The Dangerous Places in Your Home That May Give You Cancer

0 Ratings

Cancer kills more than half a million people a year in the U.S., making cancer the second leading cause of death in the country, exceeded only by heart disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC). What increases the risk of cancer is a complicated questions with many answers. When it comes to prevention, most people concentrate on lowering alcohol consumption, quitting cigarette smoking and protecting yourself from the sun. But people should also consider other possibilities, such as toxins in your home.


Cushioned furniture

They are treated with TDCIPP, cancer-causing fire retardant. A study showed that all 22 mothers and 26 children tested were exposed to TDCIPP, a likely carcinogen, according to EWG. People end up with fire retardants in their bodies mainly by inhaling or swallowing dust which hides in sofas, just like mattresses and other furniture. An old study at a Stauffer Chemical Company plant that manufactured TDCPP found an increased incidence of lung-cancer deaths in a cohort of 289 workers.



They are a problem if you are smoking inside. Curtains and other soft surfaces retain cadmium from cigarette smoke. The general population is also exposed to eat by eating cadmium-contaminated foods, which is the major source of cadmium exposure for nonsmokers, according to the National Cancer Institute. There is an increased risk of developing lung cancer. There is link between cadmium exposure and tumors in the kidneys, breast, and prostate, research has shown.


Pressed wood

Beware of anything in your home that has been made with pressed wood. The problem is formaldehyde, which can cause cancer, according to the National Cancer Institute. The colorless, flammable, strong-smelling chemical is used in building materials such as wood. It is also found in building insulation, glues, permanent press fabrics, paints and coatings, cosmetics, dishwashing liquids and fabric softeners.


Leather products

Things made of leather can be a hazard to your health because of hexavalent chromium, also known as Chromium VI. Remember the movie "Erin Brockovich"? Now, some research shows that it can cause cancer even swallowed. It is widely used in electroplating, stainless steel production, leather tanning, textile manufacturing, and wood preservation. The U.S. is one of the world's leading producers of chromium compounds, according to a report. Studies have consistently shown increased lung cancer rates in people who were exposed to high levels of chromium.


Granite countertop

There is a higher cancer risk because of radon. If present, uranium, thorium or radium will decay into radon, a colorless, odorless, radioactive gas that may cause lung cancer, according to the EPA. It is the second leading cause of lung cancer and is estimated to cause tens of thousands of lung cancer deaths in the U.S. each year. But radon originating from the soil beneath homes poses a much bigger risk. You can buy do-it-yourself home radon test kits.



They pose a cancer risk if this is where you keep your cleaning products. They may be unhealthy because of, again, formaldehyde. The average home has more than 60 toxic chemicals to which people are exposed on regular basis. The hazardous fumes often come from cleaning products. The most dangerous ones are those that contain chlorine and ammonia because mixing the two creates chloramine, a deadly toxic gas. Ingredients in common household products have been linked to asthma, cancer, reproductive disorders, hormone disruption, and neurotoxicity, according to the Environmental Working Group (EWG).



If this is where you keep old electrical devices and appliances, plastics, fluorescent lighting fixtures, and electrical transformers, cable insulation. They can contain polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), according to the American Cancer Society.  The primary target tissues for the cancers were the liver, gallbladder, and biliary tract, according to a retrospective analysis of a study.

Tim Hester |


Dioxins, a group of toxic chemicals, are found throughout the environment as a by-product of combustion and chemical production processes. As far as your home goes, they can be detected in air, soil, water, sediment - or the garden. Long-term exposure to TCDD dioxin can cause cancer, according to National Institutes of Health.


Closet or armoire

If this is where you out your dry-cleaned clothes, even though the chance is not very big. Also known as PCE, or "perc," it is a commonly used solvent to dry clean fabrics. It dissolves greases, oils, and waxes without affecting fabrics. Studies of people exposed to PCE at work such as dry cleaning workers have found more cases than expected of cancers of the esophagus, kidney, cervix, and bladder, and lymphomas.



If this is where you keep scented candles. The benzene chemicals can irritate the skin and cause breathing problems. As they burn, the candles release toluene, another carcinogen. You would have to light a candle every day for years in order for the cancer risk to be significant. Still, consider essential oils or soy-based candles as replacements.



Phthalates, which have been linked to breast cancer, are found in shower curtains. which are also found in fragrance and makeup products, are not required to be listed on labels. Some types of phthalates have affected the reproductive system. Use natural oil for fragrance, if possible. Congress has banned the use of some phthalates in children's products.


PVC flooring

It may be more commonly known as vinyl flooring. Some contain phthalates because they are added to the material to make it a bit softer when the PVC is being manufactured. Parents of toddlers should wet-mop the floor often and wash children's hands after the little ones have been crawling on a vinyl floor, Consumer Reports recommends after testing such floors for phthalates.

No comments found. Sign up or Login to rate and review content.

More Stories