12 Household Items That Contain Harmful Chemicals (and How to Avoid Them)

Image via Øyvind Sandåker

General suggestions
  • Hire a commercial cleaning service that uses nontoxic methods of cleaning carpets, area rugs, and upholstered furniture.

  • Avoid buying items that harbor toxins in the first place. Read labels carefully. If the labels don’t provide enough information about the product, check out the manufacturer online and/or directly and ask questions.

  • Smell items before you buy them. This approach is not foolproof, however. According to Mary Cordaro, an environmental consultant, things that out-gas VOCs such as polyurethane foam, carpet padding, and upholstered items often have an odor for a while, but once they stop outgassing, “they continue to contaminate…with SVOCs at higher and higher levels over time,” and you can’t smell SVOCs. However, smell is still a good place to start.

  • Use indoor plants to help remove toxins from the air. Many common indoor plants such as Boston fern, bamboo palm, and peace lily help remove toxins such as toluene, benzene, and formaldehyde from the air.

  • If you must have clothing and linens dry cleaned, take them to a nontoxic dry cleaner.Buy second-hand pressed wood furniture. Most of the out-gassing will be done, and you can finish them with non-toxic varnishes or paints yourself. Or you can choose solid wood furniture only.

  • Rather than buy new carpeting or rugs, consider cleaning your current items with nontoxic methods or buying refurbished carpet.

  • New wood furniture and other items such as cabinets can be treated with a nontoxic sealer such as AFM Safecoat Safe Seal, which will contain VOCs.

  • Change the filters in your furnace and air conditioning units regularly, every one to three months, depending on usage. These filters can accumulate mold and mildew, which can cause and trigger asthma and allergic-type symptoms.

READ MORE: 5 Places Plastic Is Hiding In Your Home >>

Consumer Product Safety Commission. Phthalates.
MedicalDaily. Wash and wear.
Mercola.com. Carpet installation.
HealthyChild.org. Reduce your use of PVC in plastics and other household products.

By Andrea Donsky| August 18, 2017
Categories:  Nest

About the Author

Andrea Donsky

Andrea Donsky

Founder & Chief Passionista at NaturallySavvy.com. See my full bio here.

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