Have you ever given any real thought to your environment?
I’m not talking about factory smokestacks in the big city, I’m talking about the lawn food and weed killer in your garage, the ‘anti-bacterial’ floor and surface cleaner in your utility closet, the drain cleaner under your sink and the toilet bowl cleaner in your bathroom.
Did you know that the average household has 63 different synthetic organic chemical products, which total approximately 10 GALLONS of potentially hazardous petrochemicals? Yep, it’s a fact.
And most are not what you would first think of: the jug of antifreeze or the old can of paint. Most hazardous chemicals in the home are found in common household cleaners.
Here are 26 Facts about the Toxic World You’re Living in Right Now:
- The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reported to Congress that our indoor air contains the nation’s worst pollution. Indoor air pollution is seen as one of the five most urgent environmental problems facing the United States.
- In 1998, U.S. industries reported manufacturing 6.5 trillion pounds of 9,000 different chemicals, and in 2000 major American companies – not even counting the smaller ones – dumped 7.1 billion pounds of 650 different industrial chemicals into our air and water. (Source: www.cleaningpro.com/toxic.cfm)
- “[The United States is] number one in hazardous waste produced (by a factor of more than 20 times our nearest competitor, Germany)” (Source: Michael Moore, “Stupid White Men”)
- According to the Toronto Indoor Air Commission (1990), women who work at home have a 54% higher cancer rate than women who work away from home.
- The World Health Organization (WHO) reported that one-half of all the world’s cancers occur among people living in industrialized countries (containing only one-fifth of the world’s population). (Source: Sandra Steingraber, “Living Downstream”)
- According to the WHO, at least 80% of all cancer is attributable to environmental influences. (Source: Sandra Steingraber, “Living Downstream”)
- The American Cancer Society has reported that, in the U.S., men have a little less than a 1 in 2 lifetime risk of developing cancer; for women the risk is a little more than 1 in 3. (Source: American Cancer Society)
- According to the National Cancer Institute’s SEER Program (Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results), cancer incidence increased 49.3% between 1950 and 1992 in the United States. Childhood cancers have risen by one-third since 1950. (Source: Sandra Steingraber, “Living Downstream”)
- Examples of occupations with higher than average cancer rates in industrialized countries: farmers and migrant farm workers, painters, welders, asbestos workers, plastics manufacturers, dye and fabric makers, firefighters, miners, printers, radiation workers, chemists, chemical engineers, dentists and dental assistants, and chemotherapy workers. (Source: Sandra Steingraber, “Living Downstream”)
- Breast cancer rates are 30 times higher in the United States than in parts of Africa. (Source: Sandra Steingraber, “Living Downstream”)
- A National Research Council study found that complete health-hazard evaluations were available for only 10% of pesticides and 18% of drugs used in the U.S.
- The EPA estimates pesticides contaminate the groundwater in 38 states, polluting the primary source of drinking water for more than half the country’s population.
- A study by the Environmental Defense Fund found widespread pesticide contamination of human breast milk among 1,400 women in 46 states. The levels of contamination were twice as high among the meat-and-dairy-eating women as among vegetarians. (Source: Natural Health, July/Aug. 1994, “Don’t Drink Your Milk”)
- The Natural Resources Defense Council reported that a wide variety of toxic chemicals have been detected in human breast milk. (Source:NRDC)
- Every year, 5-10 million household poisonings are reported as the result of accidental exposure to toxic products in the home. (Source: Debra Lynn Dadd, “Home Safe Home”)
- “Poisoning is the third most common form of unintentional death in the United States. Poisoning accounts for 285,000 hospitalizations, 1.2 million days of acute hospital care, and 13,000 fatalities yearly.” (Source: Dr. Richard S. Weisman, Testimony on 10/12/99 for Subcommittee on Health & Environment)
- “The World Health Organization estimates that every year 3 million people suffer from severe pesticide poisoning, matched by a greater number of unreported, mild cases that result in acute conditions such as skin irritation, nausea, diarrhea and breathing problems. These poisonings result in as many as 20,000 unintentional deaths…” (Source: Worldwatch Institute, “State of the World 2002”)
- The March of Dimes estimates that 200,000 live infants are born with birth defects each year as a result of parental chemical exposure.” (Source: Center for Disease Control, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, “Disorders of Reproduction”)
- Young children under 10 years of age have a four- to seven-fold increased risk of getting leukemia when they live in a home where pesticides are frequently used – whether in the home or garden. Childhood brain cancer is also associated with herbicides, flea collars, pesticides that target termites, and indoor pesticide ‘bombs’. (Source: Karyn Siegel-Maier, “The Naturally Clean Home”)
- There are 4 million chemical mixtures in commercial use that have never been tested for their reproductive effects.” (Source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, “The Effects of Wordplace Hazards on Male Reproductive Health”)
- “Of chemicals commonly found in homes, hundreds have been linked to allergies, birth defects, cancer and psychological abnormalities.” (Source: Consumer Product Safety Commission)
- Several European studies conducted in the early 1990s found that the sperm count of the human male has dropped by half since 1938. The Los Angeles Times, in December 1984, reported that “adverse effects from [household] chemicals include reduced male sperm count, testicle atrophy and infertility.” (Source: Karyn Siegel-Maier, “The Naturally Clean Home”)
- The National Academy of Sciences estimates that around 15% of the U.S. population suffers from some degree of ‘increased sensitivity to chemicals.’ (Source: Debra Lynn Dadd, “Home Safe Home”)
- “At present, not much is known about what health effects occur from the levels of organics (chemicals) usually found in homes. Many organic compounds are known to cause cancer in animals; some are suspected of causing, or are known to cause, cancer in humans.” (Source: EPA)
- “[Dispose at a hazardous waste facility] partially full containers of old or unneeded chemicals…Because gases can leak even from closed containers, this single step could help lower concentrations of organic chemicals in your home.” (Source: EPA)
- As of 1990, the EPA had identified 32,465 sites with past chemical waste dumping that needed to be cleaned up. (Source: Sandra Steingraber, “Living Downstream”)
Pretty sobering isn’t it? In our article How to Reduce Exposure in Your Home we go into various ways you can help lower your home’s toxicity.
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