09 April 2008

16 Ways To Heal Your Home

Co-op America outlines the problems with 16 conventional household products. Click here to go to Co-op America's Healthy Home Center to learn about SOLUTIONS for those 16 hazardous household products.

1) Conventional body care products – More than one-third of personal care products contain at least one ingredient linked to cancer, and very few products are tested for safety. Some products contain phthalates‚ which don't appear in the list of a product's ingredients -- instead they are covered by the general term "fragrance."

2) Chemical Air Fresheners – Air fresheners contain dangerous ingredients like dichlorobenzene‚ naphthalene‚ and formaldehyde.

3) PVC Shower Curtains – Polyvinyl chloride, also known as PVC‚ the vinyl in your shower curtain‚ is a plastic that’s dangerous to people and the environment at every stage of its lifecycle.

4) Conventional Cleaners – Many household cleaners contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs), such as formaldehyde‚ harsh acids‚ and hormone disruptors.

5) Paints and Stains – Conventional paints contain three chemicals worth worrying about: VOCs‚ fungicides‚ and biocides. Other problematic ingredients can include mercury‚ arsenic disulfide‚ phenol‚ and formaldehyde.

6) Furniture – Some wood furniture can release VOCs from adhesives and finishes. Urea formaldehyde is used in particle board furniture. Most upholstered furniture is treated with flame-retardant polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PDBEs).

7) Flooring – Wall-to-wall carpets harbor allergens and trap toxins. Most synthetic carpets and their adhesives also emit VOCs. Carpeting may be treated with benzyl benzoate or other chemicals for mothproofing or to repel moisture.

8) Vinyl Siding – Home siding can be the single largest use of vinyl‚ made from PVC‚ in a home. Vinyl siding often contains DEHP‚ an additive‚ and a phthalate.

9) Wooden Decks and Playsets – Until a few years ago, pressure-treated wood for decks and play equipment was routinely covered in chromium copper arsenate (CCA) to kill insects and prevent rot. CCA leaches arsenic that sticks to the hands and is absorbed through skin.

10) Pesticides – Too many homeowners needlessly use hazardous chemicals on their lawns, and these chemicals can drift into their homes and pollute indoor air.

11) Cookware – Non-stick pans with Teflon or Teflon-like coatings contain polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), which break down into the air at high temperatures.

12) Plastics – Hard-to-recycle plastics often contain toxins that can leach into food and water‚ especially when heated.

13) Conventional Produce – Many non-organic fruits and vegetables carry pesticide residue. Twenty-three of the world's 28 most commonly used pesticides are suspected carcinogens, and several are possible neurotoxins and endocrine disruptors.

14) Seafood – Some fish can contain mercury and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). Some experts say that FDA and EPA fish consumption limits, established to keep pregnant women and children safe‚ are too lax.

15) Bed linens – Toxic chemicals that resist flames, water, moths, stains, and wrinkles are sometimes added to textiles like bedclothes. Labels like "permanent-press‚" "no-iron‚" "water repellent‚" and "flame retardant‚" may indicate fabric treatments that off-gas chemicals like formaldehyde and perfluorochemicas (PFCs).

16) Mattresses – Federal laws require mattresses to be fire resistant, so many manufacturers treat the mattress foam with flame-retardant chemicals. The most dangerous are polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs)‚ which some manufacturers are phasing out voluntarily.

Need solutions or more details? Click here to go to Co-op America's Healthy Home Center to learn about SOLUTIONS for those 16 hazardous household products.


  1. Nice concise list- but kind of scary as I think all homes contain quite a few of these items. Its a good thing that there are more affordable options out there now than before, for example, organic cotton sheets from target (very soft!) and replacing shower curtains with cloth (wash when needed) or a PVC-free curtain, also from target.

    I'm not sure where to find safe mattresses.. maybe IKEA?

  2. rp, i agree. scary!

    yes, ikea is a good place to start. on their website, specifically for their mattresses:

    "the general policy at ikea is to avoid all chemicals that are not absolutely necessary. that's why we deliberately refrain from using antibacterial treatments, anti-mite chemicals and stain protection that could possibly react against your skin. all mattresses are tested for chemicals to ensure that they meet strictest standards in the countries in which they are sold"

    "flammability. tests are conducted by placing a cigarette on different areas of the mattress. for UK and North America, the requirements are higher, and an open flame is used to test flame resistance (for UK and NA flame retardant is used on the mattresses). Here ikea has made an exception from the rule to apply the strictest legislation in any of the countries we sell in. the reason is that the treatment for fire resistance has a negative effect on the environment and health. ikea has banned the most hazardous brominated flame-retardants. For the UK and US markets we only use a phosphor organic flame retardant which is a less hazardous flame retardant. the requirement is that the mattress cannot catch on fire."

  3. Hi, this is exactly that I looking for, let me explain you, I married in a mounth and I will need some advices to keep my house clean and fresh.