What is it? Perchloroethylene, aka PCE, is a manufactured chemical used mostly as a cleaning agent. PCE is a colorless, nonflammable liquid with a faint, sweet odor. It is also a volatile organic compound, which means it can turn into a gas. It’s usually a liquid, capable of dissolving another substance.
Where is it found? Scouring cleaning supplies, stain removers, paint products, degreasing agents, and other household cleaners. It’s the solvent used by about 85% of U.S. dry cleaners.
Why should I avoid it? First of all, you need to know that there is no safe level of PCE. The United States Environmental Protection Agency has classified PCE as “likely to be carcinogenic to humans”. Studies have linked it to a slew of different cancers:
· Bladder cancer
· Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
· Multiple myeloma
· Rectal cancer
· Lung cancer
· Esophageal cancer
· Kidney cancer
· Cervical cancer
· Breast cancer
· Liver cancer
· Ovarian cancer
· Prostate cancer
Not only has this chemical been determined to play a role in cancer, but it is especially dangerous for pregnant women. It can cause a handful of horrible symptoms to expecting mothers and unborn babies. While small levels of PCE have been found in the air and water supply, I would recommend avoiding having it in your home by choice.
Safer alternatives – Norwex offers an awesome stain remover free of chlorine, bleach, and other harsh chemicals. There are also safer alternatives for removing grease or other sticky substances. One of my favorites is Cleaning Paste. You can get years of use out of one container. Cleaning Paste is “elbow grease in a jar”! Use it for scuff marks, grease, permanent marker, anything sticky, and so much more!
What are they? Any of a group of compounds used as preservatives in pharmaceutical and cosmetic products and in the food industry.
Where are they found? Skincare products such as lotions, scrubs, sprays, body and face wash, and even foods.
Pros & Cons? Parabens are tricky, because there actually is a PRO to this chemical. Parabens allow items like face wash, lotion, body wash, etc, to stay on your bathroom shelf for years, without growing bacteria. Most of us wouldn’t like the idea of rubbing bacteria-ridden lotion all over our bodies. So if you have a skincare product you’ve been holding onto for years, rest assured that if parabens are an ingredient, it is still fresh and ready to use. However; as with most chemicals that extend shelf life, there are a handful of CONS.
In 2004, a British study found traces of five parabens in the breast tissue of 19 out of 20 women studied. The study didn’t prove that parabens can cause cancer but identified that the parabens were able to penetrate the skin and remain within tissue. The fact that this chemical can stay under your skin for who knows how long doesn’t settle well with me!
Parabens are believed to disrupt hormone function by mimicking estrogen. Too much estrogen can trigger an increase in breast cell division and growth of tumors, which is why paraben use has been linked to breast cancer and reproductive issues.
So with parabens, I would err on the side of caution. There are so many safer substitutes and a handful of skincare brands who have promised not to use parabens in their products. If there are products available that are safer, why not use them instead of risking it?! Using products with parabens isn’t terrible in small quantities, but my advice would be to start slowly switching over your products that contain parabens, to paraben-free products for happier skin!
Safer Substitutes – Norwex offers a slew of skincare products, from soaps and lotion, to deodorant and eye creams!
I thought it would be interesting and informative to start highlighting a common household chemical/toxin every month. There are so many icky toxins in our homes, and the crazy thing is that most people just don’t know about them, or are so accustomed to using them that they’ve never thought about the negative effects! I’m hoping that by shining light on certain chemicals, that eyes will be opened to their dangers and side effects and that more homes will kick them to the curb!
Where is it found? In most liquid dishwashing detergents, as well as hand soaps labeled “antibacterial”.
What is it? An aggressive antibacterial agent that can promote the growth of drug-resistant bacteria. Rebecca Sutton, PhD, a senior scientist at the Environmental Working Group explains “The American Medical Association has found no evidence that these antimicrobials make us healthier or safer, and they’re particularly concerned because they don’t want us overusing antibacterial chemicals — that’s how microbes develop resistance, and not just to these [household antibacterials], but also to real antibiotics that we need.” Other studies have now found dangerous concentrations of triclosan in rivers and streams, where it is toxic to algae. The EPA is currently investigating whether triclosan may also disrupt endocrine (hormonal) function. It is a probable carcinogen.
Why you should kick it to the curb. It’s likely a carcinogen – aka a substance capable of causing cancer in living tissue. It disrupts hormone function. It helps in building resistance of antibiotics, which is not good when your body actually needs them!
Safer Substitutes –
Norwex hand wash and dishwashing liquid! My kids LOVE the hand soap because it foams. The dishwashing liquid smells so yummy, and they are both SUCH safer alternatives. Click on either photo to grab yours today 🙂