by Guest Author Mary Ward
Most of us are looking for ways to live healthier lives. And, many times we feel that, for the most part, we’re avoiding the things that are really bad for us. However, there may be some everyday items you’re still using that are bad for your body. Here are some common things in your home you might want to avoid.
- Teflon – this non-stick coating used for many years on pans can be very harmful. The gases released when the pans are heated to a high temperature can be noxious – it has even been known to kill birds. In addition, as the pans get worn, the Teflon coating flakes off into our food and eventually ends up in our water system. The EPA’s outside science board has listed the PFC chemical used to make Teflon as a “likely human carcinogen”.
- Carpet – Whether your carpet is new or old, it likely contains chemicals that are dangerous to your body. New carpets contain Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s), some of which are on the EPA’s list of extremely hazardous substances. Old carpet may be even worse, as some of the chemicals used in carpets in years passed have been banned. Other substances, such as adhesives and stain resistors may be dangerous when breathed in.
- Plastic food containers – Most of our plastic food containers are harmless, unless they are exposed to heat. Plastics used to make food containers contains bisphenol A. When exposed to heat, the plastic melts just a little and the bisphenol A leaks into your food. The substance is believed to be related to an elevated risk for breast cancer, prostate cancer and diabetes. So, for the sake of your health, don’t microwave in plastic or drink from a plastic drink bottle that’s been exposed to heat. This same substance is found in most food cans, because it helps keep the food from tasting like the can. It’s believed to be safe in food cans as long as you don’t heat up the can itself.
- Microwave popcorn – The fumes from microwave popcorn have been shown to be toxic, because of the substance diacetyl, which gives the popcorn its buttery taste. Several cases of lung disease have been directly related to inhaling large amounts of diacetyl. Check your microwave popcorn labels carefully. Many companies have already removed the substance from their brand because of health concerns, but it is still in a few brands.
- Your humidifier – A humidifier need not be dangerous if it’s cleaned properly, but many people fail to clean theirs as often as needed. Humidifiers that are not kept clean can harbor all sorts of harmful bacteria, such as legionella, which causes respiratory infections, and several types of mold. Your humidifier should be cleaned with bleach at least twice a week if you use it regularly.
We all want to live in a safe home, and it’s frightening that there are so many items we take for granted that might be harming us. Keep your eyes open for things in your home that might make it less safe for your family.
That is great advice. Thanks Mary.
Mary Ward is a freelance writer and likes writing about medical education topics, such as how to research and choose among online X-ray tech schools, how to apply for online college grants, and more.