Toxic household products to avoid

Nonstick pans. Many nonstick pans contain trace amounts of a chemical called perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), which has been shown to cause cancer in laboratory animals. The pans’ non-stick lining can scratch or chip off into your food. Alternative: Use cast iron or stainless steel cookware, and natural, non-stick sprays such as olive oil.

Antiperspirants. Many antiperspirants use aluminum-based compounds and other chemicals, which are absorbed into the sweat glands. Avoid any chemicals that are absorbed into the body for non-medical purposes. Alternative: Try aluminum-free antiperspirants, or natural deodorant sticks and sprays that don’t contain parabens and all ingredients with ‘PEG’ in their name.

Plastic food containers. Plastic breaks down over time, and this breakdown can release dangerous chemicals into your food. Many plastic containers are made from chemicals including phthalates, which act as endocrine-disrupting chemicals. Alternative: Switch to glass containers.

Air fresheners. Anything you breathe in eventually ends up in your bloodstream. Plug-in scents or synthetically scented candles many contain chemicals called phthalates, which have been linked to reproductive problems. Alternative: Choose candles made with essential oils and fresh flowers to scent your home. Also, try using baking soda and white vinegar as odor absorbers.

Prepared foods in plastic containers. You don’t have to throw these out, but don’t heat them up in the plastic. Heating plastic can release chemicals that seep into your food. Alternative: Take an a few extra seconds to transfer prepared foods into a glass container before heating them in the microwave.

Perfumes. Perfume can contain up to 300 chemical ingredients. Alternative: Avoid perfumes and colognes or switch to products that are scented with natural oils.

Fabric and upholstery protection sprays. Stain blockers essentially create an invisible plastic barrier over your furniture. This plastic will eventually wear off and be released into your home environment. Alternative: Clean stains as necessary rather than trying to prevent them.

Cleaning products. Check the labels of cleaning products for chemical ingredients such as phthalates and chemical surfactants. Alternative: Use natural products like baking soda, Borax, soap powder, vinegar, lemon and hot water.