If a member of your household has chemical sensitivities, shopping for products made from non-toxic materials becomes a bit more challenging, but thankfully, not impossible. We list some helpful tips below. First, we will address what toxins and carcinogens actually are.

What Are Carcinogens and Toxins?

A carcinogen is an agent that is responsible for causing cancer. Most people, unless directly exposed to a large amount of carcinogens on a daily basis, do not show symptoms of exposure for a very long time. Those who do, often have mild signs such a runny nose, itchy eyes, a scratchy throat, headaches, fatigue, dizziness, skin rash, and respiratory infections — all which are common reactions to indoor air pollution, according to www.preventcancer.com.

Extreme exposure to indoor pollution can result in lung cancer, or damage to the liver, kidneys, and central nervous system. “Young children are especially vulnerable to impaired lung function and respiratory infection.” So what products should you look out for and ensure they are used and stored properly?

According to experts, these products can contain variable amounts of carcinogens and toxins:

• Candles
• Shampoos
• Paints/Solvents
• Household cleaners

Scientific Terms to Look for on Labels

The scientific terms for ingredients that contain toxins and/or carcinogens can include the following which you can find on the labels on the back of your products:

• Ethoxylated nonyl phenols (NPEs) -This is a group of endocrine-disrupting chemicals still used in cleaning products.
• Methylene chloride – For years, people have been using methylene chloride, or products containing methylene chloride, as a paint stripper.
• Toluene – a potent reproductive toxin, which is used as a solvent in numerous products, including paints.
• Trisodium nitrilotriacetate (NTA) — Used as a builder in laundry detergents, NTA is listed as a possible human carcinogen (IARC 2B) by the International Agency for Research on Cancer.
• Xylene – Another extremely toxic ingredient that is often found in graffiti and scuff removers, spray paints and some adhesives.