These 5 Everyday Household Objects Are Even Worse For You Than Car Fumes
Sealing yourself indoors seems like the best way to avoid airborne ills, but what you inhale at home can be seriously dirty too — with the worst offenders hiding in plain sight.
And pollution isn’t just some foreign threat. It’s been linked to bronchitis, asthma, premature death, respiratory illness, cardiovascular disease, weight gain, cognitive decline, Parkinson’s disease, diabetes and brain health. Phew. Plan a search-and-destroy mission with these tips to ID the pollution in your home.
In The Sink
Spores thrive in moist spots (sinks, shower curtains, baths), inducing breathing problems and potentially harming your immune system.
The solution: Keep your pad’s humidity below 50 percent (check with a hygrometer, like this one from Takealot.com). Any higher, dry things out with an air conditioner or dehumidifier. Weekly, wipe damp areas with a solution of one cup of bleach to three litres of water.
Paraffin candles emit headache-causing chemicals like benzene and toluene, plus soot. Scented ones let off VOCs.
The solution: Choose soybean types, which give off less soot. We rate SoyLites’ travel candles: the candles emit zero toxic fumes and double up as a moisturising body oil.
Flame retardants that get to work as your TV heats up when in use – the same goes for computers, e-readers and mobile phones. These can be toxic and can even upset your hormonal balance.
The solution: Switching off your electronics overnight and allowing them to fully cool down – rather than leaving them on standby or on night mode – can make a difference to the levels of these chemicals in the dust and air around you.
Your Air Freshener
Air fresheners and scented candles often contain limonene, which provides that citrus smell. Sounds innocent enough, but when limonene meets particles in the air, it transforms into the carcinogen formaldehyde.
The solution: English ivy, geraniums, lavender and ferns can absorb formaldehyde from household air.
Your Shower Curtain
Plastic shower curtains could contain PVC (polyvinyl chloride), which softens plastic but also emits toxic compounds including phthalates and lead.
The solution: Opt for a glass screen or, failing that, curtains free from PVC, like those made from cotton.