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Is Your Home Toxic?

Thursday, April 15, 2010 Environmental Health J E 4
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Spring clean with these Natural Solutions to rid your house of hidden chemicals that may be affecting your family's health.

BOULDER, Colo., April 14 /PRNewswire/ -- Did you know the air inside your home may be more toxic than the air outside? That's a problem because Americans spend around 90 percent of their time indoors. Natural Solutions: Vibrant Health, Balanced Living magazine's April Earth Day issue reports that exposure to contaminants in everything from cleaners to couches may be to blame for increasing levels of cancer, asthma, premature puberty, birth defects, and developmental issues.

Most people would be shocked to learn how toxic their homes actually are: The Natural Resources Defense Council reports Americans use about 25 gallons of toxic chemicals at home every year. What's more, a recent study found that using chemical cleaners just once released 456 distinct toxins, of which six cause asthma, 11 may be carcinogenic, and 283 are backed by little scientific research. Short-term exposure to cleaners provokes headaches, sore throats, sneezing, rashes, and breathing problems.

For a list of toxic chemicals to avoid, see "Is Your Home Toxic?" at the Natural Solutions' website. Here are three of the most common toxins and how to reduce your exposure.

Cleaners can be toxic bombs—even products labeled "all-natural" or "nontoxic" may still contain chemicals. Look for the Natural Products Association's new seal, awarded to cleaners with less than 5 percent chemicals. To make your own green cleaners, see "DIY Green Cleaners" at the website.

Synthetic fragrances are in air deodorizers, room sprays, and non-natural candles. The Mayo Clinic calls synthetic fragrances one of the top-10 causes of contact dermatitis. Look for natural beeswax or soy candles, and buy deodorizers with essential oils or natural citrus scents.

Formaldehyde, a known carcinogen, is used to bind couches, carpeting, and particleboard. Opt for real-wood shelving, and give new couches or carpeting several days to "off-gas;" let them sit in a garage so volatile chemicals can dissipate. Once you bring furniture inside, keep windows open for a few days.

About Natural Solutions

Natural Solutions magazine (formerly Alternative Medicine) guides and inspires readers to make conscious choices about their health, their family's health, their community, and our world. For a free digital issue, visit naturalsolutionsmag.com.

SOURCE Natural Solutions Magazine

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