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Tags: pollution | health | cancer | chemicals

10 Items in Your Bedroom That Could Be Toxic

Pillows on a bed
Pillows on a bed (Jesada Wongsa/

By    |   Friday, 19 July 2019 11:07 AM EDT

Your bedroom is one place where you always feel safe, but there may be certain items in your room that are harming you — and you may not even be aware of it. It could be that the foam in your upholstered furniture contains toxic chemicals or that the wood of your dresser has been glued together with a cancer-causing adhesive.

There are multiple health hazards that could be lurking in your bedroom, as Reader's Digest noted in a recent report that shed light on these secretly toxic items. Here are 10 of them:

  1. Pollution. Just because you are not outside, it does not mean that you are safe from pollution. Indoor pollution is an actual concern. Concentrations of certain pollutants lurking inside your home may actually be up to five times higher than the ones outside. The source may be common household products or allergens.
  2. Paint. Certain paints can emit toxic compounds even once it has dried on the walls. There have been studies that found children who had been exposed to these toxic chemicals were more likely to develop asthma, allergies, and eczema. Choose a paint that has low or no VOC (volatile organic compounds) and make sure you air your room well after painting.
  3. Your mattress. The last thing on your mind when you lay down to sleep is whether or not your mattress is made with polyurethane foam, which can emit VOCs. The risks don't end there, though. Your mattress could also include other toxins like flame-retardant chemicals and PVC. These have been linked to certain cancers.
  4. Your pillows. Your pillows could be another secretly toxic item in your bedroom. Chances are if your pillows are made from memory foam, they can be just as bad with off-gassing chemicals as your mattress, noted Kimberly Button, a WELL AP and creator of Get Green Be Well and The Ultimate Home Detox Guide. Mold, allergens, and dust mites are other irritants that could be lurking in your pillows.
  5. Toiletries. There is a big chance that the seemingly innocent-looking cosmetic products sitting on your dresser contain alcohol as well as various other chemicals that could be harmful to your family's health, especially if there are children in the house. The majority of child-related calls placed to poison-control centers arise from children ingesting products containing harmful chemicals.
  6. Mothballs. If you can smell the distinctive smell of mothballs, you are breathing in the very toxins that were designed to repel insects and rodents. The active ingredient, naphthalene or paradichlorobenzene, can cause headaches, skin irritation, and dizziness. Over an extended period of time, they may cause liver damage and cataracts.
  7. Carpets. It may be comforting to feel that cushy carpet beneath your feet first thing in the morning, but studies have linked various health conditions including asthma, infections, headaches, and fatigue to carpeted floors. Your carpet may be made with synthetic fibers and adhesives that may contain toxic chemicals. They may also be absorbing and re-emitting pollutants, dust and allergens.
  8. Air-freshener. They may make the air smell fresher, but these sweet-smelling products contain toxic chemicals that could lead to reproductive issues and birth defects. Look for products made from essential oils instead.
  9. Scented candles. Like air-freshener, scented candles may make the room smell good but they are likely releasing toxic chemicals into the air, which you then breathe in. "Several toxic chemicals and airborne particles from [scented candles and other fragranced products] have been linked to adverse health effects, such as respiratory issues, migraine headaches, and contact dermatitis," said Jane McElroy, Ph.D., a family and community medicine professor at the University of Missouri School of Medicine. "Avoiding exposure to these toxins by not using items that emit fragrances is the best solution. Well-ventilated areas will also reduce the exposure: The old-fashioned solution of airing out the room by opening windows does help."
  10. Dust. Dust could contain up to 45 toxic chemicals, studies have shown. The most common culprits are compounds that come from carpets, upholstery, toiletries and cleaning products. Vacuum whenever possible.

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Your bedroom is one place where you always feel safe, but there may be certain items in your room that are harming you — and you may not even be aware of it.
pollution, health, cancer, chemicals
Friday, 19 July 2019 11:07 AM
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