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5 Hidden Sources of Chemical Exposure

April 16, 2018

5 Hidden Sources of Chemical Exposure

Most of us are naturally careful when handling toxic chemicals. We are careful with the bottle of bleach in the laundry room, and we make sure to use paint thinner or kerosene only in places that are well-ventilated. We know that exposure to these common chemicals can irritate the nose, air passages, and lungs. Prolonged exposure can be even more harmful.

However, we are exposed to potentially harmful chemicals in some surprising ways. Here are some common sources of chemical exposure, and how to minimize the dangers.

Chemical Exposure from Food

Many of the items we buy from the neighborhood grocery store contain a disturbing amount of potentially harmful chemicals. These include dangerous pesticides, fertilizer residue, herbicides.

Also, if we regularly consume pre-packaged and processed convenience foods, we may be exposing ourselves to chemicals in the form of artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives. There is also potential health risks associated with consumption of industrially processed fats and sweeteners.

Thankfully, there are many healthier options available that will help reduce exposure to chemicals commonly found in our food sources. By increasing the amount of organic fruits and veggies in our diet, and limiting meat and dairy consumption, we can greatly reduce the risk these common chemicals pose to our health.

Chemical Exposure from Tap Water

Tap water is chemically treated to kill harmful bacteria, making it generally safe for public consumption. After this necessary chemical treatment, the water that comes out of your kitchen sink is probably laced with chlorine, fluoride, heavy metals, and dioxins. Some tap water may even contain tiny microscopic organisms, petrochemicals, and traces of fertilizer and pesticides.

The solution is to purchase a personal water filtration system to filter out most of the unhealthy substances contained in the average glass of tap water.

Some bottled water is also an acceptable substitute. However, be sure to check the label. Many common brands of bottled water are simply tap water bottled and marketed for public consumption.

Chemical Exposure from Brushing Your Teeth

Most common national brands of toothpaste contain harmful substances like sodium lauryl sulfate, fluoride, propylene glycol, and DEA. Many of these additives have been linked to some common cancers, hormone disruption, and behavior problems.

Try using the alternative natural tooth care products that currently on the market. You can also use common natural substances to effectively clean your teeth, including baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, sea salt, and coconut oil.

Chemical Exposure in the Shower

As mentioned before, the water that comes out of the tap has been chemically treated to inhibit the growth of dangerous pathogens, making it safer for public consumption. Many of these chemicals are absorbed through the surface of your skin while you bathe. A study from the University of Pittsburgh concluded the dangers of bathing in chlorinated water is higher than drinking it.

To limit your exposure, take shorter showers or sponge baths. Another option is to install a modern shower filter. These are generally easy to install and often work in tandem with your current shower head to will filter out many of those added chemicals before the water hits your body. 

Chemical Exposure in the Laundry
Not only are you using treated chemically treated tap water when you wash your clothes, aggressive laundry detergents, fabric softeners, and bleach add to the chemical cocktail. Many laundry products contain chemical substances like benzyl acetate, limonene, and chloroform, all linked to several forms of cancer. These products may also contain benzyl alcohol, which can irritate the upper respiratory tract, and ethanol, associated with disorders of the central nervous system.

But the chemical exposure doesn’t end in your washing machine. Your dryer also contributes to indoor air quality concerns. Older dryers may contain asbestos which can be released into the air while the appliance is running. Also, tiny fabric fibers and chemicals from dryer sheets can make their way into the air you breathe.

Try switching to a natural laundry soap and non-chlorine bleach. Skip the fabric softener altogether and use white vinegar to combat static cling.

To minimize the chemical residue often associated with your clothes dryer, try line-drying your laundry when weather permits, and replace dryer sheets with dryer balls or other reusable non-toxic products.

If you're looking for an excellent source for all your water filtration needs, please contact one of our favourite dealers in Vancouver, YourWaterMatters and ask to speak with Mary or Ian!


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2539 Laurel St
Vancouver BC
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(one block east of Oak St between Broadway and 10th)

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