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10 Cancer-Causers to Remove From Your Home

10 Cancer-Causers to Remove From Your Home


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. I really am a happy person–not your basic Eeyore  type, but toxic cleaning products seriously get my goat. 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. For more  information, see Easy  Greening: Air Fresheners.

2. Art supplies: Epoxy and rubber cement glues, acrylic  paints and solvents, and permanent markers often contain carcinogens. For more  information, see Arts  and Crafts: Make it Safe.

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.  For more on beeswax candles, see The  Brilliant Beeswax Candle.

5. Carpet and upholstery shampoos: Use only wet-clean,  natural ingredients. For DIY carpet cleaning, see how to Remove  Stains and Pet Odors from Carpets.

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. For  more information, see Healthy  and Green Dry Cleaning.

7. Flea, tick and lice control: Avoid lindane-based  pesticides. For more information, see Natural  Flea and Tick Control.

8. Paints and varnishes: Always chose low- or no-VOC  finishes. For more information, see Is  Your Paint Making You Sick?

9. Household pesticides: Go natural. Make a Sugar  Ant Hotel.

10. Microwaves: Never microwave or heat food in a plastic  container. For more information about the dangers of food and plastic, see Kitchen  Plastic: Easy Greening.

Melissa Breyer

Melissa Breyer is a writer and editor with a background in sustainable  living, specializing in food, science and design. She is the co-author of True  Food (National Geographic) and has edited and written for regional and international books and periodicals, including The New York Times Magazine.  Melissa lives in Brooklyn, NY.

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