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5 Household Chemicals to Avoid

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  1. Chlorine bleach is commonly used to treat drinking water, sanitize swimming pools and to whiten laundry, and is a strong eye, skin, and respiratory irritant. Mixing chlorine bleach with other cleaners like ammonia can release dangerous chlorine gas. Exposure to chlorine gas can cause coughing, shortness of breath, chest pain, nausea, or other symptoms.
  2. Ammonia is often included in glass cleaners and other hard-surface cleaners, and can be irritating to the skin, eyes, throat, and lungs. Ammonia can burn your skin, and can damage your eyes (including blindness) upon contact.
  3. Triclosan and Triclocarban are commonly added to household cleaning products such as hand soap and dish soap as well as a broad range of other products from toothpaste to socks. These chemicals are persistent in the environment, and are linked to hormone imbalance, and potential increased risk of breast cancer.
  4. Ammonium quaternary compounds (“quats”) are found in household cleaning products like disinfectant sprays and toilet cleaners, and some have been identified as a known inducer of occupational asthma. Certain quats have also been linked to decreased fertility and birth defects in mice.
  5. Nano-silver can be incorporated into textiles, plastics, soaps, packaging, and other materials, giving each the natural antibacterial property of silver metal. Nano-silver particles can penetrate deep into your body and have been shown to be toxic to the liver and brain.

Industry Facts

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The House Centipede: Get Rid of Them, or Let Them Be?

The house centipede is a fairly common household pest. That said, it’s also pretty heinous. When you’ve had one crawl up your leg in the middle of a lecture in a 200-person auditorium, you know that screams often follow their arrival. If you’ve seen more than your fair share of them at home, here’s some good info:

The house centipede has a gazillion legs and two long antennae that stick far out of their bug bodies. Like the silverfish, they like dark, damp places like the basement or under the bathroom sink. They move quickly, like to come out at night, and have no interest in scary humans. Did I mention how prehistoric and ugly they look?

Here’s why you should leave them alone though: they kill other bugs. Like other centipedes, the house variety has poisonous venom that takes out roaches, moths, flies, and termites— you name the creepy crawly, and this centipede probably offs it. They even take care of bed bugs!

And that’s pretty much all they do (aside from scaring the bejeezus out of you). They don’t carry disease, or nibble on your wooden siding. They don’t go after human food. Just bugs.

That said, I wouldn’t pick one up with my bare hands. You read the part about poisonous venom right? Even if you are bitten, it might sting a bit but you’ll be fine. But there’s no reason you need to touch them. If one’s in plain sight, just sweep it into a container and return it outside or to your basement, and all will be well.

PREVENTION

The best deterrent is to make the conditions less ideal for them and getting rid of any means of entry into the home.

  • Do your best to get rid of any other household pests that they feed upon.
  • Use a dehumidifier.
  • Install a better bathroom fan for showers.
  • Seal any cracks or crevices to keep them from entering the home, or laying eggs while they’re in there.
  • Clear the perimeter around your home of leaves and other damp debris.