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Thursday, July 5, 2012

Known carcinogens around your home

Toxic, carcinogenic chemicals are in your food containers, cleaning products, cosmetics, mothballs and more.
Globally, the burden of cancer increased two folds between 1975 and 2000, and it is said to double again by 2020, and triple by 2030. While tobacco, we know is highly carcinogenic, there are many other toxic chemicals that can put you at an increased risk of cancer. Look into our list of carcinogens (cancer causers) around the house, and try eliminating them from your home.

Remove these cancer hazards from your home

1. Non-stick cookware

Yes, they might help reduce your oil intake, but they can potentially put you at a higher risk of cancer. Early studies show that non-stick surfaces that contain perfluorooctanoic acid can put one at risk of liver cancer. So do away with your non-stick pots and pans, and use stainless-steel ones. Coat them with vegetable oil before cooking to reduce oil consumption.

2. Aluminium utensils

Aluminium carries a substantial risk of toxicity. Studies in the recent past have shown that leaching of aluminium into food can put one at risk of cancer and also Alzheimer’s. However, scratch-resistant, anodised aluminium cookware is safe, as it prevents leaching of the metal into food. But make sure you throw them if you see it chip away.

3. Plastic containers

While choosing plastic containers for food and water, it’s important to remember that not all plastics are safe and that the chemicals used can be highly carcinogenic. Most plastic items have an identification coding system.  Based on that, choose the safer options.
In any case, plastics are not your best bet for food and water. If you can’t do away with plastic completely, at least make sure you throw away old containers, particularly those with heavy scratches. Older plastics tend to leach increasing amounts of toxins. Also,  do not microwave foods in plastic containers. Heating plastics increases the chances of leaching chemicals entering your food, exposing you to toxins.

4. Scented candles

Artificially scented paraffin wax candles that produce soot are very bad for you. Always opt for beeswax candles as they are a safer bet any day.  

5. Air fresheners

Most air fresheners contain naphthalene and formaldehyde, two very well-known carcinogens. Additionally, they also contain many other toxic chemicals. If you do want a sweet scent around your home, use natural aromatic oils. To do away with bad odour, you could keep a small cup with baking soda around the corners of a room. Baking soda helps absorb all odour, leaving your living space free of any bad smells.

6. Dry cleaning

Dry cleaning involves using a host of chemicals like benzene, formaldehyde, naphthalene trichloroethylene – all of which are highly toxic carcinogens. And if you have ever smelt your dry-cleaned clothes you’ll be familiar with a petrol-like odour. That odour essentially comes from chemical fumes emitting from your dry-cleaned clothes, and it stay on for days together. This could potentially increasing your exposure to harmful, cancer-causing chemicals. So avoid dry cleaning as much as possible.

7. Mothballs

Yes, they smell terrible. Mothballs essentially contain naphthalene, as pointed out earlier, a very well-known carcinogen. The scent of mothballs in your wardrobe and on your clothes means you’re inhaling a harmful insecticide. Do away with these altogether and use organic moth and insect repellents instead.

8. Other pesticides and insecticides

There are a host of products today that claim to eliminate everything from roaches to ants that make your home their den. These sprays and solutions may rid your house of insects but contain many harmful cancer-causing toxins. There are many natural solutions that can do the same job effectively. Here are some options: For roaches, make a mixture of one cup baking soda with one spoon of sugar. Scatter it around the house. The sugar ends up attracting cockroaches whereas the baking soda works as poison. For ants, you could try wiping your kitchen counter and any other places you find a trickle of ants with white vinegar.

9. Paints and varnishes

Paints contain VOCs, meaning volatile organic compounds, which are known carcinogens. These VOCs in paint are released into the air and can cause harm even years after application. Make sure you choose paints with low or no-VOC finishes to steer clear of this harmful toxin in your home.
Sent by Ms. Mathangi

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