There are many toxins lurking about in the most common household items, and many of these toxins, if people are exposed to them long enough, may cause various types of cancers. It is nice to be aware of some of the biggest culprits and minimize risk when there is a choice. Some of the culprits may include simple decorative candles people light or art supplies used with the kids. There are many alternatives to the toxic, synthetic and artificial, many times commercial brands out there. . . and most of the alternatives are the natural, save-you-lots-of-money types. Below are some of the most common household items that bring the toxins into the home and into the body and alternatives to consider.
Your detergent can leave behind a toxic chemical. “In 2011, an environmental group discovered 1,4-dioxane lurking in laundry detergent. The chemical isn’t a proven cancer causer in humans, but it has triggered liver and nasal tumors in rats.” Also, you won’t find 1,4-dioxane on labels because it’s not an ingredient. There are many great natural laundry detergents made from essential oils:
Liquid Homemade Laundry Detergent
A 5 gallon bucket for this homemade laundry soap recipe.
4 cups hot boiled Water
1 natural Soap Bar (see the directions below for tips)
1 cup Washing Soda
1/4 cup Borax
30 drops doTERRA Lavender essential oil
30 drops doTERRA Lemon essential oil
30 drops doTERRA Grapefruit OR Clove essential oil
Grate the soap bar using the coarse side of your cheese grater… Suggestions are clear vegetable glycerin or olive oil soap bars or doTERRA Essential Oil Citrus Bliss or Serenity Bath bars.
Combine the soap flakes and hot water in a large saucepan. Stir over a medium-low heat until the soap is melted.
Fill a 5 gallon bucket half full of very hot water. Add the melted soap mixture, the washing soda and the borax. Stir until all the powder is dissolved.
Fill the bucket up to the top with more hot water. Stir, cover and let sit overnight to thicken.
Next morning, stir the essential oils into the laundry soap mixture.
Transfer your homemade laundry detergent to a bunch of clean used laundry jugs.
Shake the bottle before each use to dissolve any lumps of gel that might have formed while it was sitting. Use 1 cup per load for top-load washing machines, and half a cup for front-load washers.
This recipe makes enough homemade laundry detergent for 45 top loads or 90 front loads. If that seems like a lot, reduce the recipe by half (although it’s not going to go bad – it’s soap!)
Note: Washing soda is made from Sodium Carbonate and is not the same ingredient as baking soda. You can usually find washing soda in the laundry area of your grocery or department store (I got mine at Walmart) or ask for it at a pool store. It will be in the water softeners section. You can also buy washing soda online at Amazon.com
Wrinkle-Free Dress Shirts: Formaldehyde keeps corpses looking their best; it also keeps wrinkle-free shirts, well wrinkle-free. There is evidence that formaldehyde causes nasal and respiratory cancers in humans. Any form raises your risk or cancer, and multiple sources can add up.
French Fries, Chips, Bread:
Acrylamide, a form of a chemical used to treat wastewater, has been found in French fries, chips, bread, and some doughnuts. Your body’s chemical reactions to acrylamide can lead to DNA mutations that could raise your cancer risk.
Brown Rice: A Consumer Reports study found that some brands of brown rice contain more of this arsenic than white rice does (but both are found to have varying levels of it). Arsenic could disable your body’s DNA repair system, so when cells get damaged, the DNA won’t be able to bounce back, making you more vulnerable to cancer-causing mutations.
It’s amazing how similar e-cigs are to the real thing, and believe it or not but some can even boost your cancer risk. The FDA has found nitrosamines, a carcinogen that is in tobacco products, and in some electronic cigarette brands. Even if you’re not a smoker, you could still be taking them in: They can form when stomach acid reacts with nitrates which can be found in hot dogs, bacon, or other cured meats. (photo credit: NY times)
For more information on E-cigarettes, visit: http://truthnhealth.com/2013/09/e-cigarettes-hot-or-not/
Pots, pans, and other cookware made with a nonstick coating called Teflon have the chemical perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), which is known to cause cancer. But, the question is whether enough PFOA gets into the human body from pans to pose a risk. “Some experts believe that PFOA and as many as 15 other chemicals can be released when cooking with these coatings, particularly at high heat. Other concerns involve whether the chemicals can get into food once the surface becomes scratched and nicked over time.” You can read about better-for-you alternative nonstick cookware here: http://truthnhealth.com/2012/08/leaching-metals-and-chemicals-from-cooking-surfaces/
Air fresheners: I used to have a “Plug-In” in every outlet in my college dorm. Research shows that people who live in homes that use air fresheners on a regular basis suffer from more diarrhea (infants), headaches and depression than those who do not (Source: California Air Resource). Knowing what to look for in air fresheners, especially when they are artificially created, is key to avoiding cancer causing fumes. Items such as “febreze” and “room sprays” are filled with toxic ingredients, often containing napthelene and formaldehyde that damage the inside ozone and chemistry of the air quality. Try zeolite or natural fragrances from essential oils and diffuse them into the air for optimal beneficial qualities. Even better, arrange a bouquet of fresh fragrant flowers. Fresh citrus fruits, coffee beans and herbs such as clove and cinnamon are great ways make rooms smell lovely without adding to the toxic environment. Boiling a cinnamon stick in hot water actually makes the house smell like apple pie. Open the windows more (unless you live next to a cow pasture), leave open boxes of baking soda on counters to neutralize smells and take out the garbage daily. (photo credit: content.time.com)
Art supplies: “Sniffing paint” was big in the 80’s and 90’s for children and teens who wanted an extra “high” they could get their hands on. That is because the toxic epoxy, rubber cement glues, acrylic paints solvents, and permanent markers have carcinogens that range from cadmium, lead, formaldehyde, chromium, magnesium dioxide, cobalt and chlorinated hydrocarbons that proves extremely toxic for animals and humans. Choose water based inks and paints as well as lead free supplies and create your masterpieces in a well-ventilated area. There are many non-toxic alternatives for you and your little ones to use. Read your labels and choose safe art supplies when feeling inspired.
Automotive supplies: Most are toxic. Keep them safely away from the house and dispose of at a hazardous waste disposal center. Use these supplies in a well vented or open air environment, and keep the insides of your car well ventilated after application. Especially on a hot day, roll windows down for a few minutes before getting in your car to avoid extra toxic fumes that may have permeated from the seats and car interior due to heat.
Candles: If they are not organic soy and essential oil candles, my suggestion is to toss them. Avoid artificially scented paraffin candles that produce combustion by-products, including soot. This was a hard one for me to clear my house of because I love scented candles and they are great house decorators. Aside from organic soy and essential oil candles, select ones made with beeswax and cotton wicks.
Carpet and upholstery shampoos: Use only wet-clean, natural ingredients. Remember most commercial cleaning products will contain a great load of artificial and synthetic harmful-to-the-human-body cleaning agents that when inhaled over a period of time, or come into contact skin contact may create allergic reactions and cause toxins to be absorbed into the body. There are many great natural cleaning alternatives from the fundamental white vinegar that promises to clean everything, to the silver infused technology in cleaning cloths that zap bacteria, dust and scum, to essential oils that have antimicrobial properties and is 100 times better than cleaning with the top leading brands of house hold and toxin infused cleaners.
Dry-cleaning: Though most everyone is guilty of bringing dry-cleaning articles into the home and leaching cancer causing fumes into the bedroom, this habit is easily avoidable. First, choose clothes that don’t need perchlorethylene to clean them (a toxin used for dry cleaning). Second, research and look for the wet-cleaning option at local cleaners, or seek dry-cleaners that use liquid C02 or citrus juice cleaners. If you do go to a traditional cleaner, minimize cancer causing risk by removing the plastic covers outside the house and toss them away. Air out the clothes for a few minutes before coming into the house.
Flea, tick and lice control or any type of pest control spray, air bombs and liquid baits: Avoid lindane-based pesticides. There are many companies that use an environmentally and children safe formula when it comes to ridding unwanted household pests. Termite companies are using organic citrus fumes while cedar oil and vinegar is a great replant for moths and fleas. Essential oils with blend citronella or neem oil is great for repelling mosquitos and sugar and honey water is perfect to rid your home of ants.
(Source: Care2.com and Cancer: 101 Solutions to a Preventable Epidemic (New Society Publishers, 2007) by Liz Armstrong)
Additional sources: Foxnews.com, blackdoctor.org, everydayHealth.com, giaiaoils.com, sheknows.com, mynaturalfamily.com, farmxchange.com