Some extremely common items people encounter and use in their daily lives are sources of poisonous agents. Here’s a list of 10 common poisons found in your home:
#1 Bisphenol A or BPA
Bisphenol A is found in plastic items like water filters and bottles. It mimics the action of oestrogen and is considered to impact fertility and prostrate, and can lead to insulin resistance, diabetes, and abnormal chromosomes. The dangers from this chemical can be avoided by using glass or stainless steel bottles.
This is a common ingredient found in all sunscreens and other cosmetic products as it dissolves readily in organic solvents and absorbs UV rays. It is absorbed by the skin and is known to cause photoallergic reactions.
A basic element found in nature, fluoride is also present in tap water and toothpaste. Danger lies in swallowing it, as fluoride is considered to be a neurotoxin and tumourigenic.
Paper industry uses chlorine and it is also found in drinking water and household cleaners. In high concentrations or with exposure over time, chlorine can be a highly toxic gas that can cause skin and eye irritation, cough, and sore throat, breathing trouble and fluid accumulation in lungs.
Everyday personal care items like shaving creams, moisturizers and hair products contain synthetic preservatives known as parabens. Though a certain level is safe for use, these are linked to hormonal disturbances and cancer-causing properties in animals.
Phthalate is an artificial chemical found in different types of plastic, cosmetics and vinyl flooring. They are added to increase the shelf life of fragrances and cause plastics to soften. They can be harmful because of their ability to mimic hormones (phthalate has been shown to cause birth defects in animals).
#7 Perfluorooctanoic Acid or PFOA
Almost all non-stick cookware contains PFOA, which has been identified to cause reproductive problems in animal and human case studies. It is best to avoid heating non-stick pans to extremely high temperatures.
#8 Mould and fungal toxin
Mould can be found in certain foods like wheat and corn, and are present as common house pollutant in moist, poorly ventilated areas like the carpet, furniture, etc. Mould produces toxins that can cause respiratory irritations, asthma, heart disease, diabetes and multiple sclerosis.
#9 Heavy metals
Heavy metals like arsenic, lead, aluminium, and mercury can enter human systems through drinking water supply, pesticides, industrial waste, fish, antiperspirant products, etc. and accumulate in the soft tissues. They increase the risk of cancer, neurological ailments, and damage to heart and blood vessels. Lead, for example, can cause brain damage in children, impairing cognitive development.
Different kinds of pesticides like fungicides, insecticides, herbicides and other agriculture-related chemicals are sprayed over growing crops to keep them healthy. However, these remain on the surfaces of the fruits and vegetables and easily make their way into the human food chain. It is important to soak and wash all fruits and vegetables thoroughly before use and remove the top layers of certain foods like cabbage.
“Chemical Contaminants, Metals, Natural Toxins & Pesticides Guidance Documents & Regulations,” FDA.gov, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, http://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/GuidanceDocumentsRegulatoryInformation/ChemicalContaminantsMetalsNaturalToxinsPesticides/default.htm
“Environmental Toxins,” Time.com, http://content.time.com/time/specials/packages/completelist/0,29569,1976909,00.html
“Hidden Household Toxins,” Forbes.com, Rebecca Ruiz, December 3, 2007, http://www.forbes.com/2007/12/03/health-toxins-household-forbeslife-cx_rr_1203health_slide_1.html
Image courtesy of [Stuart Miles] at FreeDigitalPhotos.net