Hidden Dangers in Everyday Household Products and Foods

Hidden in certain household products we use everyday are dangerous chemicals that can seriously affect our health. Even some foods are affected by these same toxins.


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Learn which ones to look for and what products to use instead.

Indoor Toxins

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), certain airborne toxins can be up to 500 times more concentrated indoors than outdoors. Most of these toxins come from household products like cleansers, paints, cosmetics, and air fresheners; even many everyday foods are tainted with toxic chemicals. The problem is that, because federal regulations which govern the labeling of consumer products are inadequate, it’s difficult for consumers to find out precisely which products contain dangerous ingredients and which are safe. So armed with a little more information and alternatives, hopefully you can better protect you and your family.

Dangerous Household Products and Safer Alternatives

Beef hotdogs – The nitrite preservatives in beef hotdogs interact with amines, which occur naturally in meat and fish, to form potent carcinogens called nitrosamines. Hotdogs may also be contaminated with the cancer-causing pesticides benzene bexachloride, Dacthal, dieldrin, heptachlor and residues of powerful hormones. Instead, try hotdogs that are labeled “nitrite-free” or, better yet, try tofu franks.

Bug killer – Many household pesticides contain propoxur, a compound that is both cancer-causing and neurotoxic. Instead, use brands that use pyrethrum or another natural herbicide in place of propoxur.

Whole milk – This includes products that contain whole milk, such as cheese and milk chocolate. Milk fat is often laced with the carcinogenic compounds DDT, dieldrin, heptachlor and/or hexachlorobenzene. Milk products are also sometimes tainted with antibiotic residues, some of which cause allergic reactions or even cancer. Ingesting these antibiotic residues also promote growth of potentially dangerous antibiotic-resistant bacteria inside the body. Instead, use organic skim milk, especially brands labeled “bovine hormone-free.”

Cat litter – Many cat litter brands contain crystalline silica, an eye and lung irritant and suspected carcinogen. Instead, use litter made of a natural ingredient such as pulverized paper.

Air freshener – Some aerosol brands contain orthophenylphenol, a skin irritant and carcinogen. This is particularly dangerous because tiny aerosol droplets are easily inhaled deep into the lungs. Instead, use solid air fresheners made with plant-based scents and avoid all aerosol spray products, including air fresheners, cosmetics and household cleaners.

Hair conditioner – Some brands contain formaldehyde and the carcinogenic dye FD&C Red #4. Instead, go for a safer, natural, plant-based conditioner.

Laundry detergent – Brands that contain washing soda are highly caustic. Some brands may also be contaminated with a carcinogen called 1,4 dioxane. Instead, use vegetable-based detergent or laundry soap.

Makeup – Cosmetics often contain talc, titanium dioxide and/or the preservative BHA, all of which are carcinogenic. In addition, lanolin found in many brands is often tainted with DDT. Instead, use natural, plant-based cosmetics.

Moth repellent – These often contain naphthalene, a neurotoxin, or dichlorobenzene, a highly volatile compound that is also a potent carcinogen. Instead, use cedar blocks, chips and sachets.

Shaving cream – Some brands contain the carcinogenic preservative BHA, along with triethanolamine and/or diethanolamine, which are nitrosamine precursors. Others contain Blue #1 and other cancer-causing dyes. Instead, use natural brands, especially those that are applied with a brush.

Talcum powder – Talc irritates the lungs and has been linked to ovarian cancer. Instead, use products made with cornstarch.

Toothpaste – Many popular brands of toothpaste contain Blue #1, which is a carcinogen. Surprisingly, fluoride is also a suspected carcinogen. Instead, use natural toothpaste without fluoride.

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