The FDA has recently issued a final rule on the safety and effectiveness of antibacterial soaps banning the chemicals triclosan and triclocarban from over-the-counter antibacterial hand and body washes. These chemicals have been linked to hormonal disruption and bacterial resistance. The ruling revealed it is a misconception that antibacterial washes are more effective at preventing the spread of germs. The truth is that there is no scientific evidence antibacterial soaps are any more effective than plain soap and water.
While this is one major step towards reducing the amount of hazardous chemicals that Americans are regularly exposed to inside of their homes, the reality is that there are numerous household products the average consumer uses on a daily basis that contain dangerous chemicals which have been linked to serious health risks. Learn more about several other products you may be using that could be detrimental to your indoor air quality:
#1 Air Fresheners & Other Products Containing Artificial Fragrances
Plug-in scents, scented candles, and room freshening sprays many contain chemicals called phthalates, which have been linked to reproductive problems. Laundry detergents and fabric softeners also contain chemical ingredients labeled as fragrances on product packaging. The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health has found that one-third of the substances used in the fragrance industry are toxic.
#2 Chemical Cleaning Products
The cleaning products you use on a daily basis contain a number of chemicals that have been linked to serious health risks. Exposure to the commonly found chemicals in cleaning products may cause skin or respiratory irritation, watery eyes, or chemical burns, and other more serious health problems with long term exposure such as cancer and liver and kidney damage. Instead of purchasing commercially available cleaning products, use natural alternatives such as baking soda, lemon, vinegar, and borax.
#3 Nonstick Cookware
Many nonstick pans are coated with the chemical polytetrafluoroethylene, commonly referred to as PTFE, which when heated up releases toxic gases linked to organ failure, cancer, reproductive issues. Avoid using cookware containing chemical coatings and opt for safer alternatives such as stainless steel or cast iron lightly coated with cooking oil.
It is your responsibility as a consumer to research the chemical ingredients found in products you use regularly in your home. Although governmental agencies are issuing rulings on specifics such as formaldehyde emissions in flooring and on hazardous chemicals found in antibacterial soaps, there are a number of other products many households use daily that also contain hazardous chemicals. A Home Air Check will provide you with an accurate assessment of the harmful VOCs that may be contaminating your home air.