It’s safe to say we all have been spending more time indoors this past year. With coronavirus in the air, “going out” is something that requires planning and caution. Most people are, justifiably, focused on the dangers lurking in the grocery store and at school. But everyday chemicals inside the home pose their own invisible threat to families’ health.
Toxic chemicals are surprisingly common in the home. Seventy-four percent of plastics in food packaging and storage containers have toxic substances like bisphenol-A (BPA) and phthalates, according to a study from the American Chemical Society. These plastics are continuously shedding chemicals into the food your family eats. Phthalates are also found in everything from flooring to children’s clothing to the dust in our homes.
These chemicals affect the health of both adults and children, and even small doses may be enough to disrupt a child’s development. Numerous studies, including my own, have linked childhood exposure to phthalates and BPA with decreased IQ, behavior problems, obesity, food allergies, eczema, asthma, and respiratory infections. My research at the Brown University School of Public Health also found that early childhood exposure to triclosan, an antimicrobial chemical common in products like cosmetics, is associated with attention problems and hyperactivity in school-aged children.
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This article was produced by Footnote in partnership with Brown University School of Public Health.