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Here is a list of 8 products that are scientifically proven to be toxic (and some even carcinogenic), which are not always listed on labels and which you are sure to deal with daily, plus some viable alternatives so that you can eliminate them from your home.
They are found in fragranced household products such as air fresheners, detergents, soaps, and even toilet paper. Due to property laws, companies don't have to disclose what's in their scents, so you won't find phthalates on a label, but if it says "artificial perfume or scent," there's a good chance it contains phthalates.
Health Risks: Endocrine disruptors are known, which is why they reduce sperm in men and can cause various conditions in women. They are absorbed through the skin and since the skin cannot determine if something is toxic, these chemicals go directly to the organs.
Healthy Options: Choose unscented or all-natural organic products. It is also a good way to clean the environment, having more plants since these are the ones that naturally detoxify the air.
Perchlorethylene or "PERC"
Found in: dry cleaning solutions, stain removers, and carpet and upholstery cleaners.
Health Hazards: It is a neurotoxin and is classified "Possible Carcinogen". The route of exposure is often by inhalation - that telltale smell from clothes coming back from the dry cleaner or fumes that linger after carpet cleaning.
Healthy options: be sure to take your clothes to dry cleaners that don't use perc. To remove a stain there are hundreds of natural techniques, from our grandmothers' laundry soap, through lemon or salt.
It is found in most detergents, liquid dishwashers, and toilet soaps labeled "antibacterial."
Health risks: Triclosan is an aggressive antibacterial agent that can promote the growth of drug-resistant bacteria and fight those that are favorable and necessary for our existence. It is also concentrated in rivers and streams and is detrimental to the aquatic environment.
Healthy options: use natural detergents and soaps and avoid antibacterial products with triclosan for household use. If you need a hand sanitizer, choose one that is alcohol-based.
Found in: fabric softeners and most household cleaners labeled "antibacterial."
Health risks: being another type of antimicrobial they pose the same problem as triclosan, helping bacteria to resist antibiotics. They are also irritants to the skin so they can cause dermatitis and it is suspected that it is one of the causes of certain respiratory problems.
Healthy options: forget about aesthetics, fabric softeners are not necessary and the best fabric softener is white vinegar (because it does not stain) since it removes soap residues and is not toxic. Tea tree oil is anti-fungal (it fights fungus) and lavender essence is a natural flavoring.
Found in: universal cleaners.
Health Risks: 2-Butoxyethanol is the key ingredient in many window cleaners and gives them their distinctive sweet smell. It is an effective solvent that by law does not have to be listed on the label, but according to the EPA and especially if it is used in confined places it can cause sore throats by inhalation, contribute to narcosis, severe pulmonary and liver edema and Kidney damage.
Healthier option: clean mirrors and windows with newspaper and diluted vinegar. For other kitchen tasks use products with natural ingredients like feldspar and non-bleach baking soda. You can also make your own formulas with baking soda, vinegar, and essential oils.
Found in: Cleaning agents for bathrooms, for jewelry and in glass cleaners.
Health Risks: Ammonia is a powerful stimulant that affects asthmatics and people with lung and respiratory problems and can help develop chronic bronchitis. Mixed with bleach it produces a poisonous gas.
Healthier option: use vodka to clean and polish metal appliances, toothpaste for silver, and vinegar diluted in water for appliances, tiles, and glass.
Found in: bleaches, abrasive powders, toilet bowl cleaners, mold removers, tap water.
Health risks: exposure to this dangerous element is constant and can cause chronic health problems (respiratory, kidney, digestive, etc.), in addition to being a serious thyroid disruptor.
Healthier option: we go back to the vinegar option, the baking soda and we add the powdered borax to scrub the toilets. To reduce chlorine in tap water it is best to install filters.
Found in: oven cleaners and plungers.
Health risks: it is extremely corrosive so if it touches the skin or gets in the eyes it can cause serious burns. Its inhalation causes a severe sore throat that lasts for several days.
Healthier option: the oven can be cleaned with vinegar and baking soda paste. To unclog pipes, this formula (bicarbonate + vinegar) combined with boiling water also works.