Avoiding or limiting exposure to toxic chemicals is at the top of every
parent’s list. “Toxic chemicals are everywhere, so exposure is really difficult
to avoid," says Sonya Lunder, MPH, a senior researcher with Environmental
Working Group, a nonprofit organization that researches environmental issues.
"But there are things people can do to be proactive."
Among the key toxins are lead and
pesticides. Studies have linked overexposure to lead and pesticides with
brain and central nervous system damage, behavior problems, asthma, cancer, and
So how can you cut down your exposure to these chemicals and other potential
household risks? Here are the top 10 suggestions from WebMD's experts. (And in
some cases, you'll even save money!)
1. Get house dust under control.
House dust aggravates allergies. It also contains more hazardous chemicals
than you might think, including lead, fire retardants, pesticides, and other
"It's nothing you can afford to take lightly," Lunder tells WebMD. "Even if
these chemicals were used decades earlier in your home, they can still
accumulate in your house dust today."
The solutions: The best -- and most expensive -- option is to replace
wall-to-wall carpeting (a collector for dust and allergens) with wood, cork,
tile, or non-vinyl linoleum. But if that’s not economically feasible, some
old-fashioned elbow grease can help. Vacuum frequently -- meticulously getting
into corners, along the floorboards, and moving furniture to get those dust
Make sure your vacuum has strong suction and a HEPA filter so that dust and
dirt go into the bag.
Vacuum at least two times each week.
Clean the vacuum bag and filter every time, so dust isn't spewed back into