We all know that we can prevent cancer by making healthy lifestyle choices like not smoking, maintaining a healthy diet, and putting on sunscreen when we go out in the sun. But many of us don’t know that seemingly innocent household objects are, in fact, carcinogens, thus putting our families at risk.
According to the American Cancer Society, cancer is caused by changes in a cell’s DNA. These changes can be hereditary, or can be caused by environmental factors. Carcinogens don’t always cause cancer—it depends on how much a person is exposed to the carcinogen, and that person’s genetic makeup.
“Kids don’t have a complete metabolic system—they can’t process things the way adults do”
Kids, however, are especially sensitive to these carcinogens, as Dr. Kent Pinkerton explains to Grandparents.com. “Kids don’t have a complete metabolic system—they can’t process things the way adults do,” says Dr. Pinkerton. “Whatever is in the air, a child may have as many as 30 times greater exposure because of their size and their level of activity.”
This is precisely why parents should be extra careful about the chemicals that their kids come in contact with.
Here are some common household objects that contain known carcinogens, according to CheatSheet and Care2.
1. Air fresheners
Most air fresheners—even the ones marked “all natural” or unscented” contain toxic or hazardous compounds that are known to cause cancer. A study from the University of Colorado found that some of the chemicals found in most air fresheners trigger tumour growth.
2. Cleaning products
Watch out for alkylphenols, triclosan, and tetrachloroethylene. According to Breast Cancer Fund, these are chemicals that are commonly found in cleaning products that have been found to be carcinogenic.
3. Art supplies
Superglue, acrylic paints, solvents, and permanent markers usually contain carcinogenic chemicals. Avoid hazardous chemicals by using water-based glues, paints, and markers instead.
4. Scented candles
Most scented candles have the same carcinogenic properties of air fresheners. As an alternative, you can opt for beeswax candles that use cotton wicks.
Plastic contains chemicals that are believed to be endocrine disrupters, which could lead to cancerous tumours. Though some plastic containers are said to be safe to microwave food in, it’s best to err on the side of caution. According to Harvard University, you can transfer your food into a glass or ceramic container before microwaving to prevent plastics from contaminating your food. You also shouldn’t let plastic wrap touch your food during microwaving as it can melt.