Tuesday, December 23, 2008

10 Poisons at Home

10. Mothballs

Mothballs emit one of the most unpleasant household scents. As they convert from a solid to a gas, you do not want to inhale too much of it. Studies on one active ingredient, paradichlorobenzene, found that it can cause cancer in animals [source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency]. Other types of mothballs use naphthalene, which after prolonged exposure can destroy red blood cells. The chemical can also stimulate nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

If you must use them, put them in a sealed container in an area with separate ventilation from the rest of your house. Wash any clothing that has been stored with them before wearing it since the vapors will have absorbed into the fibers. For a safer, natural alternative, cedar chips should work as well.

9. Pesticides

Pesticide is a broad term that includes insecticides, fungicides, disinfectants etc. In 2006, the American Association of Poison Control Centers received nearly 46,000 calls regarding children under 5 years old who had been exposed to potentially toxic levels of pesticides.

Be sure to ventilate any enclosed spaces after applying a pesticide. If hiring a pest control service, ask them to review the chemicals before they spray.

Better bet is to keep the house clean and make it unattractive for the pests to visit!

8. Pressed Wood Products

Pressed wood products include particle board, fiberboard and insulation. They are like the hotdog of timber products, taking bits and pieces of logs and combining them together.

However, the glue that holds them can cause a sticky situation. Some use urea-formaldehyde as a resin. Formaldehyde exposure can be dangerous, possibly setting off watery eyes, burning eyes and throat, difficulty breathing and asthma attacks. Scientists also know that it can cause cancer in animals, which leaves open a possibility for the same in humans.

Because of construction materials and smaller spaces, trailers and prefab homes often give off higher levels of formaldehyde emissions.

7. Chemicals in Carpet

Carpeting has come under greater scrutiny because of the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) associated with new carpet installation. Although it is not inherently dangerous, people have reported health problems associated with it.

The glue and dyes used with carpeting are known to emit VOCs. However, the initial VOC emissions will subside after the first few days of installation. To be on the safe side, request your retailer to unroll the carpet and air it out a couple of days before bringing it in your home. You should also keep the newly carpeted area well ventilated during installation to minimize VOC build up.
Better bet is to stay carpet free!

6. Laser Printers Chemicals

A 2007 study from the Queensland University of Technology in Australia found that some laser printers give off ultra fine particles that could cause serious health problems. Another study from the National Institute of Public Health also confirmed that laser and ink-jet printers can release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and ozone particulates.

Tests have shown that concentrations of the released particles return to normal levels after a couple of minutes. The emissions varied with the type of printer, its age and toner cartridge.

If you are sitting next to a printer while reading this, stop breathing!

5. Lead Paint

In 1991, U.S. declared lead to be the greatest environmental threat to children. Even low concentrations can cause problems with central nervous system, brain, blood cells and kidneys. It is particularly threatening for fetuses, babies and children because of potential developmental disorders.

The intact paint on a surface won't kill. Only when the paint begins to peel away, it releases the harmful lead particles that you can inhale. For that reason, do not try to remove lead-based paint because that will liberate the toxic metal. Leave it to a professional instead.

This paint set off the widespread recalls of toys from China in late 2007. Retailers feared that children could ingest the paint, possibly contributing to brain damage.

4. Air Fresheners and Cleaning Solutions

Air fresheners and cleaning solutions freshen and sanitize our indoor habitats. However, a study by University of California found that when used excessively or in a small, unventilated area, these products release toxic levels of pollutants. This comes from two main chemicals called ethylene-based glycol ethers and terpenes.
Air fresheners are linked to many volatile organic compounds, such as nitrogen dioxide. Some fresheners also contain paradichlorobenzene, the same chemical in mothballs.

Cleaning your bathroom shouldn't make you sick, but you must keep air circulating through the area as a precaution.

3. Baby Bottles

Canada has taken the first steps to outlaw the sale of baby bottles made from polycarbonate plastics, which are the most common type on the market. The plastics are made with a chemical called bisphenol-a (BPA). When heated, these types of baby bottles can release BPA.

What is wrong with a little BPA mixed in with a baby's formula? BPA has a structure very similar to estrogen and for that reason is referred to as a "hormone disruptor." Hormone disruptor can interfere with the natural human hormones, especially for young children.

Other common products containing BPA include refillable plastic bottles, compact discs and some plastic eating utensils.

2. Flame Retardants

Commonly used in mattresses, upholstery, television and computer casings and circuit boards, flame retardants have likely saved many lives by preventing unexpected fires. However, science has revealed a darker side to these chemical superheroes, called polybrominated diphenyl ethers, or PBDEs, found in a variety of consumer plastics.

Studies have linked PBDEs to learning and memory problems, lowered sperm counts and poor thyroid functioning in mice. People can inhale them through air and dust or ingest it by eating animal products that contain it.

1. Cosmetic Phthalates

Phthalates, also called plasticizers, go into many products dotted around your bathroom and vanity, including hair spray, shampoos, fragrances, deodorants.

Why worry about this chemical additive? Like BPA mentioned earlier, these hormone-like chemicals are linked to reproductive and developmental problems in animals. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recognizes a potential for lowered sperm count in boys and premature breast development in girls.

Chemicals rule our lives, no doubt about it. The more we consume, the more we will behave erratically and be paranoid! Perhaps make it as part of our New Year resolution to cut down on excessive consumption! Toward a healthier lifestyle!

1 comment:

Razali Razman said...

Thanx for the info bro...