Inside Information

Inside Information
Inside Information

TRY THIS AT HOME

Use fewer products. The more household and personal care products you use, the more chemicals you encounter. A typical day of using everyday products, from laundry detergent, to shampoo, to facial cleanser, may expose you to an average of 19 harmful chemicals.

Choose natural or less toxic cleaning products, and ensure that products are fragrance-free. Baking soda and white vinegar are tried and true alternatives to many commercial cleaning products, which often contain a multitude of hazardous chemicals.

Consumer products are the primary sources of endocrine disrupting exposures in indoor air. Silent Spring Institute researchers analyzed 104 chemicals—including those that shed from consumer products used indoors and those that seep in from outdoor industrial and transportation sources—taken from air samples in 50 homes.

Among the chemicals detected were phthalates, parabens, polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE) flame retardants, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and pesticides—all substances suspected of having adverse health effects, such as cancer and reproductive, neurological, and thyroid disorders.

Silent Spring Institute researchers discovered that, unlike industrial and transportation pollutants and pesticides, which show tremendous geographic variation, pollutants from consumer products—such as plastics, furniture, cleaning products, and cosmetics—tend to have little geographic or demographic variation. This relative consistency reveals the pervasive effects that common consumer products have on indoor air quality.