Not to be overdramatic, but lately, I’ve been feeling like everything out there has been designed to harm us in some way. (Ok, maybe I’ve just been watching too many conspiracy theory videos…)
It’s shocking to me how many everyday objects we use daily that are absolutely covered in chemicals and harmful substances. Things I never would have even thought of.
And by using these things daily, without a second thought, we’re actually exposing ourselves to dangerous chemicals. And who wants that?
I don’t think we should be walking around afraid of things like our shower curtains (I’ll get to that) but I do think that we need to be educated and aware of the things in our homes with potential to harm us.
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So here are the 10 most toxic things in your home:
1. Plastic –
You’re probably thinking “duh” everyone’s heard this one before. But let me explain.
There are different kinds of plastic all with different levels of toxicity. And while I believe we should be avoiding plastic for the sake of the planet, I’m telling you to avoid these kinds for the sake of your health.
PET or PETE is found in things like water bottles, juice bottles, mouthwash and even jam jars (the plastic ones). This type of plastic is known to leach phthalates and antimony trioxide which is known to cause cancer, mensuration and pregnancy issues.
PVC is found in things like toys, plastic packaging, squeeze bottles and binders. This chemical is known to leach into the air over time and poison it. Making it especially worrisome for children considering most plastic toys contain it.
BPA (probably the most known) is considered the most toxic form of plastic. It’s found in water bottles, baby bottles, medical equipment and is even used in the coating of canned foods. It can cause asthma, allergies, cancer, and ADHD. It’s especially dangerous if burned.
Now, this all sounds terrifying. But you can cut your exposure to these things by being careful with what you buy. I’ve come to learn that there is a safe alternative to everything.
Reusable water bottles, juice in glass jars, homemade mouthwash, PVC free binders, toys made from wood and soft materials. Even just checking the packaging on things before you buy them to make sure they’re BPA free, etc.
2. Non-Stick Pans –
Ever wonder what makes them non stick? It’s the layers upon layers of chemical coating they have. When they’re heated they can actually release those harmful chemical and toxic gasses into the air. So not only does your food touch it but you’re also breathing it in.
The best alternative would be a cast-iron skillet.
3. Artificial fragrances –
From candles to room sprays to air fresheners. Artificial fragrances are always a bad idea. Not only do they cause short term problems like headaches, allergies or respiratory problems but they can also give long term problems. Such as cancer, birth defects, and asthma. They also have a huge environmental toll as well.
It’s best to stay clear of these fragrances all together by purchasing natural candles, making your own room spray or even using a diffuser to freshen the air.
There are countless ways to make your home smell nice without the added dangers.
4. Fabric softener –
Fabric softener also includes artificial fragrances but on top of that, it coats your clothes in chemicals that are known to be skin irritants and cause headaches and breathing problems.
An easy solution would be to make your own or find an all-natural brand.
5. Cleaning products –
I don’t think I need to go into too much detail with this one. But any product that has a skull printed on it or that could melt my skin or burst into flames is not a product I want to have in my house, let alone clean my everyday products with.
By using these products, not only are you coating your house in these harmful chemicals but you’re also breathing them in. Lots of them are even a danger to come in contact with your skin.
Opt for natural, toxin-free brands as well as make your own! It’s so much nicer to know and trust the ingredients going into these products.
6. Shower curtains –
I told you I’d get to it. This is probably the most shocking thing on this list. I mean who even looks at a shower curtain and thinks about it being toxic? But chances are, the shower curtain you’re currently using is chalked full of chemicals.
If your shower curtain or shower curtain liner is made from vinyl with PVC then the answer is yes, it is toxic. Like I mentioned in number 1, PVC is a toxic form of plastic with lots of bad side effects.
That “new plastic” smell you get from a new shower curtain is actually built up chemicals leaching into the air that you breathe.
These same chemicals are also released when the shower curtain is heated up meaning that every time you take a shower, chemicals are being released into the air.
The solution is to not purchase a shower curtain unless you’re sure it does not contain PVC. Vinyl or not.
7. Cosmetics –
If there is noone who uses cosmetics in your home then you can just skip this one. But chances are you or someone in your home does own some form of cosmetics and is using them daily.
To learn all about the toxins and chemicals in cosmetics you can read my post about it here.
But long story short, you’re smearing chemicals on your skin, also known as your largest organ. It only takes a few minutes for these products to absorb into your skin and into your bloodstream.
Don’t you fret, there are a thousand and one chemical-free beauty brands out there. Check out my favorites here.
8. Antiperspirants –
Nobody likes to be smelly but I for one also don’t like chemicals in my armpits. Chemicals that have been linked to things such as breast cancer and skin irritations.
Aluminum and Parabens are the two most common chemicals found in commercial deodorants. Aluminum is the anti-sweat ingredient that actually clogs your pores and traps the sweat inside your body which is actually pretty dangerous.
You can read all about the dangers and my favorite alternatives here.
8. Sunscreen –
I won’t go into too much detail on this one because a have a whole post on this subject that is really worth the read.
Just the gist of it is that most sunscreens are chalked full of chemicals that soak right into your bloodstream and has been known to cause an array of thyroid problems and hormone imbalances.
The scary thing is, everyone has it in their homes and applies it all summer long without a second thought.
Opting for a chemical-free sunscreen that doesn’t contain oxybenzone, octisalate, or homosalate is best.
10. Aluminum foil –
Basically wrapping hot food in the foil or using it to bake isn’t all that safe after all. Think about it. Your food is coming in direct contact with this form of metal cause food contaminations. And at certain temperatures, this will cause the aluminum to leach into the food.
According to sciencing the increase of aluminum foil in our everyday lives has been linked to the rising numbers of male infertility.
It’s also been known to cause things like Alzheimer’s and loss of coordination.
It’s best to cut your exposure to the foil and use glass containers for food storage and cedar wraps for baking and grilling.
This post isn’t meant to be a scary post or a post to make you worry. It’s a post to shed some light and to take a closer look at the things we use, eat, apply every day. But these are my picks for the 10 most toxic things in your home. They’re toxic without us even realizing it.
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Sandy Brown says
If we should not buy shower curtains or liners than how do we take showers? I really like reading what you have to say but sometimes I get a little lost on what we should do. I am trying your ideas because they do sound wise but I am very new to the chemical free world. I know the chemicals are killing us because I already have kidney and liver damage as well as lung and I never smoked. Please help me figure out the chemical free items. Thank you!
Caity Rose says
You can still buy a shower curtain and liner! Just try to find one that is PVC free. They’re a lot more common than you think and you should be able to find them at Walmart, Target or on Amazon! I hope that helps. I know it can feel overwhelming but you’re doing a great job taking care of your health! You got this!