4 sources of poisonous chemical compounds in your house


2. The mattress

Similar to your couch, your mattress – you know you’ll supposedly spend a third of your life on – is laden with chemicals in order to meet government explosion-proof regulations. As the Chicago Tribune documented in a special investigative series, « Playing with Fire, » the government began requiring mattress makers to create less combustible beds in response to a wave of house fires in the years 1970. Sounds reasonable, right?

Well, not really, because the cause of the fires was usually cigarette smoking. Instead of requiring Big Tobacco to change its product to be safer, the government, under pressure from lobbying by Big Tobacco, decided to focus on making « safer » mattresses. To do this, manufacturers have turned to chemicals called flame retardants. Chemicals like chlorine tris and others have become standard ingredients in polyurethane foam cushions (essentially, the core of most beds). Perhaps the worst part of it all? Other than the gradual outgassing these chemicals experience, according to the Chicago Tribune, they don’t even work when it comes to stopping fires.

3. Plastic food storage

While our plastic food containers are certainly convenient, it can come at the cost of our leftovers leaching chemicals from their petroleum-based container. Tupperware contains polycarbonate (or #7 plastic), which has been shown to transmit bisphenol-A, or BPA, a chemical believed to disrupt the hormone system. Tupperware also contains phthalates, a chemical substitute for DEHP (another known bad chemical), which strengthens the plastic.

Some plastic wraps that are not microwave or dishwasher safe will leach phthalates into food. Researchers at Columbia University argued in 2014 that there is evidence that phthalates can lower children’s IQs if their mother had high amounts in their system during pregnancy. A good way to avoid these harmful chemicals is to stop using recyclable plastics labeled 3, 6, or 7, which use phthalates in manufacturing. While it’s a good idea to transfer food from plastic containers to glass before putting it in the microwave, it might still be better to go a step further and replace all plastic food containers with good ones. old glass. Remember that glass worked well for thousands of years, long before plastic appeared.

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