By Megan McChesney
Earth day is fast approaching, and that means that we’re thinking about chemicals and pollutants in our air, water and environment. But how about at home? It’s no secret that there are lots of chemicals in every home, and some are potentially harmful. But which are the worst offenders? The Silent Spring Institute—a research institute working primarily in the areas of environmental toxins and their potential link to particular cancers—conducted a study looking at the levels of specific chemicals that have links to asthma or reproductive abnormalities in consumer products.
As reported by Rodale News, the study looked at 170 different household products (including cleaners, shower curtains, soaps, cosmetics and more) for the presence of 66 different chemicals that can trigger breathing problems or reproductive abnormalities, including pthtalates, BPA, triclosan, parabens, glycol ethers and fragrances.
A full list of the products examined can be found on the Silent Spring Institute’s website, but here were the worst offenders.
• Fragranced products: anything with perfume or added fragrance is problematic, but the big ones were dryer sheets, perfumes and air fresheners.
• Vinyl shower curtains and bedding: one shower curtain tested was 28% phthalates by weight! A vinyl pillow protector—meant to reduce allergens—was also a high source of offending chemicals.
• Anything labelled “antibactierial”: antibacterial products of all kinds were shown to contain triclosan and triclocarban, which have been linked to the increase in drug-resistant bacteria.
What can you do? Avoid the types of products listed above, use fewer products to expose yourself to fewer chemicals, and opt for natural products when possible (i.e. baking soda vs. harsh cleansers).
This study also yielded some good news—11 products tested didn’t contain any one of the 66 target chemicals. These magical 11 products include Seventh-Generation Chlorine-Free Diapers, Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps Unscented Baby-Mild Castille Soap and Here’s the Scoop Natural Unscented Clay Clumping Cat Litter. See the full list here!
Read more about the study at Rodale News.