Here are the chief baddies among the hidden toxins in your everyday life - and how to give them the boot, like, today.
(neurotoxin that messes with your brain), stored in bones for decades
The usual suspects: Pipes, old chipped paint, paint on some imported toys
Off the radar: Cheap silver jewellery. Lead's also been found in supplements including AlgaeCal, Nature's Way Alive! Whole Food Energizer Ultra Shake, InnerLight SuperGreens and Nature's Plus Herbal Actives American Ginseng.
Now what? Get a water filter for your tap, test old paint for lead before sanding, or paint over chips. Check supplement testing at consumerlab.com for lead results.
(estrogenic chem tied to elevated breast and prostate cancer, obesity, diabetes)
The usual suspects: Baby bottles and most tin can linings - think beans, canned veggies, drinks.
Off the radar: Resin dental sealants, glass jar lid linings, cash register receipts, toilet paper (from recycled coated receipts)
Now what? Eden and President's Choice Organics use BPA-free linings - alas, except for tomatoes. Cook your own beans; look for glass drinks with bottle caps or plain plastic lids, stew fresh tomatoes, and if you're pregnant, definitely steer clear of all BPA sources. Ask your MP for a ban on BPA linings and receipts.
(in the process of being deemed an official enviro toxin, linked to superbugs and endocrine disruption)
The usual suspects: Antibacterial hand and dish soap
Off the radar: Acne washes; deodorants like Adidas 0% Aluminum, Right Guard Total Defense Power Deodorant, Soft & Dry; Colgate Total
What now? Avoid anything promising 24-hour protection or bacteria-busting unless you've scanned the ingredients.
(estrogen-mimicking preservatives, suspected endocrine disruptors)
The usual suspects: Conventional shampoos, cosmetics, shaving gels, body care products in general
Off the radar: Check your medicine cabinet - they're in Advil Cold & Sinus, Buckley's cough and cold syrups, KY Jelly, and in some cured meat, pâtés, candy and fruit cakes.
Now what? Get up close and personal with ingredient labels, even the tiny type that comes with your medication. Tell Health Canada to enforce regs on estrogenic chems in body care.
The usual suspects: Off-gassing from pressed wood, particle board
Off the radar: Lots of body care and cleaning products prolong shelf life with formaldehyde-releasing preservatives like DMDM hydantoin and imidazolidinyl urea. Ditto for the 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3-diol in Ecover dish soap. It's also in shiny coatings on new clothes that makes them somewhat wrinkle-resistant.
Now what? Buy solid wood (FSC certified or second-hand preferred) or ultra-low formaldehyde/VOC furniture, including Ikea post-1992. Check the ingredients in your cleaners and/or get used to shining up your place with vinegar, baking soda and salt. Look for eco clothes with Oeko-Tex certification. Stick to health store body care products.
(linked to birth defects, thyroid irregularities, diabetes)
The usual supects: Anything artificially scented, perfume, cologne, vinyl shower curtains/floors, older toys (Six phthalates are being restricted from toys now.)
Off the radar: Squishy plastic sandals, some pharmaceuticals, jelly sex toys, vinyl diaper covers, MMA-containing acrylic retainers and dentures; vinyl retainers/mouthguards can leach 10mg of phthalates a day.
Now what? Avoid fake scents and vinyl like the plague. Choose PEVA or hemp/organic cotton shower curtains and zero/no-formaldehyde-added wood/bamboo, marmoleum flooring. Look for MMA-free dental gear. Avoid second-hand toys.
(PFOA, the most common of these, is officially a likely carcinogen, and a persistent one to boot)
The usual suspects: Teflon frying pans (PFOA is used to make Telfon, aka PTFE.)
Off the radar: That durable water-repellent finish (DWR) on most waterproof breathable jackets gives off PFOA as it degrades. Maybelline mineral Power powder, Urban Decay eyeshadow and Glide floss all contain PTFE, aka Teflon.
Now what? Switch to stainless steel cookware and ditch the water-repellent concept for now. By fall 2013, Patagonia's water-repellent finishes will be totally PFOA-free. Big industry players have promised to stop making PFOA by 2015.