Most people regard their homes as a place of comfort and security, which is also why few people are aware of the dangers that common household products pose. In fact, Americans spend millions of dollars on household products that they don’t know are actually toxic. Some of these substances are even used in the construction of houses.
This article isn’t meant to discourage the purchase and use of these products, given that we need them in some cases. This article is merely meant to point out the products that we need to take special care in handling. So, what are some of these products?
Bleach is a corrosive substance that can be found in any household. It can cause skin irritation in mild cases, and it can also burn the skin and eyes in severe cases. When ingested, bleach can cause vomiting, pulmonary edema (fluid in the lungs that makes it difficult to breathe), and may even result in a coma.
Antifreeze (ethylene glycol) is a substance that lowers the freezing point of any liquid. This is commonly used to prevent car radiators from freezing. While antifreeze isn’t particularly harmful when inhaled, it can damage the heart, lungs, kidneys, and brain when ingested. The body metabolizes the antifreeze chemicals into toxic acids.
Ammonia is found in many household cleaning solutions. It is highly corrosive, that it interacts immediately with the body upon contact. High Ammonia concentrations in the air can burn your nose, throat, and respiratory tract almost immediately and this often results in respiratory failure. Ammonia can break down cell proteins, which also leaves water, which further worsens any inflammation.
Homes built in the 1980s are likely to contain asbestos in tiles, shingles, insulation, and even in between pieces of sheetrock. Asbestos becomes harmful when its fibers are disturbed enough to become airborne. Even something as minute as movement from ceiling fans or the opening and closing of cabinets can disturb these fibers. When inhaled, asbestos fibers attach themselves to the lungs. The effects of asbestos can remain dormant from 20 to 50 years.
When these effects manifest, they are often in the form of lung cancer and abdominal swelling. Mesothelioma is a particularly dangerous condition that makes breathing difficult and painful. Mesothelioma has a severe impact on a patient’s quality of life, which is why many of them hire lawyers who know how to handle a mesothelioma lawsuit to help them get compensation for their condition when applicable.
Lead can be found in some toys, which makes it particularly dangerous to children. Lead poisoning can cause anemia, brain and kidney damage, and it has also been observed to damage the nervous system in unborn children. Lead poisoning can be treated, but any damage it causes is irreversible. Lead-contaminated toys need to be discarded immediately.
Most household items are reasonably safe. You don’t necessarily have to throw all of these items out. Proper usage and storage are key to preventing these chemicals from causing you harm. Always read product labels, especially the directions for use, as well as their precautions. FDA announcements also hold valuable information on which products to avoid.