Top 4 Chemicals in Your Home and How to Reduce Them

Photography: Victoria Gloria Photography

By Emily Folk

The green revolution is in full swing and, with it, the push for products that are safe for both the environment and people. However, brands are still adding toxic chemicals to cleaning products, cosmetics and a plethora of other items you use every day. Having these chemicals in your home can potentially cause adverse health effects in both you and your children. Here are the top four chemicals that may be lurking in your home and what you can do to reduce them.  

1. Glycol Ethers 

Glycol ethers are a type of petrochemical that can enter your bloodstream through your skin, even if you’re wearing gloves. They may also enter your body if you happen to inhale airborne droplets. Often, this chemical is an ingredient in resins, paints, varnishes, perfumes, liquid soaps, cleaning products and even cosmetics.

Short-term exposure to these ethers causes respiratory irritation, nausea and conjunctivitis.

In animal studies, chronic exposure reduced fertility and caused maternal toxicity, early embryonic death and congenital disabilities.  

To reduce your exposure to these harmful chemicals, be sure to read the label on all cleaning products and cosmetics. However, some brands may not list glycol ethers as ingredients. Therefore, the safest option may be purchasing all-natural cleaning solutions and make-up or making your own.  

2. Phthalates  

Many cosmetic products, laundry detergents, fabric softeners and deodorisers also contain phthalates.

Many companies also use phthalates in plastic products to make them more flexible.

Scientists have linked exposure to these toxins – even at very low levels – to adverse health effects such as reduced male sperm counts and birth defects.  

You can decrease the number of phthalates in your home by limiting fragrances and air fresheners. Additionally, avoid using products that contain PVC. You may also opt to make your own laundry solutions or purchase ones that contain natural ingredients.  

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