Pesticides & Air Fresheners — Inhaling at your own risk
Pesticides Contain Poisonous Chemicals While Air Fresheners Are Laced with Pollutants
More than 33 million Americans are injured annually by common household products, resulting in a personal-safety nightmare that racks up $800 billion in related costs, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
The leading culprit is magnets, which small children playfully pull off refrigerators and swiftly swallow, causing them to either choke or wind up with intestinal damage.
But there are other, less-tangible hazards that can cause bad accidents and bodily harm, and many go unnoticed in the common everyday household.
“Scientists have realized that chemicals found in a wide variety of the goods we use every day may be more toxic than previously thought,” states an article on How StuffWorks.com. “We cannot discount that chemicals have made our lives easier. But the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently concluded that indoor air may be more polluted than outdoor air.”
Indoor air-quality has become a growing concern because of two primary reasons: 1) the technological innovation of new products that kill insects, including sweater-eating moths, and leave our homes smelling like spring rain; and 2) the fact that Americans spend an approximate 90 percent of their lives inside, compounding the health risks posed by popular pesticides and air fresheners.
“In the last several years, a growing body of scientific evidence has indicated that the air within homes and other buildings can be more seriously polluted than the outdoor air in even the largest and most industrialized cities,” the Environmental Protection Agency warns. “In addition, people who may be exposed to indoor air pollutants for the longest periods of time are often those most susceptible to the effects of indoor air pollution. Such groups include the young, the elderly, and the chronically ill, especially those suffering from respiratory or cardiovascular disease.”
The EPA’s job is to test new chemicals – including pesticides and air fresheners – before they go to market and now requires manufacturers include toxicity levels on their labels so consumers know what type of poison or pollutant they are purchasing.
Here are some tips on handling pesticides:
- Ventilate, ventilate, ventilate! Fumigation in enclosed spaces will solve that roach problem, but before you and your family re-enter the house, open up the doors and windows and reintroduce fresh air.
- Consult with your pest-control professional and inquire what types of products are being sprayed in your home.
- If you treat pests your own with store-bought products, stash in a safe location and at the correct temperature and make sure they are inaccessible to children and pets. Read all directions prior to use.
- Never flush pesticides down the drain or into the toilet.
With regard to mothballs, the danger arises when the white-crystal orbs shrink into tiny, pea-sized balls and emit gasses. Consumers should try to avoid directly inhaling the vapors or avoid using mothballs altogether and opt for better-smelling cedar ships. Finally, wash all clothing stored in mothballs before wearing it.
Spritzing sweet-smelling air freshener in your bathroom or kitchen won’t immediately make you sick, but it could if the area lacks proper air circulation, as such fresheners contain chemicals called phthalates, which the National Resources Defense Council described in a 2007 press release as “hormone-disrupting.”