7 Household Items That May Be Making You Sick — Eat This Not That

By Ghuman


We all know that the home is a place of comfort and safety, but did you know that some of the items in your home could be making you sick? From furniture to cleaning products, there are a number of everyday items that can cause health problems. In this article, we’ll discuss seven household items that may be making you sick and what you can do to reduce your risk. We’ll also provide some tips on how to make your home a healthier place to live. So, if you’re concerned about the health of your family, read on to learn more about these seven household items that may be making you sick.

7 Household Items That May Be Making You Sick

It’s easy to overlook the potential health risks posed by everyday household items. But the truth is, many of the items we use on a daily basis can be making us sick. From cleaning products to furniture, here are seven household items that may be making you sick.

1. Air Fresheners

Air fresheners are often used to mask unpleasant odors, but they can also be a source of indoor air pollution. Many air fresheners contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that can cause headaches, nausea, and respiratory irritation. To reduce your exposure to VOCs, opt for natural air fresheners like essential oils or baking soda.

2. Carpeting

Carpeting can trap dust, dirt, and other allergens, making it a potential source of indoor air pollution. To reduce your exposure to allergens, vacuum your carpets regularly and use a vacuum with a HEPA filter. You may also want to consider replacing your carpets with hardwood or tile flooring.

3. Furniture

Furniture can be a source of formaldehyde, a chemical that can cause respiratory irritation and other health problems. To reduce your exposure to formaldehyde, look for furniture made with formaldehyde-free materials like bamboo or solid wood. You may also want to avoid furniture made with particleboard or plywood.

4. Cleaning Products

Many cleaning products contain harsh chemicals that can irritate your skin and eyes. To reduce your exposure to these chemicals, opt for natural cleaning products like vinegar and baking soda. You may also want to consider using gloves and a face mask when using cleaning products.

5. Mattresses

Mattresses can be a source of dust mites, which can trigger allergies and asthma. To reduce your exposure to dust mites, look for mattresses made with hypoallergenic materials like wool or latex. You may also want to consider using a mattress cover to protect your mattress from dust mites.

6. Paint

Paint can contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that can cause respiratory irritation and other health problems. To reduce your exposure to VOCs, look for low-VOC or no-VOC paints. You may also want to consider using a face mask and gloves when painting.

7. Plastics

Plastics can contain chemicals like phthalates and bisphenol A (BPA) that can disrupt hormones and cause other health problems. To reduce your exposure to these chemicals, look for plastics labeled “BPA-free” or “phthalate-free.” You may also want to avoid microwaving food in plastic containers.

By being aware of the potential health risks posed by everyday household items, you can take steps to reduce your exposure and protect your health. From air fresheners to plastics, these seven household items may be making you sick.

No one wants to be exposed to toxic chemicals, yet many are unknowingly living with harmful materials in their own home which increases the risk of serious health issues like cancer. Most people think of their house as a safe zone, but the use of some everyday household items can be dangerous. From the kitchen to the bathroom, toxic products are everywhere and Eat This, Not That! Health spoke with experts who reveal which items to get rid of and why. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss these Sure Signs You’ve Already Had COVID.

Group of empty plastic bottles of various sizes and colors

Kelly Johnson-Arbor, MD, FACEP, FUHM, FACMT Medical Toxicologist and Co-Medical Director at the National Capital Poison Center tells us, “While many cleaning products are packaged in industrial-type packaging, some are contained in colorful bottles that carry images of fruits, flowers, rainbows, and other attractive images. My husband recently bought lemon-scented bleach that came in a bright yellow bottle with a lovely picture of a lemon on the front! Adults should typically recognize that these products are not meant for human consumption, but children are especially drawn to colorful images and may be tempted to take a drink of these products or play with them. Cleaning products can contain toxic chemicals, including surfactants, alcohols, and disinfectants, that can be poisonous when swallowed, inhaled, or spilled onto skin or eyes.” 

hands in yellow gloves are washing food products to get rid of bacteria or virus

Dr. Johnson-Arbor explains, “These small, round magnets are approximately 5-20 times stronger than traditional iron magnets. They are marketed as fidgets or stress-relievers, are sometimes used as fake lip or nasal piercing products, and are available in a variety of colors. While these magnets are intriguing to play with, they can cause death if swallowed. Ingestion of two or more magnets causes the magnets to stick to each other, through intestinal tissues. This can lead to gastrointestinal damage including bowel blockages, perforations, and necrosis. In some cases, children have required surgery or even died after swallowing rare earth magnets. In September 2022, the Consumer Product Safety Commission approved new federal safety standards for these magnets with the intent of reducing magnet-related injuries and deaths, but that doesn’t affect the magnets that are already in people’s homes or that are sold before the regulation is finalized.”

couple is cleaning kitchen. Girl is smiling

Dr. Johnson-Arbor says, “A lot of us Generation X-ers played with these when we were kids, and we may be holding on to them for nostalgic reasons. But old chemistry sets can contain hazardous compounds, including elemental mercury. Elemental mercury is a silvery liquid at room temperature. It vaporizes easily at room temperature, and can be very poisonous if inhaled. Elemental mercury poisoning can lead to personality changes, tremors, rashes, high blood pressure, and other undesirable symptoms.”

man cleaning stains off the table

Attorney Collen Clark who specializes in product liability, toxic torts, and toxic exposure with Schmidt & Clark shares, “These products are known to contain naphthalene, which is considered a potential carcinogen by the World Health Organization (WHO). The substance is made from coal tar or crude oil and is usually found in car exhaust, cigarette smoke, and smoke from forest fires. Exposure to naphthalene can result in neurotoxic effects, such as confusion, vertigo, and lethargy. It can also cause hepatic effects, gastrointestinal distress, ocular effects, and renal effects. Naphthalene has been found to cause cancer in animals, but there haven’t been any confirmed cancer cases in humans. Despite that, it’s still linked to a number of adverse health effects, posing severe health risks, especially for children, who may accidentally consume them.”

Woman takes shower in the bathroom. Feminine hygiene rules concept

Dr. Ellie Heintze, Naturopathic Doctor and Licensed Acupuncturist at Starting Point Acupuncture asks, “How can a shower curtain be toxic? If it contains phthalates it can. Most plastic shower curtain liners contain compounds to aid in its flexibility and durability. Phthalates are just one of hundreds of compounds known as estrogen disruptors that may mimic estrogen and cause your body to respond to them inappropriately. Or they may block, stimulate or inhibit these hormones. By interfering in your hormone system, there is growing evidence that these chemicals are responsible for a wide range of health problems.” 

soap, natural sponge and shower gel closeup

Dr. Heintze says, “Items that contain added perfumes, dyes, and fragrance can pose a serious toxin to your system, in addition to being an endocrine disruptor. Common hidden toxic items that contain fragrance are: air fresheners, dryer sheets, perfumes, sunscreens, cleaning products, laundry detergents, pesticides, cosmetics, shampoo, conditioners and those super cute seasonal candles! Exposure to fragrance-containing products have been associated with many health problems including fatigue, skin reactions, breathing difficulties and migraine headaches.  A recent study noted that, “82.0%  {of people} with chemical sensitivity report adverse effects from fragranced products.

Some tips on how to reduce fragrance containing products include: Keep your house fresh and clean without using air fresheners, open the windows, add indoor plants to your home to help improve air quality, throw out the dryer sheets and use hypoallergenic and fragrance-free/green laundry detergents.” 

trendy cooking pots with lids and cutting boards

Beatrice Flores, a cleaning expert at Living Pristine tells us, “Non-stick Cookware is a very popular item that many people have in their homes. It is also one of the most dangerous items you can own. It contains a chemical called Perfluoroalkyls, which are linked to serious health problems and even cancer.”

According to Toxic-Free Future, “To make the pan nonstick, the manufacturer coated it with polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), a PFAS-containing plastic (Teflon™ is a common brand name for these coatings). Unfortunately, the same properties that make PTFE ideal for nonstick cookware also make it dangerous to produce and dispose of. PFAS chemicals persist in the environment, and are thus exceptionally challenging and expensive to clean up. Exposure to these chemicals has been linked to cancer and other health risks.” 

In addition, ” the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre states, “Starting in 1998, multiple lawsuits were filed in US courts against chemical company DuPont in relation to PFOA used to produce Teflon. Local farmers, residents and company workers claimed to have suffered illnesses linked to PFOA pollution from DuPont’s Parkersburg plant in West Virginia. In one class action lawsuit settled in 2005, DuPont agreed to provide up to $235 million for medical monitoring of over 70,000 people. There have been numerous individual lawsuits from victims of PFOA-related diseases. In February 2017, DuPont settled over 3,550 lawsuits for $671 million.”