GO NATURAL: 5 chemicals to avoid at home, part 3
Sources for this post:
Link to part 1: https://chronicillnesswarriorsite.com/2016/11/22/go-natural-5-chemicals-to-avoid-at-home-part-1/
Link to part 2: https://chronicillnesswarriorsite.com/2016/11/29/go-natural-5-chemicals-to-avoid-at-home-part-2/
Radon is a natural, odorless radioactive gas that can seep into homes from the ground. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer (and the leading cause for nonsmokers) and can be detected with a test kit. Test for radon with one of these kits, then call in a radon remediation contractor if the levels are too high—4 picocuries per liter (pCi/L) or higher. Levels between 2 pCi/L and 4 pCi/L can still pose a risk and in many cases can be reduced; consult a specialist.
Most of the research on atrazine’s hormone-mimicking effects has been conducted in fish and frogs. Like a freaky science-fiction plot, the chemical causes male fish and frogs to turn into females. Research into humans, however, has shown that the pesticide increases the activity of genes that cause infertility.
Atrazine is the second most widely used herbicide in the United States (behind glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup), according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and 86% of it is applied to corn.
To avoid it, go organic! Organic farmers are prohibited from using toxic synthetic herbicides like atrazine. And eat less meat. Despite corn’s reputation as serving as the building block for numerous processed-food ingredients, 80% of U.S.-grown corn is sold both domestically and internationally as animal feed, according to the National Corn Growers Association, so the herbicide is present in their meat after the animals are slaughtered.
Roundup, the most widely used herbicide in the country, is sprayed on everything from cotton to canola, lawns to golf courses. So it stands to reason that the stuff winds up in our air and water. But when you’re eating “Roundup Ready” food, as in, food that’s been genetically modified to withstand all those Roundup applications, you’re eating it too, according to plant pathologist Don Huber, PhD, professor emeritus at Purdue University. That’s problematic because scientists are learning that Roundup affects defensive enzymes our bodies use to keep us healthy. Roundup also reduces a plant’s ability to take up vital micronutrients that humans require for survival.
Corn, soy, and canola are common crops that have been genetically engineered to withstand heavy dousings of Roundup (or other glyphosate-containing chemicals), and foods containing these ingredients tend to contain higher levels of Roundup than other crops do. To avoid genetically engineered (GE) foods and Roundup in your food, buy organic.
Nasty indoor air-polluting culprits, volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, could be trashing your indoor air, especially in the kitchen, the basement, or even the laundry room. (Scented, petroleum-based laundry detergents contain high levels of VOCs.) These hazardous chemicals are linked to asthma and, in some instances, even cancer, and they add to indoor air pollution. Pressed wood and particleboard cabinets and other furniture are big emitters of the VOC (and carcinogen) formaldehyde in the home, too.
Instead, choose unscented, plant-based detergents, or go old-school and use castile soap or washing soda and borax to clean your clothing. For new paint projects, choose readily available no-VOC paint, and avoid storing paint in your garage or basement–fumes can escape even tightly closed lids and enter your home. Avoid plywood and particleboard when buying new household furnishings, and keep VOCs contained by sealing any plywood or particleboard furniture with a product like AFM Safecoat Safe Seal.
Sure, it’s convenient to drop your clothing off with a dry cleaner, but the cleaning chemical of choice in this country remains perchloroethylene, also known as PCE, or perc. This chemical is classified a probable carcinogen and is linked to kidney, liver, and central nervous system damage. It’s not something you want to wear or have holed up in your home closet. Although many states and cities are phasing out perc, it’s still among the most widely used dry-cleaning chemicals.
You can work around “Dry Clean Only” instructions on clothing tags. You just need to know how to treat different types of fabric. Read Dry Clean Only? Nah, There Are Cheaper, Safer Ways for instructions on cleaning delicates like wool, rayon, and silk.