Reduce Cancer Risk: Eliminate Chemical Carcinogens from Your Home

Reduce your family’s cancer risk by learning about—and eliminating—chemical carcinogens commonly found in our homes.

| May/June 2013

  • Commercial cleaning products are often filled with hazardous chemicals. Instead, use natural cleaners made of safe ingredients.
    Photo By iStock
  • Room & Board ( offers many American-made furnishings made of responsibly sourced materials. Pictured here: Odin Leather Sofa; Boden Chair and Ottoman in Vick Fabric; Michigan-made Herman Miller Collection Nelson Bench; and handwoven, 100 percent wool Bokila Rug.
    Photo Courtesy Room & Board

All of us would like to live in a clean, healthy environment without having to worry about exposure to toxic chemicals. But the sad truth is that most of us are exposed to such toxins on a daily basis—and often within our own homes. 

A surprising number of chemicals commonly found in our homes is associated with serious health risks, including an increased risk of developing cancer. Some of these substances are frustratingly hard to get rid of, while others are relatively easy to banish from our homes once we know they’re there. Here’s a brief guide to getting some of the major offenders out of the house and making your home a healthier place.

Clear Indoor Air Pollution

Indoor air pollution can be a real problem—many common pollutants contribute to the risk of developing cancer, particularly lung cancer. However, many of these common concerns are also relatively easy to identify and eliminate or neutralize. You can find more information on all the indoor air quality issues below by visiting the EPA’s Indoor Air Subject Index.

No Smoking. Don’t overlook the obvious: Tobacco smoke—the leading cause of lung cancer—is a carcinogen, as is secondhand smoke. If someone in your home smokes, ask them to take it outside.

Test for Radon. Radon, a naturally occurring radioactive gas that sometimes accumulates in homes, is the second leading cause of lung cancer. Fortunately, it’s relatively simple and inexpensive to test for radon using DIY kits available online or at the hardware store, and if you discover your home has a problem, it’s not difficult to fix.

Inspect and Repair Heating Equipment. While it often flies under the radar, faulty or improperly installed heating equipment can cause all kinds of problems. The leading concern is carbon monoxide leakage, but we also want to avoid breathing particulates, which can contain radon or benzopyrene, both carcinogens. Problems with combustion gases and particles can be caused by anything that burns wood or fossil fuels, including furnaces, woodstoves and fireplaces. Experts recommend having heating systems serviced annually by a professional to keep them operating safely and efficiently. A thorough energy audit will also address issues with combustion safety.

5/24/2013 1:43:01 AM

I have tried to PIN this article and I can't get it to go through.  It always says there is a problem. Whoops!  I am just letting you know so you can fix it.  Thanks and hoping you solve this issue.




October 19-20, 2019
Topeka, Kansas

Join us in the heart of the Midwest to explore ways to save money and live efficiently. This two-day event includes hands-on workshops and a marketplace featuring the latest homesteading products.


Subscribe today and save 58%

Subscribe to Mother Earth Living !

Mother Earth LivingWelcome to Mother Earth Living, the authority on green lifestyle and design. Each issue of Mother Earth Living features advice to create naturally healthy and nontoxic homes for yourself and your loved ones. With Mother Earth Living by your side, you’ll discover all the best and latest information you want on choosing natural remedies and practicing preventive medicine; cooking with a nutritious and whole-food focus; creating a nontoxic home; and gardening for food, wellness and enjoyment. Subscribe to Mother Earth Living today to get inspired on the art of living wisely and living well.

Save Money & a Few Trees!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. You’ll save an additional $5 and get six issues of Mother Earth Living for just $19.95! (Offer valid only in the U.S.)

Or, choose Bill Me and pay just $24.95.

Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter

Free Product Information Classifieds

click me