Apparently harmless objects in your house like your sofa, your cookware, wallpaper, and even a hot bowl of chicken noodle soup may contain dangerous chemicals. According to testimony before senate subcommittee the truth is that hazardous chemicals and toxins are now so prevalent in our homes and environment that some babies are born “pre-polluted.”
According to Ken Cook, president of the Environmental Working Group, evidence has been found that there have been 10 cases of babies who were born with more than 200 synthetic chemicals in their blood. Overall, more than 80,000 chemicals are now used today, most of which haven’t been tested for safety.
Here is a list of some surprising places inside your house where hidden toxins may be found and how to protect yourself.
A pilot study published in JAMA Internal Medicine has reported that when hot food is served in plastic bowls made from melamine, the chemical gets mixed into the food resulting in increased risk for kidney stones. Melamine bowls are popular because they’re unbreakable and are widely sold online, often in colorful designs made for kids. Melamine has been approved by FDA for use in plastics, but not as a food additive. Melamine did hit the headlines in 2008 when some Chinese manufacturers of baby formula milk mixed melamine with milk powder, resulting in six deaths and 300,000 babies getting sick after drinking the contaminated milk. According to the World Health Organization melamine has been linked to kidney failure and even cancer in animal studies. Those volunteers in this study who ate one serving of hot noodle soup from melamine bowls excreted eight times as much melamine in their urine as those who ate the same soup from ceramic bowls. However it is not clear that the amount found in the study would cause any harm.
How to protect yourself: The FDA has warned against using melamine dishes in the microwave. You are also advised to use ceramic dishes for hot foods.
A recent study in Duke University has found that over half of all the couches that were tested had been found to contain flame retardants, which are chemicals added to furniture to reduce the risk of fire. Most of these chemicals settle into household dust, get on our hands and enter our bodies when we eat and are grave risk for endocrine disruption, reproductive disorders, and possibly even cancer.
How to protect yourself: Your risk of exposure can be lowered by reducing dust levels by vacuuming your couch with an air filter (called a HEPA filter). Frequent hand washing is also helpful because the contaminated dust enters the body by getting on our hands and in our mouths when we eat.
Nighttime light has been linked to breast cancer in women and prostate cancer in men by some studies although we don’t usually think of light as a toxin. Reason behind this association is that exposure to light at night suppresses the production of the hormone melatonin, disrupting the body’s circadian rhythms and increasing our risk of cancer. American Journal of Epidemiology has published a new study on night work citing working at night appears to be linked to an increase in rates of prostate, colon, lung, bladder, and pancreatic cancer. In this study they analyzed information on close to 4,000 men, including over 3,000 who had been diagnosed with cancer.
How to protect yourself: In these modern times with cut throat competition it is often tempting to burn the midnight oil, but avoiding all-nighters whenever possible is a better option. If you have to work at night in any case then it is advisable to use fewer lamps and switching to less intense light bulbs. If you are worried about light filtering through your bedroom shutters from outside while you are asleep then consider blocking it with blackout curtains.
4. Shower Curtain and Wallpaper:
Phthalates are chemicals, which are used in plastic to enhance its flexibility and are ubiquitous. They are found in shower curtains, wallpaper, and vinyl mini-blinds and also in many detergents and personal care products. These chemicals disrupt the body’s hormone system, and are associated with diseases such as asthma and allergies. According to a 2010 study led by mount Sinai researchers prenatal exposure to some phthalates is connected with disruptive and problematic behaviors (such as ADHD, conduct disorders and aggressiveness) in children aged 4 to 9.
How to protect yourself: Avoid PVC products when possible, replacing them with metal, glass, ceramic or wooden products. Buy plastic bags and wrap made from polyethylene. Synthetic fragrances often contain phthalates hence avoid household products with “fragrance” listed as an ingredient. New plastic shower curtains should be aired outside for a day or two, this allows air-born phthalates to dissipate.
5. Nonstick Cookware:
Cookware with non-stick coatings may be easier to wash, but it also contains PFCs, which can have harmful effects on fetal and postnatal growth and even contribute to obesity and diabetes. According to a recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association increased exposure of these chemicals is associated with an impaired humoral immune response to routine childhood immunizations in 5 and 7-year-old children. A link to low birth rate has also been found in a study published in environmental health perspectives. And nonstick cookware can release toxic chemicals when used at very high temperatures.
How to protect yourself: Consider replacing cookware such as Teflon with stainless steel or cast iron, especially if you are pregnant. Do not put nonstick cookware in an oven at high temperatures (above 500 degrees). Run an exhaust fan while using nonstick cookware.
Source : http://researchonmedical.com