5 Household Items You Never Knew Were Toxic
Let's be honest. With so many products out there, an extremely saturated market, and greedy corporate companies, it's difficult to find truly natural products. Most products - from laundry detergents to body lotions - are loaded with toxic chemicals, such as fragrance, parabens, triclosan, and so many more.
What makes a product truly natural?
In order for any product to classify as 'truly natural,' it must contain absolutely no fragrance or synthetic ingredients. Truly natural products are usually handmade, local, and contain minimal ingredients. It always depends. Be sure to read ingredients, research brands, and buy from brands you trust.
What Effects Do Toxic Chemicals Have On Your Body?
The largest cosmetics companies produce millions of products every year that go from manufacturing facilities directly onto store shelves and into our homes, with no government review. It's been 80 years since a federal law was passed to regulate the cosmetics industry in the United States. The industry has been completely self-regulated since 1938. Tens of thousands of new chemical ingredients have been invented and used in everyday products. However, less than 10% of these ingredients have been tested for safety.
As our body's largest organ, our skin absorbs everything, within a short 20 seconds. Further, entering the bloodstream. These chemicals do not leave our bodies! These chemicals store in our cells and break down our immune system, leading to cancer, immune deficiency, and infertility.
Top 5 Household Items You Never Know Were Toxic:
1. Dryer Sheets - As delicious as they smell, these bad boys are literally the most toxic products in your home. They're loaded with fragrance, which is highly toxic. Click here to learn more about Undisclosed Ingredients in Fragrance. As if fragrance isn't enough to scare you away, dryer sheets have been linked to respiratory illnesses, including asthma and cancer. According to the Air Quality, Atmosphere & Health study, "VOCs emitted from dryer vents after using popular brands of laundry detergent and scented dryer sheets included chemicals like acetaldehyde and benzene, which are considered carcinogenic." With an endless list of toxic chemicals, these are easy to ditch! It's a no brainer.
The absolute best alternative to toxic dryer sheets are wool balls; add any essential oils for some aroma. Not only are wool dryer balls free of toxic chemicals, but they reduce dry time by flicking moisture away from your clothes and linens. They're also a natural fabric softener, and completely reusable! They'll last for a few years, making them even cheaper than buying dryer sheets.
2. Laundry Detergent - Leading brand laundry detergents contain over 25 toxic chemicals. Yes. In just one bottle. Including fragrance, which are undoubtedly the most toxic substances. Further, millions of plastic bottles end up in the landfill, every year.
In our home, we use baking soda and Laundry Soap by Zum. Until Handmade Soap Club starts making laundry products, this is what we use. It's made up of 100% saponified coconut oil, essential oils, and baking soda. My favorite scent is the Patchouli, but i'm sure they're all delicious.
3. Dish Soap - Liquid soaps, specifically dish soaps, are notorious for being green washed - when a product claims to be natural and sustainable, when in reality they're owned by the largest pharmaceutical and corporate companies. Dish soaps specifically, most commonly contain Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, which carries a high concern for irritation of the skin, eyes, and lungs, as well as moderate concern for organ system toxicity. Full of toxic chemicals and packaged in plastic bottles, liquid soaps are in no way made to be natural or sustainable.
However, with so many consumers gaining awareness, companies have produced better options. However, most of these options still contain fragrance and artificial enhancers. With that being said, read ingredients, and consider using bar soap as your dish soap. In our home, we use the Confetti Soap, which you can find here.
4. Trash Bags - Trash bags contain polyethylene, a chemical used for odor-control. It's a tough, light, flexible plastic used chiefly in containers, insulation, and packaging. Unfortunately, this chemical has been proven to cause allergies and breathing problems. Trash bags are also loaded with fragrance, further leading to infertility, respiratory issues, and even cancer. You'd never know that basic necessities, like trash bags, would contain such harmful toxins.
When buying trash bags, look for fragrance-free, biodegradable, and compostable. Avoid big corporate name brands. In our home, we reuse plastic and paper grocery bags and boxes to collect trash. If trash bags are absolutely necessary, we purchase BioBag, a compostable trash liner. These liners are also perfect for collecting compost - our compost bucket is kept under the sink, and picked up by our local compost every Saturday. It helps reduce our trash.
5. Coffee Maker & Pods - Traditional coffeemakers and filters are highly toxic. I'm talking about the coffeepots, Nespresso machines, and coffee pods. When using these to make your morning cup of joe, you've already released dozens of chemicals into your body. Traditional coffeemakers are made of plastic, resulting in a harmful amount of BPA and other endocrine-disrupting plastic chemicals in your coffee.
Don't worry! The perfect alternative does exist! In fact, I'd say these alternatives make a stronger, better tasting cup of coffee. Try using a Chemex, french press, or percolator. My personal favorite is the Chemex drip system, click here to check it out.
Ditch Toxic Chemicals! If you enjoyed this list of toxic items in your home, let me know if you'd like to see a Part 2. Make the switch to non-toxic products!