Wall-to-wall carpeting can be a big problem if you don’t take care of it. It becomes a sink for all kinds of contaminants. Dust and pet dander can settle into the cushioning and cause allergic reactions. And if you don’t remove your shoes before walking through the house, you can track contaminants from the outdoors all over your carpet, like dirt, pesticides, heavy metals, you name it. Then your kids or pets crawl on the floor and get it all over themselves. Regularly vacuum and wash carpets and rugs.
If you can’t bear to part with your favorite couch or big comfy chair, at least take a look at its little white tag; if it says “TB117” you could be in danger. “Flame retardants that are carcinogens, typically found in upholstered furniture, were required under California law TB117,” says Adler. In 2013, California passed a new law no longer requiring these flame-retardant chemicals, so items manufactured since then say “TB 117-2013” on the label. Consumers should check to make sure that the tag on upholstered furniture states TB117-2013 and that the label clearly indicates that no flame retardants have been added.
Canned food can make for a cheap meal with a side of toxins. Some cans are lined with a substance containing BPA, which can migrate into food, especially ones that were hot when packaged or are acidic. These are staples in people’s kitchen yet are a significant source of BPA exposure. Research companies that pledge not to use harmful chemicals in the manufacturing process and many brands now sell beans, soup, and tomatoes in boxes.
If your laundry routine consists of scented detergent, fabric softener, and dryer sheets to keep your clothes smelling cozy fresh, you could have a triple whammy of toxins on your hands. These products with fragrance often contain phthalates or other harmful chemicals, which may cause health issues over time. Look for products with a short list of ingredients that don’t include the words “fragrance,” “perfume,” or “parfum.”
*Kitchen Not Properly Ventilated
If your stove uses gas, you could be raising the level of toxic fumes while you’re cooking without even knowing it. Carbon monoxide, a deadly gas released from gas stoves and ovens, can quickly build up in your kitchen, especially without proper ventilation. Some studies suggest that about half of all gas stoves can raise carbon monoxide to dangerous levels.
**If you have an electric stove, you’re not totally in the clear either: Some research has found the simple process of cooking can create fumes as well as fine particles that affect indoor air quality. Make sure you use your hood vent (ideally vented to the outside) or open your windows to properly ventilate and avoid the dangerous gasses.