The world is full of health dangers that we face every day, including toxic materials, hazardous chemicals, radiation, and countless other health risk factors. Many scientific studies have proven that exposure to these types of health risk factors can lead to serious health problems.
Here are eight health risk factors that you may commonly face that could be putting your health at risk:
- Microwaving in plastic containers or with plastic wrap. Microwaving in plastic containers or with plastic wrap contaminates your food or drinks with potentially harmful plastic chemicals that are considered health risk factors because they can have negative effects on your health. For instance, one harmful chemical in plastic is Bisphenol A (BPA), which can act similar to estrogen in the body, potentially causing early puberty and breast or testicular health problems. Even BPA-free plastics are not safe because they can still release toxic substances. Your safest bet is to avoid using any plastic containers or plastic wraps in the microwave. Instead, use glass or ceramic dishes in the microwave.
- Using your wireless phone. Research suggests that people who have used their wireless phones frequently over the past 10 years or more have a higher risk of developing brain tumors due to radiation exposure from their phones. The CTIA: The Wireless Association emphasizes that wireless phone usage has not been identified as a public health risk by any major health organization in America. However, the World Health Organization has noted some concern. A far greater risk than radiation is texting or talking while you drive, which increases risk of having a car accident four-fold. The safest way to use your mobile phone is to use ear buds so you can remain hands-free and avoid the added radiation exposure from holding your phone close to your ear.
- Antibacterial soaps and toothpastes. Many antibacterial soaps, body washes and toothpastes contain a germ-killer called Triclosan, which the American Medical Association says should not be used in our homes because it may increase the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. “Studies have shown that these Triclosan products don’t work any better than regular cleansers or toothpastes, but they damage the environment and potentially place our long-term health at risk,” says Susan Shaw, Ph.D., an environmental scientist at the State University of New York, Albany. Read product labels to make sure the soaps and toothpastes you purchase do not contain Triclosan.
- Polyvinyl (PVC) shower curtains. Ever notice that strange chemical-type smell of a new shower curtain? That smell comes from the compounds used to make polyvinyl chloride (PVC) shower curtains. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, long-term exposure to these compounds may be carcinogenic, and in the short-term, they can cause nausea and headaches. A safer option is to use a fabric shower curtain. Or, buy a shower curtain made of vinyl acetate, which is safer than PVC.
- Flea and tick pet collars. According to a study by the Natural Resources Defense Council, an adult playing with a pet that is wearing a flea and tick collar is exposed to up to 500 times what is considered a safe level of pesticides by the Environmental Protection Agency. For a child, the exposure can be 1,000 times higher than what is considered safe. The most dangerous offenders are the collars that contain Propoxur or Tetrachlorvinphos, chemicals that kill parasites by severing nervous system pathways. Several popular brands contain these chemicals, so read product labels. A safer option is to purchase pills for your pets that can kill fleas and ticks from the inside-out.
- X-ray scanners at airports. The full-body x-ray scanners that airport security uses to screen travelers for safety emit radiation at levels that could potentially be harmful to our health. According to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), an x-ray scan exposes a traveler to a very small amount of radiation. However, , independent studies have found the amount of radiation to some parts of the body may be 45 times higher than what the TSA claims and may increase the risk of serious health conditions. The safest way to limit your radiation exposure is to ask for a pat-down instead of consenting to an x-ray at an airport security gate.
- Canned, liquid baby formula. In addition to being in plastics, Bisphenol A (BPA) is also inside canned food liners to safeguard against bacteria. According to tests by the Environmental Working Group, canned, liquid baby formula is one of the foods that is most contaminated with BPA. A safer choice is to use powdered infant formula which contains almost no traces of BPA from its packaging. If you insist on using liquid canned or bottled baby formula, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends that you do not heat the formula in the original can it came in.
- Constantly using a humidifier. While humidifiers can be helpful for the occasional stuffy nose or respiratory congestion, using them constantly can create health risk factors that can affect your whole household. According to a study by the New York State Department of Health, one of the major predictors of whether a child develops asthma is the frequent use of a humidifier at home. The moisture generated by humidifiers creates an ideal environment for mold to grow and dust mites to proliferate, which can create health problems for your entire family. So it’s best to keep your humidifier use to a minimum.
Being aware of these and other health risk factors can help you keep your home and your family safer in the future.
- Is it Really Safe to Microwave Food in Plastic Containers?
- Microwaving Safety – Why You May Want to Rethink the Way you Heat
- A Healthier Way to Use Your Cell Phone
- Health Concerns Continue for Common Plastic Chemical, BPA
- The 6 Deadliest Chemicals and Toxins in Your Body
- What’s Really in your Toothpaste