It seems that harmful chemicals are everywhere. Industries have been fined for dumping them into the water supply. The dangers of pesticides used in farming have been widely publicized.
And improper disposal of certain materials has caused hazards in landfills. But did you know that most of us can find multiple dangerous chemicals right in our own homes?
We’ve all heard about the precautions we should take to keep young children from ingesting household cleaners and other chemical compounds. But swallowing them isn’t the only way that we can experience adverse effects from harmful chemicals.
Simply coming into contact with certain harmful chemicals can pose a danger. While one isolated exposure is unlikely to cause harm, many exposures over the course of years or decades of exposure to Toxic Chemicals can cause health problems.
Here are some harmful chemicals we are often exposed to and where they are found:
* Acetone – This is found in many brands of nail polish remover. Inhalation can irritate the nose, throat and lungs, and cause headaches, increased pulse rate, and in severe cases, a coma. Long-term effects may include kidney, liver and nerve damage and metabolic changes.
* Alkylphenol Ethoxylates (APEs) – These chemicals are found in many different types of household cleaner. They are believed to be endocrine disruptors, which means that they mimic natural human hormones. Long-term effects may include infertility, decreased immune function, ADHD and cancer.
* Benzene – Benzene is found in a wide range of products, from shampoos to pesticides. Effects of inhalation include headache, increased heart rate, tremors, unconsciousness, and possibly death. This chemical has also been linked to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
* BHA and BHT – These are two preservatives that are found in canned foods and some body products. They have been banned in some countries because they have been found to cause cancer, but are still legal in the United States.
* Formaldehyde – Formaldehyde is found in many cleaning, nail care, bath and hair products, even though it is a carcinogen and neurotoxin. It may cause spasms, edema, chemical pneumonitis and damage to mucous membranes.
* Hydroquinone – This chemical is found in hair dye and skin lightening products. It is toxic and can change the skin’s structure, making the user more susceptible to skin cancer.
* Phthlates – These are found in plastic products, perfumes, air fresheners and moisturizers. They have been linked to hormonal problems, thyroid disorders, birth defects and reproductive problems.
* Tolulene – Tolulene is found in nail polish, as well as many cleaning products. It is a respiratory irritant, and it can cause hallucinations, liver and kidney damage, bone marrow changes, and cancer.
These are just a few of the dangerous and harmful chemicals that many of us are exposed to on a daily basis in our own homes. While it is nearly impossible to eliminate all exposure to such substances, we can reduce our risk of exposure to harmful chemicals by reading labels and choosing natural products when possible.
Minimizing the use of harmful chemicals can improve our health in both the short and long term.
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