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5 Things to Remove From Your House Immediately

These common household items could make you seriously ill.
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

Are there dangerous toxins in your home? "There is increasing and accelerating evidence that synthetic chemicals commonly found in the home contribute to disease and disability," says Leonardo Trasande, MD, MPP. Here are five things to remove from your home immediately, experts say. Read on to find out more—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss Already Had COVID? These Symptoms May "Never Go Away".

1

BPA

Courtesy of Frego

Bisphenol A (BPA) is a chemical used to harden plastic and has been banned from use in baby bottles. "The nightmare scenario is that we one day find out that a lot more of our current disorders, including infertility and cancer, may be due to bisphenol A and only show up after cumulative exposure. But by then, we all have accumulated so much exposure that it's too late to reverse the effects," says Karin Michels, PhD. "You could say that about other substances just as much, but right now, bisphenol A is a top concern."

2

Pesticides

Gardener applying insecticidal fertilizer for fruit apples and protects against fungus, aphids and pests using sprayer
Shutterstock

Studies show that people who eat a plant-based or Mediterranean diet that is not organic are tripling their exposure to dangerous pesticides. "Many of the synthetic pesticides detected in both food and urine samples in this study are confirmed or suspected endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDC)," says Carlo Leifert, PhD. "The 10 times higher pesticide exposure from conventional foods may therefore provide a mechanistic explanation for the lower incidence of overweight/obesity, metabolic syndrome and cancer associated with high levels of organic food consumption in epidemiological/cohort studies."

3

Lead

Lead is no longer allowed in food containers, gasoline, or paint, but lead-based paint in older houses is still a danger. "New cases of childhood lead paint poisoning are diagnosed every year. Many more could go unreported," says the EPA. "Recent research shows that new cases can be directly linked to renovations where the work environment was inadequately contained. Adults exposed to lead paint can suffer from high blood pressure, headaches, dizziness, diminished motor skills, fatigue and memory loss. Even small levels of exposure to lead paint can harm adults."

4

Phthalates

woman cleaning inside of fridge
Shutterstock / Iakov Filimonov

Phthalates are a group of chemicals used in everything from cosmetics to household cleaners, and are linked to a host of scary health conditions such as asthma, neurodevelopmental issues, obesity, and more. "The fact is you can't know if a food has phthalates in it – you can suspect, but it's almost impossible to know," says Erik Olson, senior strategic director of food and agriculture and health programs for the Natural Resources Defense Council. "That makes them hard to avoid, which is why you need a regulatory framework."

5

Flame Retardants

woman Having Spinal Or Kidney Pain
Shutterstock

Flame retardants can be found in countless household items from bedding and mattresses to electronics, baby products, and food packaging. "Flame retardants do appear to present a threat to health, and may potentially do more harm than good in a fire," says Andrew Weil, MD. "A British study presented at the March 2012 national meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS) showed that flame retardants increase the danger of invisible toxic gasses, the leading cause of death in fires. The study found that today's most widely used products contain the hazardous chemical element bromine, and that they actually increase amounts of carbon monoxide and hydrogen cyanide released during fires. They have been linked to cancer and can harm the liver, kidney, brain, and testes." And to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

Ferozan Mast
Ferozan Mast is a science, health and wellness writer with a passion for making science and research-backed information accessible to a general audience. Read more
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