Often, your friends will tell you that they are making their home chemical-free. Now, they make it sound like an awful lot of hard work. The good news is that you do not have to make your own deodorant, get rid of disposable diapers, ban plastic cups, and switch to glass. However, we are here to tell you about five chemicals and additives that need to be avoided in your family’s home.
This article does not suggest that you repaint your entire home or buy new furniture to eliminate VOCs, PBDEs, and PFCs. Instead, it will focus on more achievable goals. Most commonly used products in the home are loaded with harmful chemicals that need to be recognized and eliminated if you want to create a toxic chemical-free environment.
Facts About Chemicals And Additives
- Even though 62,000 chemicals have been approved for use in the United States, a mere 300 have been tested for safety. That is why the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are in the process of monitoring 298 environmental chemicals that have been discovered in the human body. Many of these chemicals are present in products that are commonly being used in your home.
- The United States has a more relaxed approach to toxic chemical regulation. While only eight cosmetic ingredients have been banned in the US, over 1,000 have been banned in the EU.
- The law does not require manufacturers to be transparent about their ingredient list when it comes to household products.
- The term “fragrance” is often used to disguise many harmful ingredients present in the product.
- The term “natural” does not exist in the standard federal criteria. This means that “natural” products may be as harmful as synthetic products, but you’ll never find out since there is no check and balance.
Below you will find the top five additives and chemicals that should be avoided in your home.
Most people think that just because they do not have asthma or any allergies can use fragranced products in their homes. However, this is absolutely false. Fragranced chemicals have the ability to pass through the human skin and enter the bloodstream. Petroleum and coal tar are commonly used when manufacturing these products and are known as carcinogens, hormone disruptors, neurotoxins, skin, and respiratory irritants.
Unfortunately, since the term “fragrance” is usually used to hide multiple ingredients, there is no way to know the ingredients used to form it. You’d be surprised to know that sometimes, 100 different chemicals have been used to make a single fragrance. Since the fragrance industry is mostly self-regulated, there are no safety tests conducted by regulatory agencies. Fragrances often fall under the category of “trade secrets,” meaning that manufacturers are under no obligation to disclose the ingredients used to form a fragrance.
If you find a product that mentions the words “fragrance” or “perfume” on the ingredient list, do not buy it. Moreover, make sure always to check the ingredient list. Do not be fooled by terms such as “fragrance-free,” “unscented,” and “natural fragrance.” The truth is that there are no standard criteria under which the word “natural fragrance” falls. Going fragrance-free is one of the first steps that you can take to make your home toxic chemical-free.
Phthalates are usually used in fragrances to ensure that they last longer, which is why you should completely boycott fragrances! Even though phthalates have been associated with some health concerns, such as reproductive issues and development issues in unborn babies and respiratory issues and asthma, their use is not regulated.
According to a report by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), phthalates have been found in most Americans’ blood, especially in women. Phthalates can also be found in some plastics, so it is vital to avoid recycling codes 3, 6, and 7.
Synthetic preservatives are loaded in many self-care products, including baby washes and shampoos. According to the CDC, they are present in the blood of most Americans. Parabens have been linked to multiple health risks, such as cancer, endocrine disruption, reproductive toxicity, neurotoxicity, and skin irritation.
When looking at the label of a product, avoid buying anything with an ingredient that ends with “paraben.”
4. Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
VOCs are toxic chemicals that can be avoided if you opt for fragrance-free products. VOCs have been linked to asthma, cancer, and liver and kidney damage. They are found in abundance in household items, such as scented petroleum-based laundry detergents, cleaners, disinfectants, air fresheners, and self-care products. Once again, no formal laws require this chemical to be listed on the ingredient lists of products.
A study conducted found that 133 VOCs were present in 25 different household items. Out of these 133 VOCs, only 1 (ethanol) was listed on the ingredient list. Hence, it is important to avoid buying any cleaner or deodorizer that contains fragrance. Instead, opt for non-toxic items that use salt, water, and vinegar to clean and bleach.
5. BPA and BPS
When trying to establish a chemical-free home, BPA must be avoided like the plague. You will find Bisphenol-A, termed as Bisphenol-S, in many products. To stay safe, both must be avoided. BPA and BPS can be found in baby teether and sippy cups as well. A study conducted shows that 93% of all Americans have BPA in their urine samples.
If you want to avoid these chemicals and additives, it is important to:
- Opt for food packages in glass instead of canned food.
- Always choose glass or safe plastic containers. Remember, recycling codes 1, 2, 4, and 5 are safe. The rest must be avoided.
- Choose stainless steel water bottles over plastic.
Going chemical-free is not an easy task, especially since it requires to revamp your entire home products. However, we promise that you will get used to looking at labels before purchasing a product, and within no time, you will have all the knowledge of which chemicals are harmful and have no place in your home! Start today to make your home a better place for your family and future generations.