5 Household Items That Are More Toxic Than You Think
by Ashleigh Frager
I was recently asked in an interview for Vanity + Trade, what are the “5 household items that most of us have in our homes but don’t realize just how toxic they are?” While it is tough to narrow it down, I chose these as my current top 5. Some I chose because of their frequency of use and others due to their potent effects from even limited exposure.
Run through this list to see which items you have in your home and check out my recommendations for safe, toxin-free swaps.
The Toxic 5
1. Laundry detergent
The most impactful thing you could do for your health right now is to throw out your toxic laundry detergent! Most detergents are packed full of nasty toxins like synthetic fragrance, sodium lauryl/laureth sulphate (SLS/SLES), optical brighteners, and dioxins. In my homeopathic practice, I’ve seen countless cases of skin irritation (rashes, redness, eruptions), allergy-like symptoms (runny nose, itchy eyes, sneezing), and insomnia from exposure to toxic laundry detergent.
Room sprays, fragrance plug-ins, scent diffusers, candles, bathroom deodorizers… They come in many forms but they all have the same root issue: they contain synthetic fragrance that has been linked to cancer, birth defects, allergies, and hormonal imbalance. Whether the effects are apparent or not, exposure to these types of products has a profoundly detrimental impact on your health.
Most people apply this multiple times a day and most deodorants contain dangerous ingredients like aluminum. Exposure to aluminum should be avoided as it has been linked to Alzheimer’s and breast cancer. Also, some of the antimicrobial chemicals in deodorant disrupt the bacterial balance in your underarms causing the odor producing bacteria to multiply. In other words, the deodorant you’re using could make you smell more!
Using chlorine bleach on cotton or paper products can create unwanted byproducts, dioxins. The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) has stated that there is no safe level of dioxin exposure. Even if you aren’t using it on cotton or paper, bleach contains ammonia hydroxide which releases toxic ammonia gas. All the way around, this should not be considered a product that is safe to have in your house.
All of the concerns that were listed for deodorizers and candles are valid here but now instead of just breathing the toxins in, you are applying them directly to your body. They are easily and readily absorbed through your skin into your bloodstream without any filtration until they make it to your organs.
Recommended swap: We have been researching & testing safe alternatives and will make them available as soon as we find an option that meets our standards.