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10 Dangerous Everyday Things in Your Home

Although this article was originally written for humans, most of these apply directly to pets and animals and some even more like chemicals in carpets.

Even if you carefully monitor what you eat, and pay close attention to the household products and items you purchase, your chance of being exposed to hazardous toxins is still quite high. Lead, arsenic, mercury, PCBs, flame retardants, and an array of other chemicals linked to cancer, birth defects and neurological diseases are well represented in most people’s bloodstream.

These dangerous chemicals and toxins are in the air you breathe, the water you drink, the food you eat and the products you use. Over the last 50 years, from 70,000 to 100,000 different chemicals have been introduced into the world‘s markets with about 1,500 new ones added each year.

Household consumer products injure 33.1 million people in the United States every year. These incidents cost $800 billion in related expenses from death, injury or property damages. And many scientists are starting to believe that, in particular, the chemicals found in a wide variety of the goods you use every day may be more toxic than previously thought. Here are 10 of the most common products that may be hazardous to your health:

10. Mothballs

Since moths chew holes through clothing and other textiles, people pack away these stinky repellents to kill them. But studies on one active ingredient in some repellents, paradichlorobenzene, found that it can cause cancer in animals. Other types of moth balls use naphthalene, which after prolonged exposure can damage or destroy red blood cells, and which can also stimulate nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

9. Pesticides

Ninety percent of households in the United States use some form of pesticide, a broad term that encompasses a variety of chemical formulas that kill everything from tiny microorganisms up to rodents. In 2006, the American Association of Poison Control Centers received nearly 46,000 calls regarding children under 5 years old who had been exposed to potentially toxic levels of pesticides.

8. Pressed Wood Products

This faux wood takes bits and pieces of logs and wood leftovers and combines them together. Pressed wood products include paneling, particle board, fiberboard and insulation, all of which were particularly popular for home construction in the 1970’s. However, the glue that holds the wood particles in place may use urea-formaldehyde as a resin. The U.S. EPA estimates that this is the largest source of formaldehyde emissions indoors. Formaldehyde exposure can set off watery eyes, burning eyes and throat, difficulty breathing and asthma attacks. Scientists also know that it can cause cancer in animals. The risk is greater with older pressed wood products, since newer ones are better regulated.

7. Chemicals in Carpets

Indoor carpeting has recently come under greater scrutiny because of the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) associated with new carpet installation. The glue and dyes used with carpeting are known to emit VOCs, which can be harmful to your health in high concentrations. However, the initial VOC emissions will often subside after the first few days following.

6. Laser Printers Chemicals

A 2007 study found that some laser printers give off ultra fine particles that can cause serious health problems. Another study confirmed that laser and ink-jet printers can release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and ozone particulates. All of these have been linked with heart and lung disease.

5. Lead Paint

In 1991, the U.S. government declared lead to be the greatest environmental threat to children. Even low concentrations can cause problems with your central nervous system, brain, blood cells and kidneys. It’s particularly threatening for fetuses, babies and children, because of potential developmental disorders. Many houses built before 1978 contain lead paint. Once the paint begins to peel away will, it release the harmful lead particles that you can inhale.

4. Air Fresheners and Cleaning Solutions

Air fresheners and cleaning solutions, when used excessively or in a small, unventilated area, can release toxic levels of pollutants. This comes from two main chemicals called ethylene-based glycol ethers and terpenes. While the EPA regards the ethers as toxic by themselves, the non-toxic terpenes can react with ozone in the air to form a poisonous combination. Air fresheners in particular are linked to many volatile organic compounds, such as nitrogen dioxide, and some fresheners also contain paradichlorobenzene, the same chemical emitted by mothballs.

3. Baby Bottles and BPA

Canada has taken the first steps to outlaw the sale of baby bottles made from polycarbonate plastics, which are the most common type on the market. It has done so because the plastics are made with a chemical called bisphenol-a (BPA). BPA has a structure very similar to estrogen and for that reason is referred to as a “hormone disruptor.” Hormone disruptors can interfere with the natural human hormones, especially for young children.

2. Flame Retardants

Commonly used in mattresses, upholstery, television and computer casings and circuit boards, flame retardants use polybrominated diphenyl ethers, or PBDEs for short. Two forms of PBDEs were phased out of use in manufacturing in the United States in 2004 because of related health threats, but the products containing them linger on. Studies have linked PBDEs to learning and memory problems, lowered sperm counts and poor thyroid functioning in rats and mice. Other animal studies have indicated that PBDEs could be carcinogenic in humans, although that has not yet been confirmed.

1. Cosmetic Phthalates

Phthalates, also called plasticizers, go into many products including hair spray, shampoos, fragrances, and deodorants. Phthalates bind the color and fragrance in cosmetic products, and are also used to increase the durability and flexibility of plastics. Like BPA, these hormone-like chemicals are linked to reproductive and developmental problems in animals. Because of these findings, California and Washington state have banned the use of phthalates in toys for younger children.

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December 23, 2008 Posted by | Animal Rights And Awareness, Just One More Pet, Pet Abuse | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Harmony and Health – Creating Wellness for Your Pet

Most of us understand the basics of creating wellness. Health begins with a sound diet, exercise, and having fun with our loved ones. Our pets are important family members, like us in many ways, but with their own unique animal needs and abilities. Our pets give us so much – the unconditional love, joy and pleasure they offer us through their loving companionship enhances our lives and makes us healthier people. But it’s easy in the hectic nature of our lives to take our pets for granted and miss opportunities to nurture them for their optimal wellness. Creating wellness requires that we meet the basic needs we all share, and to honor the special needs of our pets. We Are One, but We Are Not the Same   

Pets have special nutritional needs, and are far more limited in their physical ability to deal with a poor diet and the toxins in our environment. With shorter life spans and smaller organ systems, its important to give them the best diet we can that suits their animal physiology and to limit their exposure to toxic chemicals in their food, and in so many household products we use.  Consider choosing non-toxic cleaners and cat litter. Limiting your pet’s exposure to toxic materials is to be considered.

From the holistic perspective, the foundation of good health is a good diet. Dogs and cats need different food from what we eat, and many pets, particularly cats can have trouble digesting the grain-based fare (like that found in most commercial pet foods) that humans can tolerate. When their nutritional needs are met, pets have great vitality and abundant energy, and have better digestion and can maintain their appropriate weight, which are both causes of so many health problems of pets today. 

A good diet provides energy for a healthy activity level, meaning daily exercise. It’s easy to neglect the exercise and play needs of our pets, but the consequences can be severe. Beyond the impact on their health, too little physical activity can create a host of inappropriate behaviors and creates a great deal of stress for our pets. Dogs need daily cardiovascular exercise in the form of a walk or run. 

Emotional Stress and Illness

Beyond a good diet, exercise, and reducing exposure to toxins, the single best thing we can do for our pets (and ourselves) is to minimize the stress they experience. The mind-body connection has been well researched in human health, and emotional stress has a well-documented impact on our well-being. This is no less true for our pets, though the idea is not generally taken into account from the traditional veterinary perspective. Taking steps to reduce your pet’s stress can go a long way to creating wellness.

Some pets seem to be more naturally “high-strung,” which may be a breed specific quality or may result from their life history – a common story with rescued companions. Stress comes in many forms, including major life changes, stressful situations, and daily stress in our home and relationships.

Major life events like the addition of new pets or human family members, death of loved ones, house renovations, or moving can trigger stress in many pets, and the impact can be felt for many months after the change occurs. Cats can be particularly sensitive to these changes – even getting new carpet can cause a strong stress response in cats. Dogs are often particularly sensitive to events that cause shifts in relationships. It’s important to provide the “security blankets” our pets need during these times. Make sure the cat’s favorite pillow or blanket isn’t packed in a box when you move, and be sure each pet has their favorite toys available. When introducing new family members, spend extra time with your dog to confirm their continued high status with you and to insure that they don’t feel neglected.

The Ultimate Wellness Builder – Reducing Daily Stress for Your Pet

While stressful major life changes and trips to the vet (we hope!) are few and far between, one of the most profound sources of stress for your pet is perhaps the easiest to overlook – the stress that our pets absorb from us on a daily basis. One of the greatest gifts our pets give us is the comfort they provide to us every day. People with pets are generally healthier and live longer, because our pets not only provide companionship, but they literally absorb our stress.

Our pets are quite emotionally sensitive and are highly attuned to our moods. Animal communicators tell us that part of our companions’ “spiritual mission” is to help us cope with our emotions. It’s important to recognize that our own stress level is very obvious to our pets and can impact their wellness greatly. Many pet owners report that their pets share their emotional stress, and often share the same physical symptoms that stress creates for their own health. With that in mind, making a commitment to reducing your daily stress level is one of the best things you can do for your pet’s health.

Wellness is the result of many factors, and especially for our pets, nearly every one of those factors is under our control. Making sound decisions for our pets with regard to diet, exercise, and activities creates the foundation for vibrant health. Adding the essential element of reducing stress can help you give your pet a more joyous, healthier and longer life. With everything our pets do for us and our well-being, we owe it to them to return the favor and create harmony for them in every way we can. The time we have with our animal companions is precious in so many ways, and we have it in our power to honor that special bond through our commitment to harmonious living.

Courtesy Only Natural Pet LLC. 2008 by Cynthia Holley-Connolly

 

 

 

November 19, 2008 Posted by | Just One More Pet, On The Lighter Side, Pets | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments