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How Household Chemicals Pose A Threat To Your Health Indoors And Outdoors

 width= One thing you can be sure of is that "natural news" sites will always be ahead of the mainstream media when it comes to giving out warnings on what can harm your health - and what to avoid for a safer lifestyle. By the time mainstream media starts to publicize and warn you, many months or even years could have passed. The latest such example is this "big reveal" - the health risk from household chemicals. We are now being told that household and personal care products from paint to perfume have emerged as a major source of air pollution - releasing almost as many tiny harmful particles into the air as vehicle traffic. We have written different posts on this in the past but it certainly cannot be emphasized too much. The difference is that mainstream media are only underscoring the dangers of household chemicals when they enter the outdoors. Meanwhile, the dangers from those same household chemicals are equally high when they affect you, your family and your indoor air quality.

Studies are finding that home products produce as many VOCS as motor vehicles

Lead author (of a recent study) Brian McDonald of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in the USA said: "We were surprised to find out that the personal care products you find on your bathroom counter could be as large a source of VOCs as motor vehicles - and this is a startling finding to atmospheric scientists." The scientists tell us that VOCs escape from our homes to react with traffic fumes and sunlight to create smog. The findings were published in the journal Science and were based on research conducted in Los Angeles. Traffic remains a bigger source of pollution overall because diesel motors (in particular) also emit harmful gases such as nitrogen dioxide which is the other major source of air pollution.

What are VOCs?

These are the volatile organic compounds and chemicals derived from oil and found in numerous household and personal products, to make them fragrant and liquid. They are hazardous to your health. Common VOCs include:
  • Acetone which is a solvent found in nail polish and paint and which liquefies the product before quickly evaporating to leave a solid end result.
  • Ethanol which carries the scent of perfume and other products from the skin or other application straight to the nose.

How can you reduce the health hazards from household chemicals?

  1. Change to natural versions of cleaning agents. Change from VOC paints and other products to zero VOC versions. If you have to use the hazardous products, don't leave the lids off their containers because they quickly evaporate.
  2. Avoid buying those products that appear excessively or unnecessarily fragrant. Those "pleasant" smelling products will usually contain at least two types of VOCs - used both to make the smell and to transport the scent.
  3. Avoid commercial hair sprays and other hair products and change to more natural products instead.
  4. Avoid painting your nails with commercial nail polish and of course try to keep away from those toxic "Nail Bars".
  5. Put pressure whenever and wherever possible to persuade manufacturers to change their ways and their products by eliminating unnecessary fragrance and using alternative solvents such as water.
  6. Re-consider the type of candles and room fresheners you use.
All these changes will give you better quality and healthier indoor air as well as lessening the environmental impact outdoors.