Home Safe Home

We all work hard to protect our families and keep them safe, especially in our homes. We lock doors, have smoke alarms and keep things tidy and clean. But did you know that many common items we willingly bring in our houses every day are actually quite dangerous? Check out these toxic offenders that you should remove from your house.


  • PASS ON PLASTIC. Plastic is everywhere. It’s used to make everything from toys to water bottles to outdoor furniture. But more and more experts agree, its something we should all use in moderation. Whenever possible, consider choosing things made of an alternative material. The numerous chemicals in plastic (fun stuff like phthalates, which mess around with hormones) can leach out into the air to be breathed in by you, your kids and your pets. Plastic storage containers for food are a double dose of bad, since their toxicity can seep into what you eat. And NEVER microwave food in plastic containers; it’s like jump-starting the chemical release.
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  • CAN THE CANNED GOODS. We know. They’re so convenient. Canned fruits and veggies are simple ways to stock the pantry and then add to a multitude of recipes. But many cans are lined with BPA (Bisphenol-A), a chemical that, according to the Mayo Clinic causes “possible health effects in the brain, behavior and prostate gland of fetuses, infants and children.” And there it is, snuggled right up next to something you and your family are going to put in your bodies. Look for preserved produce in glass, or better yet, buy tons of fresh and local fruits and veggies during the growing season, and “can them” (which uses glass jars) yourself. It’s safer and will taste better. (Check out our Summer 2013 issue for an article full of canning info and advice.)
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  • CLEAN GREEN. Those floor, sink, tile and toilet cleaners designed to kill germs and prevent the spread of sickness can actually, after continued exposure, make you sick themselves. Consider “green” cleaning products, and even then, check the ingredient labels to ensure they’re free of harmful chemicals. You can also make your own very effective solutions using cheap, readily available things like baking soda and white vinegar. Learn more in our Winter 2013-2014 issue, available December 1 at a CVS or Publix near you or online soon on this website.
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  • SOMETHING STINKS. Artificial fragrances in soaps, cosmetics, air fresheners, detergents and more are often made up of a chemical cocktail that includes culprits linked to cancer and even reproductive problems. Choose unscented products and stop spraying “air cleaners” all together. Instead, open a window and turn on a fan or put out a box of baking soda to rid an area of a funky odor.