Everyday in the U.S. unsuspecting and over-eager people cleaning their bathrooms end up gassing themselves with homemade chlorine gas bombs -- all it takes is common bleach liquid or spray mixed with any number of handy tile cleaners. The resulting damage to the lungs often takes people to a hospital emergency room.
"Diacetyl" is a chemical which is widely used to flavor consumer goods. Manufacturing workers making such products, for example butter-flavored microwave popcorn, recently were found to be at risk of a rare but fatal lung condition -- no one knows if lower levels may be a subtler risk for consumers.
Popular and powerful "superglues" not only can lead to home mishaps (they often come in small bottles that look like eye drops) but can cause serious allergic reactions, especially with frequent and repeated use. Tainted Chinese consumer products (toys, pet food, etc.), lead in artificial turf, and fire retardants with bromine are also health hazards.
Artificial nails have become a major industry and a potential risk for those working all day with the chemical bonding agents that make them stick. Artificial nails are even more dangerous for those who try to remove the nails with potent solvents.
Some of the most dangerous materials have been easily obtainable over the Internet. Even more insidious - artificial nails have been found to spread infection and have even been banned for some hospital workers.
We've all learned about the dangers of leaded gasoline, but now the EPA is reviewing a similar additive using manganese - a metal toxin which has been shown to cause Parkinson's.
About Paul D. Blanc:
He is a Professor of Medicine and holds the Endowed Chair in Occupational and Environmental Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco.
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Toxic everyday products