Environmental groups and laws regularly 'police' the emission of toxins and pollutants into the outside air and waterways. But who is monitoring the toxins that you and I encounter in everyday household products and household chores?
Take, for example, microwaving food. Some plastic containers contain chemicals that mimic the actions of certain hormones, disrupting the proper balance of these hormones in the body. These chemicals attach themselves to the food in the plastic containers in the microwave when they are heated.
Or how about dry cleaning your clothes? While there are strict laws on the chemicals that can be released into the air, many clothes are dry cleaned using perchloroethylene, or PERC, that leaves that familiar dry-cleaning smell in your clothes. PERC is being evaluated for its role in causing breast and other cancers. If your dry cleaner uses PERC, remove the clothes from the plastic bags and allow them to air before putting them away.
Other common pollutants we encounter in our homes every day include:
- Pollutants in the community water supply, from people dumping everything down their drains, from prescription drugs and cleaning solvents to motor oil and paint thinner.
- Pesticides, molds and other allergens in carpets that become airborne and spread throughout your home when you vacuum.
- Carpet, bedding and furniture that contain commercially-manufactured flame retardants that wreak havoc on thyroid hormones; look for furniture and bedding that is made with natural fibers such as cotton and wool.
- Pesticides and herbicides used in lawn care, that affect the endocrine hormones, are often tracked into homes by both pets and children; use only organic compounds instead.
- Pesticides ingested through the produce we purchase in supermarkets; organic foods are far better in terms of a healthy, non-toxic solution.
Most of us are unaware of the risks we face from pollutants inside our own homes. Take an inventory of the chemicals you encounter inside your home.
Become more vigilant about your exposure to countless chemicals which, when combined, can tax your immune system, produce chronic allergic reactions and compromise your overall health.
Dr. Steven L. Levy is a chiropractor in Woodbury.