10 Common toxins to eliminate from your home

Oct 29, 2010 at 5:16 p.m. ET

When you lay your head on your pillow at night, the last thing you want to worry about are potential toxins lurking in your home. From your dishwasher to microwave popcorn, there are hazardous substances in a variety of appliances and other items we use every day. Here are 10 common toxins you should avoid.

Cleaning supplies

"Most people don't realize that there are codes to make sure their workspace receives adequate fresh air, but that homes are not generally subject to that same requirement," says Mick Dalrymple, LEED-accredited professional and director of the national board for the U.S. Green Building Council. "The result is that toxins build up inside the home to the point that it's usually several times more polluted than the outdoors."

Here are 10 common toxins in your home:

1. Air fresheners

These "fresheners" contain a toxin that can desensitize the nerves in your nose and include ingredients that may cause cancer. Try organic, natural potpourri instead.

2. Synthetic cleaning products

These products are nown to leave behind airborne micro droplets that can be harmful. Opt instead to make your own natural cleaners.

3. Chlorine-based dishwasher detergent

Running hot water in the dishwasher can turn this ingredient found in detergents in to a harmful gas. Phosphate or chlorine-free alternatives are the best choice.

4. Volatile organic compounds (VOCs)

VOCs include a variety of chemicals and are found most commonly in paint strippers, but are also found in paint. Always use low-VOC paint.

5. Synthetic-construction furniture

Furnishings made from solid wood are the best option,  as the glues used in synthetic-constructed furniture can emit formaldehyde and other fumes.

6. Pesticides

Found on most fruits and vegetables. Always make sure to properly scrub and rinse before eating, or buy organic to avoid the chemicals.

7. Radon

Test for this odorless gas found in confined spaces such as basements, as radon has been linked to numerous lung problems. Purchase an at-home kit to check the air in your home.

8. Parabens and phthalates

Be sure to review the ingredients in your beauty items to confirm they do not include either of these toxins.

9. Perfluorinated chemicals (PFC)

Designed to keep oil from seeping through microwave popcorn bags, this toxin can migrate into food and has been listed as a carcinogen.

10. Mold

Found where moisture and oxygen are combined in warm areas, mold has many different forms. Seek a professional if you spot mold.

Another common way to keep your indoor air quality at its best is to keep your home well-ventilated. Elimination plus ventilation allows you to put those dangers to bed so you can get a good night's sleep.

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