Chemicals Used in Daily Life

A Chemical World

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Tons of pesticides used

Worldwide, this year

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TheWorldCounts, 19 May, 2014

A Chemical World

There is currently an estimated 79,788 artificial chemicals in the market today. And this number keeps growing.

We have toothpaste, cosmetics, processed food, pesticides, air fresheners, shampoo, soap and many other consumer goods that we enjoy. They’re everywhere! We live in a world of chemicals. Some of them are fairly safe but some need some careful handling - and some are really harmful!

Which chemicals have you adopted in your home?

Pesticides are a class of biocide. It covers a wide range of products such as mosquito sprays, other insect repellents and even anti-microbial sanitizers. It can cause irritations to the skin, nose, eyes and throat when mistakenly sprayed directly. Low dose exposure to pesticides is not fatal, but over time, continuous exposure can lead to several diseases affecting the nervous and reproductive systems and your kidneys. According to the EPA, pesticides can cause Cancer.

Phthalates and PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride)is a cheap and easy to use material. It is often used as construction materials and can be found in plastic products. When PVC is burned, it releases dioxin – one of the most toxic substances known. You can often find this substance in your blinds, flooring, PVC vinyl shower curtains, baby’s toys, cosmetics and most of the plastic products you have at home. Plastic food containers and water bottles can leak phthalates into your food and water, which caused endocrine system damage and is especially harmful to children and pregnant women.

Parabensare used as a preservative in cosmetics and other pharmaceutical products. They are also used as food additives. Check the ingredients of your cosmetics and skin care products and you will find “paraben” somewhere there. It is said to cause breast cancer, since it mimics the hormone estrogen. It has also been blamed for decreased male fertility and endocrine problems.

More: Parabens and Cancer

Bisphenol A or BPAis a chemical found in hard plastics and in the coatings of food and drink cans and in majority of the everyday products we use – baby bottles, water bottles, even dental fillings, household electronics and many more. BPA is an endocrine disruptor and can interfere in the behavior of hormones in our body. It causes reproductive disorders, male impotence, heart disease and asthma. It affects the quality of a woman’s eggs and can cause breast cancer. 

A CDC study showed that 95% of human adult urine samples and 93% of children urine samples had Bisphenol A.

Ammonia – has been used in households for decades. It is used in cleaning products and can remove most tarnishes and mildew, hence its popularity. Direct exposure to ammonia can irritate your eyes and lungs and in direct contact with the skin, can cause burns or rashes. When mixed with bleach or other chlorine products – it can produce deadly chloramine gas.

How to avoid these toxic chemicals at home?

  • Buy fresh and organic produce as often as possible
  • Avoid using chemical based insecticides at home. There are safer alternatives in the market today. You can also look for safer alternatives here.
  • Use natural cleaning products in your home.
  • Use BPA and phthalate free plastics.
  • Find the Paraben Free label in your cosmetics and skin care products.
  • Choose natural brands for your toiletries.
  • Avoid using PVC material and use more natural materials such as cotton wood, linen, bamboo or hemp.
  • Keep your home well ventilated.

Since chemicals have become so ingrained in our daily lives, it would be a challenge to eradicate them completely. Keeping your exposure to a minimum is the best you can do to protect your home from the harmful effects of these chemicals.

More: Household Hazardous Waste Statistics

References

  1. Wikipedia: Pesticide
  2. Greenpeace: How to find and avoid toxic vinyl products (PVC) in your home
  3. Earth Easy: How to Reduce Exposure to Indoor Toxins Medical News Today: What is Bisphenol A? Is BPA Harmful?

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Tons of bisphenol A produced

Worldwide, this year

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Tons of hazardous waste produced

Worldwide, this year

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Tons of phthalates produced

Worldwide, this year

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