A child peers over kitchen counter to touch surface of stove

Unfortunately, toxic chemicals are lurking in almost every corner of our homes.

Everyday consumers purchase tons of harmful ingredients that may not be safe for pets and kids because…

  1. some ingredients are not required to be listed on the item’s packaging.
  2. chemicals are so widely used that we are all guilty of feeling that proper testing and caution must have been used when adding such a chemical to a home product—surely it must be safe.

I am here to inform you about some extremely common chemicals that are hiding in our homes (inside bug spray, the swimming pool, air fresheners, and more) and how to go without or create an alternative product.

1. Pesticides

Bug sprays for the home and lawn contain an unfathomable amount of different chemicals.

Even if these products say they are safe for home use they may still linger after they are dried. The U.S. National Library of Medicine lists arsenic, chlorine, ammonia, and formaldehyde among many common ingredients used for pest control. These chemicals produce a number of effects from skin and eye irritation to endocrine & hormone disruption and cancer.

What you can do:

The best thing to do is be diligent about keeping your home and garden clear of pests.

Keeping a sparkling home will keep pests away. Checking around the exterior base of your home will show where any bugs may be able to enter. Bugs like ants can easily be swept or sprayed with water. However, some stubborn insects may need a little more help. Mosquitos are attracted to standing water. Make sure all outside water sources are dumped when not in use.

Natural repellents like garlic and rosemary work as well. For creepy crawlies like spiders, try some diluted peppermint oil in any dark spaces that these pests may lurk.

2. BPA Plastic

Bisphenol A has been used to make plastic since the 60s. Not only is it used in the making of plastics, it is also used as a coating for cans, boxes, and even dental sealants. According to Mayo Clinic, the BPA chemical can be found in food or drink that was stored in a BPA plastic container.

It seems that BPA can slowly leak into foods and drink over time and if heat is applied to the plastic. This is a cause for concern because studies have shown some possible negative effects on the brain and fetus development.

What about BPA-Free? Not a better choice, according to Michael Green of Center for Environmental Health. Listen to this GD myEARTH360 Report then read Michael’s post to learn more.

What you can do:

Use glass, metal, or ceramic containers instead of plastic. A very common BPA item is water bottles. There are many other water bottle alternatives instead of plastic.

3. Chlorine

The most common chemical in home pools and spas is chlorine.

Chlorine is proven to react with the water in the body and immediately begin to destroy cells on contact. Information from the Environmental Protection Agency states,

“Chlorine is a commonly used household cleaner and disinfectant.  Chlorine is a potent irritant to the eyes, the upper respiratory tract, and lungs.”

Why this is still used in pools today is a mystery because there are several other options available which do just as good of a job at sanitizing the pool and are safe around pets and kids.

What you can do:

One such alternative option is an ozone pool sanitizer. Basically, what it does is oxygenates the pool water and neutralizes any algae and/or bacteria. With this method, pools contain about 80 percent less chlorine than a regular pool.

4. Lead

Even though lead-based paints (for the most part) are a thing of the past there are still traces in many forms. Most commonly this compound can be found in our drinking water.

Older homes may have lead pipes which can seep into the water supply. Even some newer appliances are allowed to have a small amount of lead present. Some pesticides even have lead inside.

Unfortunately, this translates to a higher dosage of lead inside many fruit juices. Lead has been shown to disrupt healthy hormone production. This can cause a large chemical imbalance in the body which leads to an array of issues with everyday bodily functions.

What you can do:

Simply installing a water filter gets rid of that problem pronto! Not just any filter will do. Make sure that the filter you are using specifically removes lead and other metals from drinking water.

Even some “natural” fruit juices are thought to still contain some small amounts of lead. So, eating a whole, healthy, and fresh organic diet can lower lead levels in the body.

Trisha Miller is a freelance writer from Boise, ID. She is dedicated to a vegan lifestyle and promotes all-around healthy living. To her, spreading the word about eco-friendliness is the first step to sustainable living. She runs a blog thatdangvegan.blogspot.com and can be found on Twitter @thatdangvegan

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The Green Divas share low-stress ways to live a deeper shade of green through a weekly radio show, podcasts, videos and blog posts. Working with talented partners and credible sources, the Green Divas produce content on a variety of topics relating to a healthy green lifestyle. Visit The Green Divas website to learn more, and check out The Green Divas on FacebookGoogle+, and Twitter too!

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