Nowadays, more and more people are becoming health conscious and taking necessary steps to stay healthy.
People are ready to invest in gym memberships, yoga classes, workout clothes, fitness equipment, ingredients for healthy recipes, and the list goes on. But many people forget that there are things in their home that are detrimental to their health and well-being, and could work against all their efforts.
On a daily basis, you come into with numerous items in your house—many of which have health risks that can accumulate over time. Hence, before beginning a new health-conscious start, you need to throw away many common items from your bedroom to your kitchen and even your bathroom.
Failing to throw out or replace these everyday objects can put your whole household at risk and make you more prone to illness.
Here are the top 10 things you should throw away to stay healthy.
1. Plastic Food Containers and Bottles
To stay healthy, it is important to throw away your plastic food containers and plastic bottles. This will reduce your exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals like bisphenol A (BPA), bisphenol S (BPS) and phthalates.
BPA, a compound used in manufacturing polycarbonate and other plastics, is a harmful chemical. Even the U.S. government’s National Toxicology Program agrees that exposure to it is bad for human health.
Exposure to BPA interferes with reproductive development in animals and increases the risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes in humans. This harmful chemical even increases the risk of cancer of the breast, prostate and thyroid.
A 2009 study published in Environmental Health Perspectives reports that drinking anything from polycarbonate bottles increased the level of BPA excreted in human urine. Such bottles release the chemical into the liquid that people drink.
Heat, along with wear and tear through multiple washings, can increase the amount of chemicals being leached from containers and bottles. Your best bet is to avoid plastic bottles and containers altogether, and replace them with glass bottles and containers.
2. Antibacterial Soaps and Detergents
If you regularly buy antibacterial soaps and detergents, it’s time to change this habit to stay healthy.
The “antibacterial” tag does not keep you healthy and protect you against germs and bacteria as you might believe. Even the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommends that people use plain soap and water to wash their hands.
Antibacterial soaps and detergents are harmful due to the presence of the chemical called triclosan. Such hygiene products also contain other harmful chemicals, such as triclocarban, 2-butoxyethanol, BPA, d-limonene, dyes, parabens, phthalates and chloride.
A 2009 study published in Toxicological Sciences reports that triclosan exposure can significantly impact thyroid hormone concentrations.
Triclosan can alter hormone regulation and may interfere with fetal development in pregnant women. Other health problems linked to triclosan include allergies, endocrine disruption, weight gain and inflammatory responses.
3. Air Freshener
Air fresheners and room deodorizers are loaded with chemicals that are harmful for your health. They usually contain phthalates that have been linked to cancers and other health problems.
In most cases, these products contain a compound called 2, 5-dichlorophenol (2, 5-DCP). It is an endocrine disrupting chemical which is linked to earlier age of menarche.
Instead of masking bad odors with room fresheners and chemical sprays, try to identify the root causes and deal with them.
You can also prepare homemade air fresheners using baking soda and essential oils. Another option is to prepare small sachets or pouches using dried flowers, herbs and spices.
Plus, you can create a stove-top potpourri using citrus fruits and aromatic spices to make your home smell nice and fresh. Just simmer ingredients like orange, cranberries, lemon, lemon zest, lavender, cinnamon, mint, rosemary, bay leaves and star anise in a pot full of water.
4. Kitchen Sponges
You must throw away your kitchen sponges every two weeks to stay healthy.
The kitchen sponge that you regularly use to wash your dishes and clean your countertops can be a breeding ground for harmful bacteria and other pathogens, such as viruses. It is the dampness and dirt on the sponges that aid in harboring these nasty bugs.
Experts report that a sponge can harbor 10 million bacteria per square inch and can be as much as 200,000 times dirtier than a toilet seat.
Even the cleanest, most well-kept sponges need to be thrown away two to four times a month. In between replacements, you must run your current sponge through the dishwasher to help keep germs at bay.
A 2006 study published in Saint Martin’s University Biology Journal found that for cleaning a kitchen sponge, the dishwasher had the largest bacterial reduction, reducing bacteria by 57.3 percent, followed by boiling and the washing machine method.
A washcloth is actually a better option than a sponge for regular kitchen use. As a washcloth is thinner, it dries quicker than a sponge between uses. This slows down the growth of bacteria. But still be sure to toss it in the washing machine frequently for a good cleaning.
5. Old Nonstick Cookware
Though easy to clean and incredibly popular, nonstick cookware is a popular item in your kitchen that you must throw away.
With regular use, the Teflon coating may begin to break down at the molecular level, and toxic particles and gases get released. When you breathe kitchen air polluted with fumes from overheated Teflon, you are putting yourself and your family at a higher risk for developing flu-like symptoms.
Also, nonstick pans expose you to PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid), a chemical associated with tumors and developmental problems in animals. Health experts are concerned about its possible effects on humans as well.
Instead of using Teflon-coated nonstick cookware, opt for cast iron cookware. In fact, using cast iron cookware will supply you with iron every time you cook. Plus, when cooking in cast iron pans and skillets, you do not get exposed to harmful toxic fumes.
6. Dirty Contact-Lens Cases
Although lenses are generally safe and comfortable, if you don’t use and take care of them properly, you are increasing your risk of several eye complications, including vision loss.
When it comes to use of lenses, most of us ignore the importance of the cases in which we put our lenses at the end of the day. Using a dirty lens case is one of the primary risk factors for eye infections.
A 2015 study conducted at the University of New South Wales analyzed the hygiene habits of 119 lens wearers related to lenses and storage cases. Researchers found that of all the lens cases studied, 66 percent tested positive for bacterial or fungal contamination. Contamination rates were higher among people who had worn lenses for two or more years.
The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends replacing your lens case at least every three months, along with cleaning it, letting it air-dry face down, and using fresh solution daily.
To prevent contamination of lens cases, always wash your hands with soap and water before handling lenses, regularly air-dry the lens cases and avoid using disinfecting solutions of lens cases from different manufacturers.