How to reduce your home’s hidden toxins

Health experts suggest airing out new shower curtains outside, so the toxins stay out of the home. (Thinkstock)

WASHINGTON – Toxins can stir up allergies and lower immune response, but many people may not realize the daily dose of toxins they get at home.

There are a few places where toxins can be found in most homes, where many homeowners wouldn’t think to look, Yahoo! Health reports.

Kitchen

They may be easier to use, but non-stick pots and pans also contain PFCs — chemicals that have been linked to obesity, diabetes and are known to affect children’s growth, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. They also have been shown to weaken the efficacy of vaccines in kids.

Consider replacing Teflon products with stainless steel or cast iron and turn on an exhaust fan when cooking, health experts suggest.

When hot food is served in plastic bowls, the plastic can secrete chemicals into the food, which has been linked to kidney stones, according to a recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Specifically, melamine is a type of plastic that is often used in kids’ utensils, plates and bowls. It is FDA-approved for use in plastics, but not as a food additive, Yahoo! Health reports. Melamine has been linked to kidney failure and even cancer in animal studies, according to the World Health Organization.

Living room

Flame retardants were used on up to half of the sofas a Duke University study tested, adding toxic chemicals to the living room. These types of chemicals are linked to a list of medical ailments, including cancer.

Vacuuming your couch with a HEPA air filter to reduce the amount of dust holding on to those chemicals, Yahoo reports. Frequent hand washing also is important to keep the chemicals people touch from getting into their food.

Bathroom and laundry room

Phthalates are chemicals found in shower curtains, wallpaper and mini blinds. They are prevalent in flexible plastics. But a Mount Sinai study found phthalates are linked to asthma and allergies.

Health experts suggest replacing flexible plastics, like blinds, with ceramic or wooden substitutes.

Avoid products with fragrances, such as detergents. Fragrances often equate to added chemicals. And air out a new shower curtain outside for a few days, so the toxins are not released inside.

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