Here are five of those chemicals that may be hiding in your own home. Take precautions by reading labels, and do away with any products with chemicals that are unsafe to you and your family.
- Bisphenol A (BPA)
BPA is an additive primarily found in plastics that makes the material flexible. Before 2009, BPA was used to make baby bottles and children’s drinking cups, until it was found to be toxic. If you have plastic material for children’s use predating 2009, throw it out. BPA is an endocrine disruptor, which mimics natural hormones and can affect reproductive health and development. Today it can still be found in the lining of food and beverage cans, bottled formula, and shopping receipts.
Perchlorate is an industrial chemical contaminant used in fireworks, bleach, and some fertilizers. Reported to be toxic in 2005, this chemical affects the thyroid gland and disrupts hormone production needed for growth and development.
- Tetrachloroethylene (perchloroethylene) or Perc
This chemical is found in dry-cleaning solutions, spot removers, carpet cleaners, and upholstery cleaners. Reported to be cancerous in 1988, this chemical was banned from new dry-cleaning machines in 2007, with the use of all such machines discontinued by 2023.
In California, this chemical is considered toxic to reproductive health and development. Found most often in window, kitchen, and multipurpose cleaners, the chemical is characterized by its sweet smell. According to the EPA, 2-butoxyethanol causes sore throats, narcosis, pulmonary edema, and severe liver and kidney damage. Unfortunately, laws do not yet require 2-butoxyethanol to be listed on a product’s label. A safer option would be to make your own natural glass cleaner from vinegar and rubbing alcohol.
Formaldehyde was listed as a carcinogen in California in 1988. A skin, eye, throat, and nose irritant, this embalming fluid is also used as a preservative in many household products, such as glues/adhesives, cleaning and beauty products, baby wipes, and medium-density fiberboards.
Take a look at the products in your home and consider when they were purchased. Also check the ingredient list on each label to be sure no harmful chemicals are hiding inside. You can see the updated list of toxic chemicals in California here, and learn about national FDA updates here.
This article first appeared in the March 2017 edition of the HealthPerks newsletter.