Our Newsletter: May, 2013
Is your home and often used items inside making you sick or worse?
Considering all new homes in Florida, about 60,000 of them contain Chinese drywall. This Chinese drywall has been shown to give off unsafe levels of sulfur and other harmful chemicals which are corrosive to copper, so copper wires on appliances that you have in the home including stoves, refrigerators, air conditioners are subject to this corrosion. Have a qualified home inspector inspect/check for Chinese drywall and have it removed as soon as possible.
Home cleaning products
Most home cleaning products contain harmful ingredients including: lye, chlorine, ammonia, and phosphates.
The standard home cleaners that many homes have contain toxic ethylene glycol, and non-toxic terpens which become dangerous when they intermingle with the ozone in common household air. So make sure you have sufficient ventilation when using common household cleaning products.
Home candles contain a vast array of chemicals (over 20) and chemical fragrances that are on the EPA's list of VOC's or Volatile Organic compounds that can cause headaches, shortness of breath, nausea and dizziness, besides exacerbating other common afflictions a home dweller might have. Use natural fragrances like cinnamon or mint.
Dryer sheets are those innocuous little sheets that soften cloths, reduce static cling and smell great but contain inordinate amounts of harmful chemicals like chloroform and ethanol. One of the main ingredients is benzyl acetate which has been directly linked to pancreatic cancer. Another harmful chemical in dryer sheets is benzyl alcohol which is known to cause upper respiratory irritation. Another ingredient in a dyrer sheet is limonene; when it reacts with ozone in the air it forms formaldehyde, a known carcinogen, or cancer causing chemical.
Infant feeding bottles
Infant feeding bottles and other reusable hard plastic bottles and flatware are made from or contain high levels of polycarbonate plastic. (BPA's) When heated or even washed in hot water, they give of bisphenol-a, or BPA. This chemical is a hormone disrupter that will mimic estrogen and has been tied to neurological and developmental issues for children.
Trying to determine if plastics you have or are using are safe can be a daunting task. Polycarbonate is not safe, where polyethylene is. Bisphenol-a (BPA) is not safe, but polypropylene is safe. BPA is found is most all baby bottles and is a very dangerous hormone disrupter when heated as it gives off BPA's.
Color dyes in plain household soap and also in ready-made frosting have been linked to increased hyperactivity in children. Everything you touch or put on your skin goes straight into your bloodstream. Avoid perfumed laced and chemical laden, soaps, moisturizers and lotions.
Look out for yellow #5, is a chemical that never should be applied to the skin or ingested.
Those super-strength super glues and adhesives have been tied to increased sensitization and prolonged exposure leads to allergies and asthma. Superglue and other super-strength adhesives induce sensitization. Exposure can start with allergies and lead to asthma.
Carpet. A nasty carrier of many substances not good for you or your family. Carpets contain adhesives, flame retardants, along with chemicals that give you that "new carpet smell", a veritable smorgasbord of hazardous chemicals. All together these chemicals cause headaches, nausea, respiratory and nervous system damage and can cause the onset of allergies. If you do get new carpeting, let it "air out" for several days.
Most foam cup containers are made of polystyrene, a chemical that can seep into your food and also your tea or coffee. Styrene causes skin and eye irritation, respiratory irritation, depression, fatigue and decreased kidney function. Another serious malady caused by this chemical is central nervous damage.
Wood Paneling products
Particle board, plywood, fiberboard, paneling and also insulation can emit formaldehyde which the EPA calls a probable human carcinogen. Most of these materials do contain urea formaldehyde in the adhesive used in their manufacture. The EPA states that this chemical is the highest indoor source of formaldehyde that results in asthma attacks and other serious upper respiratory irritation, burning of the eyes, nose, and throat.
Regular household bleach contains concentrated chlorine. When cleaning with bleach some users often use an acid-based or ammonia based cleaning product after the bleach, which causes cloramine gas that can be fatal. Short term effects of this type of exposure are vomiting, coughing, difficulty breathing, eye, ear, nose, and throat irritation.
Flame retardants used in upholstered furniture, mattresses and some electronic gear has saved some lives, with a huge trade-off. The polybrominated diphenyl ethers or PBDE's have caused a torrent of health issues. Things like learning disabilities in lab rats and mice, slowing their thyroid function and abbreviated their neurological development. The effects of PBDE's on humans have not been proven, yet.
Laser and Ink-jet printers
Both Laser and Ink-jet printers certainly have made our lives easier. Recent studies indicate they also release VOC's (Volatile Organic Chemicals) emissions as well as ozone particulates which have been linked to heart and lung disease when inhaled. The exposure rates within a home have not been effectively researched.
One single fragrance contains several hundred chemicals. Most fragrances and beauty and personal care products contain synthetic chemicals called phthalates, commonly known as plasticizers. These are molecules that are absorbed into and through the skin and have shown to cause birth defects in male genitalia, and may cause lowered sperm count in young males and premature breast development in young females.
Nonstick and stain-resistant coatings, used on everything from your favorite sauté pan to suede products, include perfluorinated acids (PFAs). Though their toxicity and issues in humans are still unproven, in animals however, PFAs caused serious birth defects, thyroid hormone abnormalities, and moderate to severe liver damage.
"Read the warning labels, read the ingredient labels, get to know the harmful chemicals and compounds and other ingredients in both food and commercially available products, before you bring them into your home" says Rich Patrick of LazrWeb Services.
No one expects consumers to be experts in all these ingredients, chemicals and compounds, however, you should get to know what is in your food, and what harmful, or potentially harmful items are in the items you bring into your home, use or consume. Realize that strange sounding chemicals or compounds are usually known carcinogens. Consider those products that disclose their ingredients and do not hide or show the ingredients in small hard-to-read fonts.
Mr. Patrick also warns: "Any product label that states: 'use only in a well ventilated area or room' are a dead giveaway, so steer clear of these and find alternative products."
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