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Most people assume that if a product is on the market, it is safe to use. Many don’t know that there is little to no government regulations or agencies that monitor what is put into home products.

Chemicals in the home can put anyone at risk, especially young children whose metabolic rates are higher than adults. They require more oxygen as their respiratory rate is three times higher than an adult; therefore, they also ingest three times the toxic vapors. 

A toxin is any substance that is capable of harming a person if ingested, inhaled, or absorbed through any body surface. Toxic substances vary widely in the types of harm they cause and the conditions under which they become harmful.

The effects of the toxic substances vary. Acute reactions are sudden ones such as a rash, vomiting or dizziness. Chronic reactions occur over longer periods and include symptoms such as decline in mental alertness, change in behavior, cancer, and mutations that can harm unborn children of exposed parents. Because toxins can cause both acute and chronic reactions, they are a broader category than poisons, which produce acute reactions only.

#2 cause of death in the world is cancer

  • Every 6th death in the world is due to cancer.
  • The National Cancer Institute says inherited genetic mutations play a major role in about 5 to 10 percent of all cancers. 
  • That means 90-95% of cancer cases are under our control.

The National Institute of Safety and Health studied 2983 ingredients in our products used in homes and found:

  •  884 toxic ingredients
  • 314 caused biological mutations
  • 218 cause reproductive problems
  • 778 were toxic to the human body
  • 146 they knew caused cancer tumors but they are still allowed even though they are banned across the world

These chemicals are allowed in every cleaning product across the United States.

Why? Because the Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA) of 1976 grandfathered them in. These chemicals (referred to “existing chemicals”) haven’t had any safety testing and we know very little of their side effects. Of the chemicals that were tested, toxic labeling is only required if 50% or more of the animals died.

Did you know many American products are not allowed on store shelves in other countries because the ingredients are considered toxic? We have to be our own healthcare advocates and chemicals in our home is the perfect example.

These are the top most dangerous chemicals in our homes:

  • Candles, plug ins, air fresheners

Most candles are made of paraffin wax, which creates highly toxic benzene and toluene when burned (both are known carcinogens). In fact, the toxins released from paraffin candles are the same as those found in diesel fuel fumes. Many candles also contain artificial scents and dyes, which release additional chemicals when burned.

Additionally, many scented candles also have wicks that contain heavy metals like lead, and even a few hours of burning them can create levels of airborne heavy metals that are much higher than the acceptable limits. In the US, candle wicks are supposed to be made of cotton or paper, but studies have found that as much as 30% of candles contain heavy metals in the wicks.

Hobby Lobby has amazing flameless candles, as do other companies – which is what I choose to use.

Most plug ins and air fresheners contain Phthalates. Phthalates, a family of industrial chemicals used to soften PVC plastic and as solvents in cosmetics and other consumer products, can damage the liver, kidneys, lungs, and reproductive system.

Most cleaning & beauty products, for counters, floors, toilets, furniture polish, drain and oven cleaners, dish soap, beauty supplies, hair care products, or deodorant have toxins in them.

Two of the top most dangerous chemicals in the home are laundry detergent and fabric softener – They sit on your skin and omit gasses in your closet. This information is from the US EPA chemicals list.

I have an energy efficient washer, which I love, and I use thieves laundry soap because it uses essential oils and natural products to clean our clothes. It takes very little to wash a load and it smells so good! I also keep on hand, should I run out of my Thieves soap before I can get more, the organic Seventh Generation laundry detergent and then add Thieves and Lemon essential oils.

I haven’t used fabric softener (since I found out it was so toxic) for about 6 years now. I use these dryer balls and they work the same if not better than a softner – minus the chemicals!

As for cleaning my house…. I use only Thieves Household Cleaner. I use it for washing my sinks, toilets, floors, stains on clothes and more. 1 cap full in a bucket of warm water and it literally cleans everything. I even use it on my carpet if the dog has an accident because it gets rid of stains and smell.

Thieves cleaner costs $1 a bottle to make at home. One $22.50 bottle of cleaner gives you 30 spray bottles. Just add one cap full of concentrated thieves cleaner into a spray bottle of water and you’re off and running cleaning literally everything.  It is the cheapest and best cleaner you can possibly buy.

Keep an eye out for the top 8 toxins found cleaning products:

Parabens

This toxic chemical is one of the top offenders in both our household cleaners and beauty products. Any household products that claim to be antifungal or antimicrobial (including dish soap, all-purpose cleaner, glass cleaner, bathroom cleaner, and more) most likely contain parabens, listed as methylparaben, propylparaben, and butylparaben.

Parabens are xenoestrogens, meaning they mimic estrogen in your body and can lead to estrogen dominance. As a result, they cause hormone disruption, reproductive problems, and have been linked with hormonal cancers including breast, ovarian, and uterine cancer. They can also cause neurotoxicity and skin irritation.

Triclosan

Triclosan and triclocarban are used as antimicrobial agents in cleaning products. Triclosan specifically is used in liquid dishwashing detergent and hand soaps labeled “antibacterial”, as well as toothpaste, mouthwash, deodorants, and cosmetics.

Triclosan, which is classified as a pesticide, is an antibacterial agent that can contribute to the growth of drug-resistant bacteria. It can affect your body’s endocrine system, which produces hormones that regulate metabolism, growth and development, tissue function, sexual function, reproduction, sleep, and mood. It is also irritating to the skin and eyes.

See my homemade dishwasher detergent here.

Phthalates

Phthalates are a group of chemicals used in synthetic fragrances. These fragrances are in everything from laundry detergent and dish soap to air fresheners and even toilet paper.

Phthalate exposure has been linked to early puberty in girls, a risk factor for later-life breast cancer. Phthalates disrupt the endocrine system, which, as I stated above, affects most major functions of your body including metabolism, tissue function, sleep and mood, to name a few.

Avoid air fresheners, and use a diffuser with essential oils to fragrance your home, and make your own perfume (that actually has health benefits) using glass roller bottles and a carrier oil. I use fractionated coconut oil because it has its own set of health benefits!

Perchloroethylene or “PERC”

PERC is the main solvent in dry-cleaning solution. It is also found in many household cleaning products such as wood cleaners, spot removers and carpet cleaners, aerosol products, and even in solvent soaps.

Perchloroethylene is a volatile organic compound (VOC). VOCs are chemicals that evaporate at room temperature and are released, or “off-gassed,” into the air. “Organic” in this context simply means carbon-based. Exposure to high levels of perchloroethylene can affect your central nervous system and even cause unconsciousness or death.

Other side-effects of exposure to PERC include severe shortness of breath, sweating, nausea, vomiting, headache, dizziness, sleepiness, confusion, difficulty speaking and walking, and lightheadedness. If you are pregnant, long-term exposure may harm a developing fetus.

Ammonia

Ammonia is found in many cleaning products, including window cleaners, bathroom cleaners, and floor waxes.

Ammonia is actually used to make other chemicals, including cyanide! The fumes from cleaners with ammonia can cause coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, laryngitis, headaches, fever, nausea, vomiting, asthma, rapid pulse, and increased blood pressure.

Sodium Hydroxide

Sodium hydroxide is found in oven cleaners and drain cleaners.

Also known as lye, sodium hydroxide is extremely toxic due to its corrosive nature. It can burn your eyes and skin, can cause a long-lasting sore throat if you breathe it in.

Chlorine

Household bleach is made from sodium hypochlorite, a chlorine-based chemical. Whereas this is not pure chlorine, you can be exposed to hazardous chlorine gas at home if you mix bleach with ammonia or other cleaning products. You may be exposed to non-toxic concentrations of chlorine through household products that are made from chlorine, such as disinfectants used in drinking water and swimming pools. It can be found in some household cleaners, mildew removers, and laundry whiteners. It can even be found in trace amounts in your tap water.

Chlorine can be a big problem for thyroid health because it’s part of the halogen family, which also includes iodine, bromine, and fluorine. Exposure to chlorine can also cause coughing, wheezing, sneezing, or even pneumonia, as it is a respiratory irritant. It can also cause headache, dizziness, blurred vision, nausea, vomiting, skin blisters and irritation.

Quaternary Ammonium Compounds, or “QUATS”

QUATS are found in most fabric softeners and “antibacterial” cleaning products.

QUATS contribute to the problem of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, because they are antimicrobial in nature like triclosan. It is also a skin irritant and respiratory irritant.

If you’re going to use a hand sanitizer, use Thieves hand sanitizer, otherwise just use soap and water.

We simply must be our own healthcare advocates and take our health into our own hands. Good luck on your journey and if you have any questions or need a recipe, please let me know.