Toxins in Dust

No matter how much you clean there are bound to be dust bunnies hidden away behind the door, cabinets or closets. Unfortunately those little dust bunnies contain phthalates, flame-retardants, fragrances and parabens.  100% of all samples tested in a 2016 analysis Toxins in Dustrevealed that 10 toxic chemicals (others included mixtures of 45)

Breathing in and touching these particles toxins can cause damage to the reproductive system, nervous system, hormone disruption, and insulin resistance. There is no way to eliminate every particle of dust in your home. What are some helpful, more doable solutions?

Phthalates originate from vinyl and fragrance. Do your best to eliminate all items in your home that contain fragrance (Essential Oils are a safer choice). This includes personal care products such as shampoo, perfume and lotions. Cleaning products are big offenders. They are often filled with “fragrances” to help your house smell clean.  I clean the majority of my house with vinegar, baking soda, essential oils and Dr. Bronners castile soap. It’s surprisingly effective, cheap, and non-toxic to use these several ingredients.

Flame-retardants are still hidden in odd places.  When I was a kid they were on all our pajamas (This is no longer the case). Unfortunately, pet beds, crib mattresses, memory foam, and upholstery still contain flame-retardants.

PFOA and PFOS are lurking in your non-stick cookware, fleece jackets and even water resistant clothing (see previous blog post).

Parabens are likely still in your shampoos and beauty care products (read your labels and make a switch!).

We all own some level of these things regardless of how conscious we try to be. You don’t need to go crazy and throw everything away. As old things wear out, replace these items with safer choices.  In the meantime, and when you do, a vacuum with a HEPA filter is the way to go. Personally I am a huge fan of the Dyson line. We owned one for many years and it finally gave out. I recently replaced it with the Dyson Ball Animal 2 and I can’t begin to tell you what we are pulling out of my frequently vacuumed (not that old and no shoes in the house) carpets.  It’s mind blowing (and gross) but it’s an extraordinary vacuum cleaner.

toxins in dust


Cookware Can Be Harmful

Cookware Toxins from Non-Stick Pans

Growing up we always had stainless steel pans. At some point we replaced all those pans for non-stick sauté pans. The goal was that they were easier and faster to clean. We live in the era of convenience right? After a few too many years of “convenience” I replaced all those non-stick pans with the original stainless steel and a few cast iron pans. Why go backwards? Sometimes “forwards” isn’t really progress (Note: GMOToxins Non-Stick Cookware food, plastic and antibacterial everything)

The Problem:

Back to the pans…. what is wrong with those easy to clean non-stick pans? Generally, non-stick pans are aluminum coated with a synthetic. Previously they were coated with perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). EWG studies, conducted by DuPont’s own scientists, revealed that when its non-stick cookware is heated it breaks down into 15 types of toxic gases and particles. In 2004 a  $343 million dollar lawsuit was won for contamination of drinking water and an association of tumors and developmental problems in animals. The EPA was advised to declare PFOA as a carcinogen. Eight companies agreed to phase out PFOA by 2015. (Take note: how old are your pans?)


Non-stick pans may also include polytetrafluoroetheylene (PTFE) also known as Teflon. High temperatures have caused toxic fumes (including six toxic gases, which include two carcinogens.  Fumes from these pans to kill pet birds and cause people to develop flu like symptoms.  Unfortunately the coating also breaks down and the toxic particles are carcinogenic.

Health Concerns:

PFC’s contaminate the environment and find their way into your blood stream. Residue from these substances has been found in blood, breast milk, liver and even umbilical cords.  High levels have been associated with peripheral artery disease, high “bad” cholesterol, insulin resistance, and thyroid disease.


“Safety suggestions” include using lower temperatures and making sure not to damage the coating. Lower temperatures tested were all exceeded by the average cooking temperature. It would totally eliminate preheating pans, broiling, and searing meat.  In addition, ventilating your kitchen and keeping birds out of the kitchen. The best safety suggestion is likely replacing any non-stick cookware you may have.


Logical solutions: replace one pan at a time.  Good pans are not cheap. (Neither is long-term illness.) Start with your most common used pan (likely a stovetop pan that you scrape with a spatula and cook at higher than safe temperatures. Work your way through until you have a safer set of pans. Stainless steel, cast iron or glass for bake ware.


As with most things it is impossible to avoid all PFC’s (more next week on where else they are hiding) so cutting down on the ones you can control is a difference maker.


Cookware Toxins