Toxics in the Home

A Small Dose of Toxics in the Home


  • An Introduction into the Health Effects of Toxics in the Home

Toxics in the Home Dossier


  • Name: Toxics at Home
  • Use: Various uses in household products (medicines, pesticides, cleaning agents, paint, mercury thermometers, plastics)
  • Source: Naturally occurring (mold, radon) and purchased household products
  • Recommended daily intake: usually not recommended
  • Absorption: skin, oral, inhalation
  • Sensitive individuals: children (account for majority of poisoning incidents around the home)
  • Toxicity/symptoms: varies greatly (acute and long-term effects)
  • Regulatory facts: EPA, FDA, Consumer Product Safety Commission
  • General facts: Many home products are necessary, but often less toxic alternatives are available
  • Environmental: serious environmental concern (i.e. mercury, detergents)
  • Recommendations: use less toxic alternatives, dispose of hazardous wastes properly

Toxics in the Home Chapter


PowerPoint Presentation


Toxics in the Home


  • Radon
  • Lead in paint
  • Indoor air pollutants
  • Second-hand smoke
  • Mold and mildew
  • Household hazardous waste
  • Dust from inside and tracked in from outside
  • Consumer products, e.g. old foam mattresses or cushions
  • Household products
  • Cleaning products, cosmetics and personal care products, paints, medications, pesticides, fuels, various solvents, mercury-based thermometers

Poisoning Events in United States: 2007


  • 2.5 million reported exposures
  • 1.6 million information calls
  • 51% involved children under age 6
  • 93% occurred in the home
  • 423,290 treated in a health care facility
  • 1,597 deaths reported in 2007

Volatile Toxic Chemicals


Ingredient

Product

Occupational Exposure Limits (ppm)

Ethanol

Alcoholic beverages

1000

Acetone

Nail polish remover

750

Ethyl acetate

Nail polish remover, marker pens

400

Isopropanol

Rubbing alcohol, personal care products

400

Gasoline

Motor fuel

300

Methanol

Paint remover

200

Turpentine

Paint thinner

100

Xylene

Spray paint, market pens, adhesives

100

Hexane

Adhesives

50

Methylene chloride

Paint remover

50

Toluene

Paint remover, spray paints

50

Carbon monoxide

Auto exhaust, burning charcoal

10

Naphthalene

Mothballs

10

Paradichlorobenzene

Mothballs

10

Formaldehyde

Particle board, plywood

0.30

Chlorpyrifos

Insecticide*

0.014

  • Chlorpyrifos was discontinued in U.S. for household use after the end of 2001.

Chronic Health Effects


Ingredient

Found in*

Cancer

Reproductive

Developmental

Nervous

Chlorothalonil

Fungicide

X

 

 

 

Triforine

Fungicide

 

 

X

 

Carbaryl

Insecticide

X

 

 

X

Arsenic

Treated wood

X

 

 

X

Lindane

Lice treatment

X

 

 

X

Paradichlorobenzene (PDCB) or naphthalene

Mothballs

X

 

 

 

Hexane

Adhesive

 

 

 

X

Lead

Hair dye, toys, paint

X

X

X

X

Benzene

Gasoline

X

 

X

 

Aspirin

Pain relievers

 

X

X

 

Ethyl alcohol

Beverages

X

 

X

X

Methylene chloride

Paint remover

X

 

 

X

Polybrominated diphenyl ethers or (PBDE)

Mattresses, cushions, plastics

 

X

X

X

Bisphenol A (BPA)

Baby bottles, can liners

 

X

X

X

  • Potential for listed ingredient to be found in product or category varies depending on product formulations.

More Information and References


European, Asian, and international Agencies


  • UK Department of Health (DOH). Healthy Schools. Healthy Schools is a wonderful site with information for students, parents, and teachers on creating a healthy indoor environment.
  • World Health Organization (WHO). Child Health. Site has information on global child health issues.

North American Agencies


  • US Department of Health and Human Services National Institutes of Health, National Library of Medicine. Household Products Database. Site has a range of information about household products including their potential health threats.
  • US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Household Hazardous Waste. Site has general information on household hazardous waste.
  • US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Indoor Air Quality (IAQ). This site contains information on indoor air and related health issues.
  • California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment. Art Hazards Program. Site has information on hazardous art/craft supplies and alternatives.

Non-Government Organizations


  • Washington Toxics Coalition (WTC). WTC provides databases of toxic-free toys, alternatives to home pesticides, and information on persistent chemical pollutants, model pesticide policies, and much more.
  • Green Seal. Green Seal encourages the purchasing of products and services that cause less toxic pollution and waste.

References


  • Ott, Wayne R., and John Roberts. "Everyday Exposure to Toxic Pollutants". Scientific American February 1998.
  • Steinemann, Anne C. "Fragranced consumer products and undisclosed ingredients". Environmental Impact Assessment Review 29, 1 (2009): 32-38.
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