Every day, thousands of unseen toxins fill the air you breathe most — the air in your home. While most Americans are attempting to green their homes, some of the most common household items happen to be the biggest pollutants. Things like your carpet, the bed you sleep in and even your bookshelf can carry highly toxic pollutants that can affect your lungs, central nervous system and brain function, according to the EPA
Some people are more prone to short-term and long-term effects of these unseen toxins. Greg Horn, the former CEO of GNC, was rushed to the hospital in his adult life as a result of toxic buildup in his system from everyday household appliances. While his case was extreme and unlikely in the average individual, short-term effects distress thousands of people on a daily basis, but go undetected because their conditions are blamed on something else. Asthma, eczema and sinus disease can all be the result of toxicity buildup in the body.
If someone wants to truly go green, he or she will have to do more than choose organic produce and recycle the milk jug. He or she will have to slowly remedy the largest aspects of his or her home. Not many people have enough money to renovate their entire home, but making small improvements will eventually add up to big changes.
The most common unseen toxins
According to an MSNBC news affiliate in Orlando
, mattresses can be a primary culprit in making you sick. The affiliate says there are no government regulations on what a company can put into a mattress. “The only government requirement is that mattresses must be flame-retardant, which means many mattresses are packed with irritating chemicals like pesticides and formaldehyde.” These highly toxic chemicals slowly leach into the air. Think about it: You sleep on a mattress an average of eight hours a day, and your head is very close to these toxic pollutants.
Your carpet is another highly toxic, unseen enemy lurking in the shadows of your home. Synthetic carpets are packed with toxic chemicals. These include toluene, benzene, formaldehyde, ethyl benzene, styrene, acetone and a host of other chemicals, some of which have already made the EPA’s list of Extremely Hazardous Substances
. Some of these chemicals, especially those hidden in new carpet, have been shown to cause abnormal fetal development in lab animals. They are also highly cancer causing and can cause damage to the central nervous system
The carpet in your home isn’t the only concern when it comes to toxins. Furniture made of particleboard is also very toxic and can affect the health of those living in your home. Particleboard appears to be eco-friendly at a first glance, but can be very harmful humans. Particleboard is made from recycled wood, but it is packed with various chemicals to preserve it and strengthen it. Bookshelves, storage units and even couches and chairs can be made from particleboard. The main chemical found in particleboard is formaldehyde. According to Green Living Tips
, “Low-level irritations can irritate the eyes and nasal passages. Large doses are fatal. Formaldehyde is considered as a likely human carcinogen in the European union.” It’s not formaldehyde alone in particleboard that’s the issue. Formaldehyde is combined with other toxic chemicals that produce even greater toxicity.
You may think that a simple solution to buying a toxin-free mattress is to purchase an organic mattress, but unfortunately it’s not that easy. An organic mattress simply means it was made from 100% organic fibers. All organic mattresses are still sprayed with toxic chemicals to meet the flame-retardant federal government requirement. If you want to purchase a truly toxin-free mattress, you will have to obtain a prescription from a doctor in order to override the federal requirement.
An easier tip: Either purchase all-natural rugs or real wood flooring to be installed in your home. Many natural rugs are not only safer for your family, but they are also more durable and are naturally stain resistant. Be sure to advise the carpet company that you do not want toxic or traditional glue when installing the carpet. Ask the provider about its eco-alternatives when installing the carpet.
As mentioned above, don’t buy particleboard. Purchase only solid wood furniture to avoid the toxic chemicals. Solid wood furniture is not only toxin-free, but it also lasts much longer and is sturdier than particleboard. Buy certified organic furniture to ensure your safety.
Unfortunately, living in a convenience-oriented society comes with a price. In this day and age, living green requires a person to be a defensive shopper. Do research and your homework before purchasing items for your home. Just because it says it’s eco-friendly doesn’t mean it’s safe. Be aware of the unseen toxins hiding in your home and replace them little by little.