There are many building materials like lead and asbestos which can be a sources of home toxins. Here's how to identify and reduce your exposure to them.

There are over 167 million registered chemicals that we’re exposed to on a regular basis, and less than 1 percent are tested for toxicity!

Are you worried about the home toxins and dangerous chemicals you encounter every day without even realizing it?

If so, read on to learn about the most common ones. You’ll also find some tips that can help you reduce your exposure.

Phthalates

Phthalates are one of the most common environmental toxins to which you’re likely exposing yourself.

These toxins enter your home from a lot of different sources. This includes vinyl flooring, vinyl blinds, cleaning products, and personal care products (deodorant, perfume, shampoo, etc.).

Phthalates may contribute to hormone disruption and problems with the reproductive system. They can contribute to developmental abnormalities, too.

How to Reduce Exposure

To reduce your exposure to phthalates, check the labels on products to ensure they’re labeled phthalate-free. When you’re shopping for things for your house (like blinds or floorboards), ask a store manager or get in touch with the manufacturer to find out if they contain phthalates.

Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers

Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers (or PBDEs) are industrial chemicals that are often used as flame retardants. Throughout the world, the use of PBDEs is becoming less common, but they’re still somewhat popular in the United States.

Some research links PBDEs to a variety of problems, including thyroid dysfunction, poor memory, and poor reproductive health. 

How to Reduce Exposure

To avoid exposure to PBDEs, try not to buy products that have been treated by flame retardants, such as furniture, bedding, and clothing.

Do a quick search before pulling the trigger on new items, especially when they have a high price tag. No one wants to spend their hard-earned money on something potentially toxic, right?

PBDEs can also be found in dust. Keep your house clean and as dust-free as possible to minimize the amount you’re breathing in.

Volatile Organic Compounds

Volatile Organic Compounds (or VOCs) are chemicals that are easily vaporized and can bring gas pollutants into your home. There are over 400 different compounds that fall under the VOC umbrella, and many of them are found in household products like carpeting.

VOC exposure is associated with eye, nose, and throat irritation. They can also contribute to headaches, dizziness, and memory issues. Long-term exposure can increase your risk of certain types of cancers, too, as well as liver and kidney damage.

How to Reduce Exposure

To reduce exposure, look for products that are labeled as “low-VOC” or “VOC-free.”

If you are bringing products into your house that contain large amounts of VOCs, such as carpeting, let them off-gas first. Off-gassing means unwrapping products and letting them air out to reduce VOC concentrations. 

Dioxins

Dioxins are chemicals that are formed from incomplete combustion processes. This includes incineration of commercial and municipal waste, chlorine bleaching, and wood, coal, and oil-burning.

Exposure to dioxins can contribute to various health issues. For example, it may cause reproductive problems, developmental disorders, skin rashes and discoloration, and liver damage.

How to Reduce Exposure

To avoid dioxin exposure, make sure you’re not burning unsafe items in your fireplace. This includes items like plastic and PCP-treated wood, both of which can contain chlorine.

Mold

Mold can grow anywhere in your home, but it’s especially common in places where water accumulates. This includes bathrooms, the cabinets under the sink in your kitchen, and the laundry room.

Mold exposure can cause health challenges like headaches, migraines, fatigue, and respiratory issues. It may suppress the immune system and make you more susceptible to other health conditions as well. 

How to Reduce Exposure

The easiest way to reduce mold exposure is to keep your home clean and dry.

Check the areas of your house that are most likely to experience mold growth regularly. That way, if there is any water buildup, you can take care of it right away before mold starts taking over. 

If you do notice mold growing, consider reaching out to a mold remediation professional. They will help you find all the mold in your home and clear as much of it out as possible.

Lead

Heavy metals like lead are also common and dangerous toxins in your home.

Lead may exist in paint, preserved wood, and even drinking water in some places. If it gets into the soft tissues of the body, it can cause serious problems, such as neurological disorders, fatigue, and decreased red and white blood cell production.

How to Reduce Exposure

To reduce your lead exposure, start by installing a water filter on your faucet or using a countertop water filter to reduce the lead content in your drinking water.

If you live in a building that was built before 1978, find out if lead paint was used on your walls. Depending on the answer you get, you may want to consider repainting.

Asbestos

Of all the chemical hazards in the home, asbestos is one of the most problematic.

Asbestos is a natural mineral and a carcinogen. Asbestos exposure can cause mesothelioma, a malignant tumor that forms in the heart, lungs, and abdomen.  

According to the experts at http://www.hcienv.com/services/asbestos-lead-mold.asp, lots of buildings contain asbestos. This is because it was once used in spray-applied flame retardant products and thermal insulation.

How to Reduce Exposure

Don’t try to get rid of asbestos on your own.

If you’re concerned about asbestos in your home, it’s best to contact an asbestos removal professional. They will have access to the equipment and protective gear that’s needed to remove asbestos and ensure your home is safe.

Combat These Home Toxins Today

As you can see, there are a lot of home toxins that might be building up and affecting you and your loved ones.

Are you ready to start reducing your exposure to toxins? If so, keep this list in mind so you can keep yourself and your family healthy and safe.

Do you want to learn more about improving your home’s air quality and overall cleanliness? Visit the Life & Household section of our site today for more tips and tricks.