Healthy Homes Or Why Are Most Homes Filled With Cancer Causing Substances (Carcinogens), Endrocrine Disruptors and Substances That Cause Birth Defects (Teratogens)?

Most modern homes and apartments are toxic environments. As we live and breath in them, they are contributing to a number of diseases over time. There are two main problems: toxic products that people bring into their homes, and toxins leaked into the air by the home itself. Let's look at toxic products first. The worst offenders here are: artificial air fresheners, fabric dryer sheets, hair products and hundreds of other products commonly found on supermarket shelves. These products are filled with ingredients are carcinogens (substances that will cause cancer over time), and endocrine disruptors (substances that disrupt the human endocrine system).

The other major problem is the homes themselves. In terms of toxicity, the worst offenders here are: carpets and carpet backings, foam mattresses, paints, varnishes and items containing fire retardant chemicals. The fire retardant chemicals used in mattresses, for example, have been found to contribute to birth defects (see this EWG report for example). Basically, all of these household items can emit a steady flow of toxic, airborne chemicals. Homeowners unknowingly inhale these chemicals with every breath.

So how can you create a healthy home?

Here's the extremely short answer: Stop buying toxic household products, use natural cleaning products, remove carpeting and replace with wood floors or natural rugs, use low-VOC paints, and add indoor plants to your home for filtration purposes.

Want more information on this topic?

:: See this book for a general introduction: The Healthy Living Space: 70 Practical Ways to Detoxify the Body and Home.

See this page from the Ecology Center which summarizes, quite nicely, the all the different type of toxins you're likely to encounter in the modern world.

See the News Target web site, which a good source of articles dealing with household toxicity issues.

See this recent article in Science Daily about Air Fresheners and this one on Indoor Particulate Pollution.