4 household toxins to trash


From toys to containers to perfume, most of us think if it's on a store shelf, it's been tested and is safe. However, that's not always the case. Toxins are lurking inside products you use every day.

You can smell it. You can swallow it. It can even be absorbed into your body through your skin: harmful toxins that may be sitting around your home that you didn't even know were dangerous.

First, get rid of harsh cleaning products. We not only contaminate the air when we use them, products with ammonia can trigger asthma attacks. Harsh oven cleaners and drain openers can cause respiratory damage or burn children's skin if they come into contact with it.

Also, throw out stuff with synthetic fragrances. The term "fragrance" or "parfum" on personal-care product labels can be a cover for hundreds of harmful chemicals known to be carcinogens, endocrine disruptors, and reproductive intoxicants, even at low levels. 

Next, get rid of your antibacterial soap. It contains triclosan, and so do many deodorants, hand sanitizers and toothpaste. The antimicrobial chemical is believed to disrupt thyroid function and hormone levels in people. When mixed into wastewater, it can cause sex changes in aquatic life. Experts believe the overuse of triclosan is promoting growth of bacteria resistant to antibacterial treatment.

The Food and Drug Administration recently ruled that antibacterial soap manufacturers would have to prove that their soaps are not only safe, but also more effective than plain soap and water, or they will take it off the shelves in the next few years.

Minnesota is the first state to ban the use of triclosan in consumer hygiene products. The ban will take effect Jan. 1, 2017.

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