Five Common Household Chemicals That Are Toxic
People like effective products, and who can blame them? Yet, effective does not mean safe. Companies and organizations have developed and added chemicals to products in hopes of making them more effective and gathering a larger market share; however, those added chemicals pose health risks, regardless if they are deemed “safe” by government agencies. We have already examined the safety of the synthetic sweeteners aspartame and sucralose. Now, we will examine the safety of 5 common, household chemicals and their health consequences.
Perfluorinated Compounds (PFCs)
PFCs are a family of commonly used synthetic compounds with many applications, including repelling oils and stains on furniture, clothing, carpets, and goof packaging, as well as in the manufacturing of polytetrafluoroethylene, a non-stock surfacing often used in cookware.
Other substances related to PFCs include Perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS), Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), Perfluorohexanesulfonic acid (PFHxS), and Perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA).
All of these compounds are rather common household products and have been linked to adverse health consequences.
PFOS is a key ingredient in Scotchgard, which is produced by 3M, and various stain repellents. A 2011 study published by the American Journal of Epidemiology found PFOS to be associated with increased risk of chronic kidney disease in the general United States population . In a 2008 study, the ingredient was found to affect the immune system of male mice , and in a 2009 study, PFOS was linked to developmental problems and decreased immunoglobulin levels in animals .
In other animal studies, PFOS have been shown to numerous issues, including cancer, delays in physical development, endocrine disruption, and neonatal mortality  . In pregnant women, PFOS levels have been associated with preeclampsia , and increased levels, in general, have been linked to altered thyroid hormone levels, insulin resistance, increased risk of elevated cholesterol, ADHD in children, and impaired fertility      .
PFOA is used in numerous products, such as carpeting, upholstery, apparel, floor wax, textiles, sealants, and non-stick cookware. A 2007 study labeled PFOA as a carcinogen, liver toxicant, developmental toxicant, and an immune system toxicant . Much like PFOS, PFOA in animal studies has been shown to cause developmental toxicity, such as reduced birth size, physical developmental delays, endocrine disruption, and neonatal mortality  . The compound has also been shown to cause endocrine disruption of sexual steroids .
In humans, PFOA exposure has been linked to a three-fold increased risk of dying from mesothelioma or chronic kidney disease and nearly a two-fold increased risk of dying from diabetes mellitus, along with an elevated risk of contracting kidney cancer and non-cancer kidney diseases . In utero, PFOA exposure has been shown to negatively affect thyroid stimulating hormone, even at low levels , and exposure is related to decreased testicular size, lower bone mineral density, birth defects, and low weight births      .
PFHxS and PFNA are in the same family of chemicals as PFOS and PFOA and share many of the same adverse health effects. These studies are only a small fraction of the research that has concluded these household chemicals cause serious health effects.
Aluminum-Containing Antiperspirant Deodorant
Aluminum is a common ingredient in deodorant, primarily being the main ingredient in antiperspirant deodorant to prevent sweating. Aluminum has been found in human breast tissue and has been linked to breast cancer. Increased levels of aluminum have been related to the use of aluminum-based antiperspirants , and studies have begun to draw conclusions between the use of aluminum salts in deodorant and risks of developing cancer, stating research is needed to deem the chemical safe for use .
A 2015 study found that aluminum could increase the migration of human breast cancer cells , and a 2012 study found that aluminum chloride promoted the growth of human mammary epithelial cells, which could lead to an increased risk of breast cancer .
A 2009 study found that sweat gland obstruction through the use of aluminum-containing antiperspirants may be contributing to increased incidence of prostate and breast cancer .
There are numerous safe and organic deodorants that contain no aluminum.
Propylene Glycol (PG)
PG is a synthetic liquid substance that absorbs water. PG is the main component in antifreeze but is also found in household soaps, lotions, and food. PG is used in foods as an emulsifier to keep solids and liquids from separating. Though the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has deemed PG “generally recognized as safe,” PG it not safe.
A 2009 study found PG to be associated with neurotoxicity , and overall, PG has been linked to contact dermatitis, kidney damage, liver abnormalities, and influences the permeability of the blood-brain barrier     . Further, PG has been shown to increase the absorption of other chemicals  and the chances of developing asthma .
BPA is a xenoestrogen, which is a xenohormone that imitates estrogen. BPA is in pretty much every type of plastic and has been associated with a wide range of health issues .
BPA has shown to be an endocrine disruptor, associated with obesity, breast cancer, glucose metabolic disorders, DNA damage, and shown to have estrogenic activity        .
However, compounds such as curcumin and quercetin have been shown to alleviate some of the effects caused by BPA   .
This is perhaps the most surprising chemical on this list. Many people believe fluoride reduces the risk of cavities. However, that idea has now been contested and overturned with a large body of evidence illustrating the dangers of fluoride toxicity.
In fact, an increased risk of dental fluorosis, which is correlated with increased cavities, periodontal disease, and other dental issues, has been demonstrated in populations with optimally fluoridated water, along with general fluoride consumption     .
Dozens of human and laboratory studies have linked increased consumption of fluoride to neurological damage, increased incidences of learning disabilities, and decreased IQ scores            .
A 2008 study found that children who live in a fluorosis area have five times higher odds of developing low IQ than those who live in a nonfluorosis area or a slight fluorosis area .
A 2015 study empirically demonstrated an association between more widespread exposure to fluoridated water and increased ADHD prevalence in United States children and adolescents .
Fluoride has also been shown to lower iodine levels, disrupt thyroid function, burden the kidneys, worsen symptoms of autoimmune disease, cause considerable bone damage, and increase risks during pregnancy                  .
There is a lot of research on the damaging effects of fluoride, so this is only a brief snapshot.
In this article, we reviewed five common household chemicals that are toxic. PFCs, aluminum deodorant, PG, BPA, and fluoride are only five of the many household chemicals that are believed to be safe but are not. Therefore, it is essential to stay educated on the items you come in contact with daily and their health consequences because it is easy not to think about.
Throughout conducting the research for this article, supplements such as curcumin, vitamin C, and quercetin have come up as detoxifying agents or compounds that inhibit the negative effects of these chemicals.
Further, Healthmasters’ GHI Cleanse contains a wide array of research-backed ingredients to support healthy bodily detoxification.
If you have any questions about any of these products, please feel free to call our office at 800.726.1834.