8 Harmful Things We Need To Stop Using Right Now

Written by Chaitra Krishnan, MA (Journalism & Mass Communication)  • 

Did you know that you get in contact with hundreds of harmful chemicals every day? This is not just about the polluted environment that we live in or the processed junk that we eat on a daily basis. These chemicals are affecting you negatively because you’ve brought them home without knowing the evil that they can do to you and your family’s health. Something very simple and common like the air fresheners that we use in our homes can pose a great threat to us if we don’t know how to pick the safe ones.

In this article, we will introduce you to eight such harmful things that you often find yourself and everyone else around you using. They have been used since ages and are so common that we often mistake them as safe. After reading the following list, you may want to perform a cleansing ritual in your home to get rid of these dangerous things.

1. Mosquito Coils

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Mosquito coils have been used by our grandpas when we were children. However, that doesn’t make them safe because they are extremely poisonous. The coils can not only kill the mosquitoes but they can kill you as well. According to the researchers at the University of Sydney, one mosquito coil produces an amount of smoke that can be equated to that of 75-137 cigarettes! This much of harmful smoke is sufficient to get any living creature including humans, sick (1).

2. Incense Sticks

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The tiny sticks of fragrance are used in Asian households every day! While the rest of the world use incense sticks whenever they want to make their house smell good, we use them during religious rituals and prayers as an essential item. Just like mosquito coils, incense sticks also produce smoke when burnt which can lead us to asthma, other lung diseases, or even cancer (2)! Studies also suggest that you should cut down on the time you spend in temples where pollution due to incense sticks is severe (3).

3. Mothballs

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Mothballs are used by many to keep moths and other insects like cockroaches away from their closets and drawers. Also, some people even use them in their washrooms to drive the insects away. While they are beneficial to keep the winged-creatures away, they pose a great threat to your health (4). Most of these balls contain naphthalene which can kill your red blood cells or modify them in a way that they cannot carry oxygen. Inhaling the emission of these balls or using the clothes and other items stored in closets with these balls can be dangerous (5).

4. Air Fresheners

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We use air fresheners and cleaning solutions to keep our rooms fragrant. However, when used in closed areas without proper ventilation, these products can create a toxic atmosphere. Ethylene-based glycol ethers and terpenes are the two major chemicals present in these air fresheners and cleaners. While the former is considered to be toxic by itself, the latter creates poison when it reacts with ozone present in the air (6).

5. Styrofoam Products

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Styrofoam contains a poisonous chemical called styrene which has been linked to many health issues like cancer, impaired memory and concentration, vision and hearing loss, and problems related to the nervous system. When we eat hot food items or drink something hot in Styrofoam plates and glasses, the styrene content gets leaked out. This styrene mixes with our food and enters our body which is extremely harmful (7).

6. Certain Cosmetic Products

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We spend so much money in buying these products that we think that their good quality is a given. Some of these products contain harmful chemicals like phthalates or plasticizers which may affect the health of our reproductive system. Phthalates are also believed to have a connection with cancer. Hence, it is very important to take note of the ingredients of your cosmetic products before you start using them (8).

7. Pressed Wood Products

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The pressed wood furniture in your home may look innocent but they are not. These products are stuck together using a resin that contains urea-formaldehyde which is a harmful substance. Urea emits formaldehyde in your room and the level of emission increases with temperature. With the furniture being a long-term element in your house, you’re exposed to formaldehyde for a very long time. Formaldehyde can cause many health hazards including cancer (9).

8. Products Containing Triclosan

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The anti-bacterial soaps that we use may contain triclosan, a dangerous chemical. It can also be present in your toothpaste, shampoos, and cosmetics. In 2016, the U.S.A. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned triclosan from soaps after a risk assessment was done. So make sure you check that the ingredient list of your personal care products does not contain triclosan (10).

As our society is becoming more educated and alert about the hazards certain products pose, we can hope to get these items removed from the market soon. But don’t worry because this doesn’t mean that you won’t get to use these products at all. All you’ve got to do is switch to natural and safer alternatives of these products. Have a healthy day!

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