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Is Your Home Being Invaded by Toxic Fumes?

Is Your Home Being Invaded by Toxic Fumes?
June 09
12:49 2017

Depending on where you live, your AC has probably been on for a while already!

Along with cooling your home, however, if it’s been a long time since you cleaned or checked out that air-conditioning unit, you could also be filling your air with mold and other allergens.

AC units that aren’t working well, or have dirty filters, can end up blowing irritants such as pet hair, dander and dust all around your house.

But even if your system is brand new, there are other ways to turn your castle into a polluted palace!

While you probably wouldn’t allow someone to light up inside your house, many of the products we use to “freshen up” the indoors can give off carcinogens that are similar to cigarette smoke! And that includes cleaning sprays, air fresheners, and scented candles.

So, how do you make your house look as spotless as those in magazine photos without filling it with a bevy of toxic fumes? It’s not nearly as hard as you might think.

A cauldron of chemicals

While health experts have focused for years on making indoor space free of cigarette smoke, there’s been a lot less emphasis on other sources of indoor air pollution — especially scented candles and cleaning products. And even cooking can fill your air with noxious fumes!

Recently, in a ground-breaking study, a team of San Diego State University researchers set out to find out exactly what kinds of indoor pollutants could be found in the homes of some 300 area families.

For three months, they continuously monitored the air in those homes for particles in the range of sizes that are most likely to penetrate the lungs — between 0.5 and 2.5 micrometers.

They also conducted surveys of the activities taking place inside each home and used that information to help them pinpoint the sources of the pollution they measured.

As might be expected, any kind of indoor smoking was shown to almost double the level of harmful airborne particles. But apart from that, what the study revealed was that there are a lot of other common substances you probably wouldn’t think twice about that can pollute the inside of your home.

Some of the worst offenders include:

Scented candles: Sure, they have great names like “Springtime Rain” and “Mountain Sage,” but when you burn them, you can be filling your home with cancer-causing chemicals such as benzene and toluene. And some citrus-scented ones can give off a chemical that forms formaldehyde when they burn! Even candles made from paraffin or soy wax can leave behind a toxic soot long after you blow them out. So, if you enjoy burning candles, be sure to buy ones made from 100 percent beeswax.
Cleaning chemicals: Look under your sink, and I’m sure you’ll find enough bottles and sprays to last you for years. But here’s something that may surprise you about them: There are no federal regulations covering the safety of the chemicals used in cleaning products. On top of that, manufacturers are not required to even list all the chemicals they contain. What exactly is in that floor-, oven- or kitchen-cleaning product is one of the industry’s best-kept secrets! Check out the Environmental Working Group’s Guide to Healthier Cleaning at
Cooking fumes:We’ve told you a lot about how corn, and other vegetable oils aren’t healthy to use in cooking as most, along with being made from genetically modified crops, are also highly chemically processed. But here’s another reason why you should ditch them: When heated to high temperatures, they give off toxic fumes called “aldehydes,” which have been linked to cancer, heart disease and even dementia. Safer (and healthier!) fats to cook with include olive and coconut oils, and even butter.

Along with finding safer products to use in your home, there’s another very simple way to freshen your indoor air. When the weather allows, turn off the AC and open the windows!

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