Given poor government regulation, many of the cleaning products available on the market contain “everyday” carcinogens such as formaldehyde, nitrobenzene, methylene chloride, and napthelene, as well as reproductive toxins and hormone disruptors. Not to mention other ingredients that cause liver, kidney and brain damage, allergies and asthma. One of the best things you can do to detox your home is to create one of Annie’s simple non-toxic cleaning kits to use–most of the ingredients you probably already have on hand.
But there are a host of products, other than those used for basic cleaning, that often contain carcinogenics. This list, from Cancer: 101 Solutions to a Preventable Epidemic (New Society Publishers, 2007) by Liz Armstrong et al, cautions against 10 household products, in addition to cleaners, that you should avoid having in your house.
1. Air fresheners: Often contain napthelene and formaldehyde. Try zeolite or natural fragrances from essential oils.
2. Art supplies: Epoxy and rubber cement glues, acrylic paints and solvents, and permanent markers often contain carcinogens.
3. Automotive supplies: Most are toxic. Keep them safely away from the house and dispose of at a hazardous waste disposal center.
4. Candles: Avoid artificially scented paraffin candles that produce combustion by-products, including soot. Beeswax only, with cotton wicks.
5. Carpet and upholstery shampoos: Use only wet-clean, natural ingredients.
6. Dry-cleaning: Choose clothes that don’t need perchlorethylene to clean them. Ask for the wet-cleaning option at you local cleaners, or seek dry-cleaners that use liquid C02 or citrus juice cleaners.
7. Flea, tick and lice control: Avoid lindane-based pesticides.
8. Paints and varnishes: Always chose low- or no-VOC finishes.
9. Household pesticides: Go natural. Make a Sugar Ant Hotel.
10. Microwaves: Never microwave or heat food in a plastic container.