microwave plastic containers. Store food in glass or metal containers. Avoid vinyl flooring, shower curtains, PVC pipes, and products with “fragrance.”

2. BPA 

7/31/2014 1:39:40 PM

An additional word of warning: Formaldehyde is found in wrinkle-free and resistant clothing and sheets. I once contacted customer service at a major "casual" clothing retailer who sells wrinkle-free shirts and they told me that they would advise anyone with "sensitivities" should avoid their wrinkle-free shirts.

7/31/2014 9:39:25 AM

#7 lists glyphosate but never tells you it is an herbicide. It mentions pesticides and fertilizers but doesn't mention herbicides. most people don't know what glyphosate is. It is the chemical in "Round Up" and any of the copies of "Round Up"

7/31/2014 8:02:38 AM

thank you for providing this information, I know most of it to be true as I worked for an environmental company for 7 1/2 years. I will take this to heart. again, thank you for providing this information.

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