Thursday, 31 January 2019

20 Household Items You Should Throw Out Immediately

Unknown dangers are prowling in your home, and you are most likely not even aware of them. Unfortunately, you have no control over most of it – with few exceptions. You don’t have to “go green” to protect your family from toxic chemicals hiding in cleaning products, kitchen sponges, cookware, mothballs, and even scented candles. Possible damage can result in infertility, cancer, emphysema, kidney tissue damage, and birth defects, to name a few, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) says.

Unless you got a new toothbrush a month ago, throw it out. They have to be replaced at least every 3–4 months, according to American Dental Association (ADA). The bristles become frayed and worn with use and cleaning effectiveness will decrease. Check brushes often for wear and replace them more frequently if needed. Children toothbrushes need replacing more frequently than adult brushes.

Dish sponge
The sponge is often referred to as the dirtiest item in the kitchen, if not in the entire house. It is 200,000 times dirtier than a toilet seat – and could even cause paralysis due to bacteria called campylobacter. There are around 10 million bacteria per square inch of a kitchen sponge and a million per square inch on a dish cloth, according to research. Fecal bacteria from raw meat fester in the moist environment. Change it every week or so.

Oven cleaners
The problem with oven cleaners is the sodium hydroxide in them. It’s also found in drain openers. The chemical is very corrosive and can cause redness and skin burns if it comes in contact with the skin. It’s toxic if ingested. Choose baking soda paste instead. You can safely clean a drain by pouring baking soda and a cup of vinegar in it. Run hot water down the drain after 30 minutes when the bubbles stop.

Air fresheners
The problem with air fresheners is the phthalates in them. These chemicals can lead to hormonal imbalances and reproductive problems. Side effects for men include lower testosterone levels, decreased sperm counts, and lower sperm quality, according to the National Resource Defense Council. Exposure to phthalates during development can also cause malformations of the male reproductive tract and testicular cancer. Many air fresheners don’t even list phthalates as an ingredient.

Certain makeup products
Most common products’ shelf life is 24 months; mascara is three months. Makeup products have a lot of preservatives to keep them fresh. As time goes by, they become less effective leading to change in color and consistency of the product. Also, bacteria inside the product start to grow without the preservatives, which can damage your skin.

Non-stick cookware
Non-stick pans and pots are very tempting but can also be harmful. This kind of cookware has been made with chemicals that can be harmful to the liver, thyroid, and immune system in general. The problem is perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). Toxicological studies on animals indicate potential developmental, reproductive and systemic effects, according to the EPA. Go for stainless steel, glass, ceramic, or iron pots and pans.

Expired food products
Some items have a very long shelf life and that’s why people forget to check the expiration date. But it’s there for a reason. Products won’t work after a certain amount of time. You can risk food poisoning, cramping, and vomiting.

Old air filters
A poorly maintained AC system can become contaminated and potentially harmful, studies suggest. Moisture-related HVAC components such as cooling coils and humidification systems may be sources of contaminants that cause adverse health effects. Findings also provide an initial suggestion that outdoor air intakes lower than 18 stories in office buildings may be associated with substantial increases in many symptoms such as worsening asthma problems and allergies.

Antibacterial soap
“Antibacterial” only sounds like a good product but it’s the triclosan component in the soap that causes problems. The Food and Drug Administration says that animal studies have shown triclosan, alters hormone regulation. Other studies in bacteria have raised the possibility that triclosan contributes to making bacteria resistant to antibiotics. The ingredient kills all – bad and good bacteria. Wash your hands with water and regular soap to prevent the spread of germs, or use natural hand and dish soaps that don’t have triclosan, chlorine, or phosphates in them.

Scented candles
They may smell good but what you’re inhaling can really harm you. The benzene chemicals can irritate the skin and cause breathing problems. Reproductive issues and damage to the brain and central nervous system have also been listed as possible side effects, according to the EPA. As they burn, the candles release toluene, another carcinogen. Consider essential oils or soy-based candles as replacements.

Pressed-wood products
In 2016, EPA published a final rule to reduce exposure to formaldehyde emissions from certain wood products. Acute and chronic health effects of formaldehyde vary depending on the individual, according to the CDC. Common symptoms from acute exposure to formaldehyde manifest as irritation of the throat, nose, eyes, and skin. This upper respiratory tract irritation can exacerbate asthma symptoms. Chronic exposure can also lead to chronic bronchitis, and obstructive lung disease.

Old medication
Expired medical products can be less effective or risky due to a change in chemical composition or a decrease in strength, according to the FDA. Certain old meds are at risk of bacterial growth. Sub-potent antibiotics can fail to treat infections, leading to more serious illnesses and antibiotic resistance.

Gas space heaters
Anything that is powdered with gas releases toxins into the air. This is especially dangerous if you’re using the heater inside because it can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning. Every year, at least 430 people die in the U. S. from accidental CO poisoning, according to the CDC. That’s why the agency recommends to never use a gas range or gas oven to heat a home.

Old paint
Homes or apartments built before 1978 may contain lead paint. The highly toxic metal can cause a range of health problems – damage to the brain and other vital organs, like the kidneys, nerves and blood, according to the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Lead may also cause learning disabilities and seizures. Signs of lead poisoning include headaches, stomachaches, nausea, tiredness, Kids may show no symptoms.

Bleached products
These include chlorinated paper towels, toilet paper, and bleached coffee filters. Long-term exposure to chlorine gas has resulted in respiratory effects among workers, including eye and throat irritation and airflow obstruction, according to the EPA. Bleached white flour is usually made with benzoyl peroxide, and cake flour is bleached with chlorine dioxide. Both chemicals are considerably bad for you.

Plastic containers
You may have heard of the toxic bisphenol-A (BPA) found in plastics. BPA disrupts normal endocrine function, studies have shown. The chemical can have a significant impact on the brain. BPA also messes with hormones even at low doses, a University of Texas study has indicated. Don’t take a chance and switch to glass containers or stainless steel.

They are on the list because they can be dangerous to children. Some countries have banned moth balls containing the chemical naphthalene or paradichlorobenzene, according to the Connecticut Department of Public Health. Both become a gas when exposed to air which are irritating to the eyes and lungs and may cause headache, dizziness, and nausea. They are also both suspected of causing cancer. Naphthalene is the more toxic ingredient as it causes red blood cells to break apart, a condition known as hemolytic anemia.

Furniture polish
They are combustible and contain the chemicals such as phenol and nitrobenzene. They are easily absorbed by the skin. Nitrobenzene can cause many harmful health effects such as irritation, a blood condition called methemoglobinemia, which affects the ability of the blood to carry oxygen, headache, irritability, dizziness, weakness, and drowsiness, according to the Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry (ATSDR). Skin exposure to high levels of phenol has resulted in liver damage.

Toilet bowl cleaners
Acidic toilet bowl cleaners are among the most hazardous cleaning items you can find in your home because of their corrosive ingredients, the worst of which is hydrochloric acid, or HCl. It can lead to skin burns and eye pain if a person comes in contact with it. The effects can be even worse if mixed with chlorine bleach and ammonia. If inhaled, kidney damage and respiratory tract irritation are possible.

Multipurpose cleaners
The multipurpose cleaners widely used for windows and kitchen items have 2-butoxyethanol, the ingredient that gives cleaners their distinct smell. Many products don’t list this harmful chemical on the label because they are not legally required to do so. Side effects include breathing problems, low blood pressure, lowered levels of hemoglobin, and metabolic acidosis (high levels of acid in the body), according to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.

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