5 Substances at Home That Are Harmful to Your Health

Home is one of the most peaceful and safest places for almost everyone. However, it might be surprising for many to find about the dangerous and toxic substances lying free within the boundaries of their house. 

Even though minimal usage of these chemicals does not have any adverse effect, excessive use or storage can lead to severe harmful consequences to one’s health. The case becomes worse when you don’t look after your home or invest in its maintenance. Several studies show that an increasing number of deaths are linked with the usage of chemical substances present in different household items. 

Below, we have mentioned a few commonly used household items with harmful chemicals and toxins. 

  1. Makeup 

Makeup is present in almost every household. But what most people don’t know is that many makeup products like powder, blushes, foundations, creams, etc., have talc present in them. Talc is an essential ingredient in the production of makeup. It ensures that a product’s consistency remains silky and soft. Talc also acts as fillers by diluting pigmented products. 

However, the bad news is that talc can be a potential asbestos carrier. Since both talc and asbestos form together, there is a high possibility both contaminate together. Asbestos is an excessively harmful mineral and a highly known cause of mesothelioma and ovary cancer. 

Coal tar is another toxic chemical found in cosmetic products. It carries heavy metals, and when these metals absorb in the skin, they can lead to brain damage and even cancer. Formaldehyde, BHA, and BHT are other harmful substances that can lead to potentially fatal illnesses such as cancer. 

  1. Antifreeze 

Antifreeze is a liquid that contains ethylene glycol, a hazardous chemical compound. It is highly flammable, poses a threat of combustion, is challenging to monitor, and can lead to health repercussions. 

If swallowed, antifreeze can cause heart, kidney, and brain failure. Ethylene glycol intoxication can also lead to central nervous system depression, respiratory depression, and stupor. There is also a decent probability of organ damage and lung failure. 

It is highly crucial to be cautious when dealing with antifreeze. You must always wear gloves, so ethylene glycol does not penetrate your skin. Also, keep pets and children far away from the spillage area. It has a sweet smell that attracts pets. Therefore, you must be extra attentive with them because licking or consuming even a little bit of the fluid can kill your pet. 

  1. Air fresheners 

Air fresheners are another common toxic household item. And like the above two, many people are unaware of its dangers. 

Air fresheners contain several dangerous ingredients that are highly concerning for our health. For instance, most air fresheners contain 1,4-Dichlorobenzene (1,4 DB), a known VOC that can impair lung function. Acetaldehyde, Formaldehyde, and Benzene, three known carcinogens, are also present in air fresheners. Other chemicals include d-Limonene, Parabens, Styrene, Toluene, and Phthalates. These can cause cancer, neurotoxicity, brain damage, skin and eye irritation, central nervous system depression, and development toxicity. Chemicals like Phthalates can also lead to endocrine disruption, congenital disabilities, lower sperm counts, and damage to a women’s reproductive system. 

These are highly concerning and worrying health issues. Therefore, you must start limiting your exposure to air fresheners as much as possible. The viable idea is to use alternative methods of freshening up indoor air. Some tips include placing large floor mats at every door, regularly vacuuming the carpets, cleaning floors with microfiber mops, and installing HEPA air filters. 

  1. Latex and oil-based paints 

Even though paints are not a common item in houses, they are still present occasionally. Hence, knowing about their toxicity becomes crucial. 

Latex paints are not harmful unless used in massive quantities. The only disadvantage of using latex paints is that they emit formaldehyde that can cause headaches and eye, nose, and throat irritation. Similarly, the organic solvents in oil-based paints can cause allergies and irritability. Also, inhaling paint fumes might result in nausea, dizziness, and fatigue. 

The best prevention tip from these side effects is to cover your face with a mask when using paints. Keep windows and doors open and keep a fan running while painting to direct fumes out of the window. Additionally, make sure small children don’t come near paint cans. 

  1. Detergents 

Detergents are probably the most toxic and concerning household items. Most detergents contain Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS), Bleach, Formaldehyde, Phosphates, Nonylphenol, Ethoxylate, Benzene, and Synthetic fragrances. All of which can lead to life-threatening health issues. 

Detergents can cause skin and throat irritation. Ingestion can lead to nausea, vomiting, shock, and even coma. These chemicals can also lead to skin issues such as eczema, contact dermatitis, psoriasis, and rosacea. Some of these chemicals, such as formaldehyde, can also increase the chances of cancer. 


People must realize the dangers several household items can cause to their health. Not only that, but some of the substances also extend their effect outside of homes and endanger the environment. Switching to safe, eco-friendly products is the best possible solution to such an issue. Embracing an environmentally friendly lifestyle will keep you healthy and protect the people around you.

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