Some Household Toxins You Need to Avoid for Better Home Improvement

This is a healthy home alert. To save money, protect your health, and help the environment, don’t use or buy these toxic materials and chemicals.

Coal Tar Driveway Sealant

If you plan to seal your driveway come spring, avoid coal tar-based sealants. They contain polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, or PAHs, which studies suggest can be toxic, causing cancer or other genetic mutations in your body. When rainwater and other precipitation hit your driveway, the toxic chemicals run off into your yard and into your local drinking water supply.

In fact, this situation has been compared to dumping quarts of motor oil right down a storm drain. Gravel and other porous materials are best for driveways because they allow rainwater to sink into the ground, where it gets filtered and doesn’t inundate water treatment plants. But if you do need to seal, pick asphalt sealant and stay away from any product that has coal tar in its name.

Synthetic Pesticides

Chemical weed, fungus, and bug killers all fit under this category and should be avoided both inside and outside of your house. Researchers have linked these pesticides to various forms of cancer, including non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and brain damage in kids. Combating an indoor bug problem is as simple as cleaning up crumbs, sealing food in containers, and using wood shims and a caulking gun to fill pest entry points.

If you’re spending big bucks on chemicals for the lawn, pesticides and chemical fertilizers kill the health of the soil and create a lawn that allows for little rainwater absorption, which contributes to flooding. Try replacing some sod with plants native to your area; they don’t require as much water and maintenance.

Antibacterial soap

The antimicrobial chemical triclosan, used in some toothpastes and antibacterial soaps, is believed to disrupt thyroid function and hormone levels in people; when it mixes into wastewater, it can cause sex changes in aquatic life. Health experts believe that overuse of this and other antibacterial chemicals is promoting the growth of bacteria that are resistant to antibacterial treatment.

Good old-fashioned soap and warm water will kill just as many germs, many scientific and medical studies have shown. If you must use a hand sanitizer, pick one that’s alcohol based and doesn’t list triclosan, triclocarban, other related antibacterial chemical, and other chemicals described as “antimicrobial” or “antibacterial” on the label.

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