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10 Ordinary Products That Could Negatively Affect Your Health

Headlines warn us about hazardous chemicals in ordinary products. Best You reviewed the most credible research to find out: How much do we have to worry?

Dirty plastic food container on dark wooden background. Used food box as Garbage. Environmental pollution conceptFascinadora/Shutterstock

“Clamshell” takeout food containers

What It Contains
Polystyrene (Styrofoam).

Concerns
May leach styrene (a possible human carcinogen) into food, and into groundwater from landfills.

What You Should Do
Avoid food that has come into contact with polystyrene and any food packaging labeled #6 in the recycling symbol, which is usually located on the bottom of the container.

TOP VIEW: Human hands pouring olive oil on the frying pancliplab.pro/Shutterstock

Nonstick cookware (when overheated)

What It May Contain
Perfluorinated chemicals (PFC). (Some new non-stick cookware does not contain PFC.)

Concerns
Nonstick pans may give off fumes that could lead to flu-like symptoms when they get hotter than 500°F. How hot is that? Olive oil, for example, starts smoking at 410°F, well below that level.

What You Should Do
Just to be safe, don’t allow empty pans to smolder on a hot burner. Don’t miss these other 15 common items with hidden health risks.

Pots and PansRob Byron/Shutterstock

Worn and pitted pots and pans

What They May Contain
Aluminum.

Concerns
Aluminum has been associated with Alzheimer’s disease. However, no definite link has been proven.

What You Should Do
Consider getting rid of older pots and pans, which leach the most aluminum into your food. Leafy vegetables and acidic foods, such as tomatoes, absorb the most. Anodized aluminum pots, with a hard non-stick surface, are a better choice.

Fitness man looking to the phone for motivation before gym workout. Sporty male athlete looking his smartphone holding water bottle.Starstuff/Shutterstock

Reusable “sport” water bottles

What They Contain
Polycarbonate, which may contain bisphenol A.

Concerns
Bisphenol A is a suspected hormone disrupter and has been found to stimulate prostate cancer cells.

What You Should Do
Plastics labeled #1, #2, #4 and #5 are safer than those labeled #3, #6 and #7. Also check metal-lined containers (such as those used for some baby formulas and cocoa powder), five-gallon water bottles, and most plastic baby bottles. Replace plastic baby bottles with glass, and water bottles with stainless steel or those made of high-density polyethylene—labeled #2 in the recycling symbol. Avoid putting plastics into the microwave or dishwasher. To be extra careful, use ceramic or glass containers instead.

Plastic water bottleGeorge Dolgikh/Shutterstock

Water and soft-drink bottles when refilled


What They Contain

Polyethylene terephthalate.

Concerns
The bottles are considered safe but are intended for single use only; they should not be reused because they may have picked up bacteria from the first use. But one thing you don’t need to worry about: cancer. Some rumors spread that disposable water bottles leach the carcinogen DEHA into your drinking water if they overheat or get too cold, but those claims turned out to be a hoax. Here are 29 more things you think cause cancer but don’t.

What You Should Do
If you’re using plastics labeled #1 (typically) in the recycling symbol, only use once (and then, of course, recycle!). It’s hard to wash them correctly—especially if you’re on the go—so they might continue harboring germs.

Curved shower curtain rod and shower curtain. ; Shutterstock ID 571130782; Job (TFH, TOH, RD, BNB, CWM, CM): –

Backyard furniture, shower curtains, toys

What They Contain
Polyvinyl chloride (PVC), which often contains softeners called phthalates.

Concerns
PVC releases toxic chemicals during its manufacture. Phthalates, for their part, can damage the liver, kidneys and reproductive systems of animals. Suspected endocrine disrupters, they mimic hormones and may interfere with children’s growth and development, especially if infants chew or suck on vinyl products.

What You Should Do
Avoid PVC products and soft plastic toys, which young children may put in their mouth. Watch out for plastics labeled #3 in the recycling symbol, and instead seek out plastics labeled #1, #2, #4 or #5 because those are not endocrine disrupters.

New electric oven in kitchenAfrica Studio/Shutterstock

Oven cleaner

What It Contains
Sodium hydroxide or potassium hydroxide.

Concerns
Breathing in the corrosive sodium or potassium hydroxide could cause anything from difficulty breathing to a sore throat, and coming in direct contact could burn your skin.

What You Should Do
Keep the kitchen well ventilated when you’re cleaning, and wear gloves and safety glasses to avoid any mishaps. Check out these other 10 things in your home that are making you sick.

A close view of small square cheese crackers.Tiger Images/Shutterstock

Cheesy snacks

Also check labels on processed foods like breakfast cereals, gelatin, frosting, and soft drinks.

What It Contains
Tartrazine (yellow 5).

Concerns
Studies show yellow 5 could cause hyperactivity in children, whether or not they have ADHD.

What You Should Do
Check food labels and aim to buy snacks and ingredients without the food coloring. Learn about 10 other toxic things you didn’t know you were feeding your kids.

couchKinga/Shutterstock

Flame retardants in furniture foam

What They Contain
Tris(1,3-dichloro-2-propyl) phosphate (TDCPP).

Concerns
Because they put their hands in their mouths, toddlers tend to ingest TDCPP, which is already banned in children’s sleepwear because cancer concerns.

What You Should Do
Consult furniture companies before you buy, especially for kids’ products.

Makeupmisuma /Shutterstock

Beauty products

What They Contain
Parabens, including isopropylparaben, phenylparaben, and benzylparaben

Concerns
Because the group of preservatives found in cosmetics, shampoos, lotions, and sunscreens act like estrogen, studies say they could increase risk of breast cancer. In fact, the European Union has already banned certain parabens and put limits on others.

What You Should Do
Color additives are the only cosmetic ingredients that require FDA approval, so the government isn’t controlling the preservatives in your beauty products. You’ll have to protect your own skin by checking labels to make sure your products don’t contain parabens. Next, learn which 11 household items are literally poisoning your air.