Whilst all of us would like to think that our home is kept clean, it might come as a surprise to some to learn just how toxic our home might be. The majority of us keep disinfectant, bleach and various other kinds of cleaning fluids in our home – all of which will usually contain chemicals which are toxic and there is plenty of other evidence of toxic materials present on your property if you know where to look. Here are some of the most common places you’ll find toxic materials in and around the home and what you can do to minimise the risks.
Kitchen And Bathroom Storage Areas
Whether it’s bleach, disinfectant or some other kind of cleaning agent, the vast majority will contain dangerous chemicals and substances. It could be the ammonia and chlorine present in the likes of bleach which can cause irritation of the eyes and respiratory tract as well as causing headaches and burning your skin if handled incorrectly. Chlorine exposure can also be particularly harmful to children as it can be a trigger for asthma or can worsen an existing asthmatic condition. And, whilst TV advertisements will often lure you in to buying these types of products by preying on insecurities such as the germs that will “lurk everywhere” if you don’t choose a particular product, you can now buy more environmentally friendly and chemical-free cleaning materials. Furthermore, it really won’t harm you at all and your environment will be just as clean if you just use plain old soap and water and put a little more physical effort into your cleaning.
In The Garden
Gardens can be one of the most toxic places on a property if you use pesticides and any other chemical form of pest or weed control. In addition to these types of products being especially dangerous to young children and pets that might be playing in the garden, incorrect use of pesticides can also kill off other forms of wildlife and plants which you are trying to attract to the garden. Organic gardening has to be one of the most sensible ways of not only gardening safely and maintaining the natural ecology balance within your garden but if you’re growing vegetables or fruits, they’ll taste better too.
Garden sheds are probably the most toxic areas on anybody’s property. Take a look in your shed and see how many containers you’ll have in it which are toxic. Tins of paint and related items such as wood stain, turpentine and maybe gas for barbecues and petrol containers etc. will often be stored in a shed and much of the time, they will have well passed their recommended usage date. The solution to this is twofold. Either throw away these kinds of containers when you are finished working on a project even if they’re not empty or only buy the amount you need. People often hoard things because they think it’s a waste of money to throw things away so, for example, they’ll keep a used tin of wood stain that might be less than a quarter full for when a particular fence or gate needs staining again. The problem here is usually that when the time comes around to undertaking the project again, people will generally buy a new and improved product that has come onto the market since the last time so the used tin stays on a shelf in the shed anyway.
Buying only what you need is another solution to the problem. For example, most of us will buy far more tins of paint for a decorating project than we actually need. However, the smart choice is to perhaps underestimate the amount when you go to buy it. After all, how difficult is it to go back to the DIY store if you need one further tin when you get to the end of a project?
Other Toxic Areas Of Your Home To Consider
A loft or attic is another of those places where people tend to store things like tins of paint so these should be cleared out too. A home office or study is likely to have a photocopier machine and printer which uses inks and toners that contain chemicals which can cause irritation to the eyes and lungs. Therefore, you should try to reduce the amount of printing and copying that you carry out. Ask yourself if something really needs to be printed. Might it not be stored elsewhere on the computer? For example, if you always print off your bank statements and file them, can you not create a folder on your desktop and just keep the statements in that or if you need to send a document to somebody, can it not be e-mailed instead? The other thing is to ensure that your home office has plenty of ventilation which will reduce the impact of the effects of using inks and toners.
Even some children’s toys are lead-coated which can be highly dangerous. Exposure to lead has been linked with attention deficit disorders, lower IQ and other behavioural problems in children. Then there are things like mothballs in wardrobes and the plastic bags that are placed over your clothes which have been dry-cleaned that can often have traces of dry-cleaning fluid left on them so you should remove them straight away. The vapour from mothballs are carcinogenic and can cause problems with cancer over the long-term so suitable alternatives could be using moth-repellent products such as lavender and cedar.
Perhaps you’ve never really given much thought to the presence of toxic chemicals and substances in your home but now that you’re aware of the dangers, at least you know there are safer alternatives and other useful tips to reduce the levels of toxicity which will make your home a safer place to live.