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Dangerous Toxic Fumes from Six Everyday Products that You Most Want to Avoid

While you may take great lengths to protect yourself and your family from obvious poisons like rodent killers, chlorine bleach and antifreeze, there are many others, many of them household products, that can harm your health without warning.

The following products emit fumes that are best off avoided, and, should you decide to use them, should be used with extreme caution, only in well-ventilated areas and for as short a duration as possible.

1. Oven Cleaner

Dangerous ingredients: Ethers, ethylene glycol, lye (sodium and potassium hydroxide), methylene chloride, petroleum distillates, pine oil

Health hazards: It is hard to avoid breathing in vapors when using oven cleaner. The product is corrosive to skin and eyes, and, when inhaled, to internal organs.


For a safe oven cleaning solution, sprinkle baking soda on the dampened oven surface, let sit, then scrub with steel wool.

Safety/Alternatives: Your best bet is to opt for a self-cleaning oven so oven cleaners are not necessary. You can cut down on their need also by putting a foil-lined cookie sheet under foods to catch drippings, and cleaning spots right after the oven cools (before baking them on again). If you use oven cleaner, be sure to use heavy rubber gloves, an apron and chemical splash goggles.

2. Oil-Based Paint

Dangerous ingredients: Alkyl resin, kerosene, lead, lithopone, mercury, methylene chloride, methyl ethyl ketone, mineral spirits, toluene, trichoroethane, xylene

Health hazards: There are 300 toxic chemicals and 150 carcinogens potentially present in oil-based paint, according to a John Hopkins University study. Vapors easily accumulate in closed spaces while painting. The fumes are toxic irritants to the eyes, skin and lungs.

Safety/Alternatives: When using oil-based paint, use a brush or roller rather than a sprayer and make sure ventilation is adequate. Alternatively, look for latex water-based paints or low-volatility paints (they have fewer toxic solvents).

3. Shoe Polish

Dangerous ingredients: Methylene chloride, mineral spirits, nitrobenzene, silicones, trichloroethylene

Health hazards: Toxic ingredients are easily absorbed through the skin or inhaled via the vapors, causing potential harm to the skin and other organs.

Safety/Alternatives: Use the polishes that wipe on, rather than spray on. You can also look for less toxic products made from beeswax. For leather, try olive oil or cold-pressed nut oil, buffed with a cloth until shiny.

4. Household Bug Foggers ("Bug Bombs")

Dangerous ingredients: Isobutane, N-Octyl bicycloheptene dicarboximide, pyrethrum, permethrin, aromatic petroleum distillates

Health hazards: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has designated permethrin as a potential human carcinogen. Other harmful ingredients in these pesticides are toxic to eyes and skin and, if inhaled, can be toxic to internal organs. Because these products contain aerosol propellants, the toxins are expelled over a large area.

Safety/Alternatives: The U.S. EPA suggests taking the following precautions when using a bug fogger in your home:

  • Use no more than one fogger per room, keeping in mind that no more than 1 ounce of fogger per 1,000 ft should be used.
  • Extinguish all ignition sources, such as pilot lights, or place fogger at lease 6 feet away from such sources.
  • Remove all children, pets, toys, and uncovered food from treated area.
  • Properly ventilate the treated area after releasing foggers.
  • Keep the product away from children, such as in a locked cabinet or shed.
  • Teach children not to touch pesticide products and other household chemicals.
  • Keep the telephone number of your local poison control center or the toll-free number (1-800-222-1222) for the National Poison Control Hotline handy.

5. Paint Thinner

Dangerous ingredients: Acetone, methanol, methyl ethyl ketone, methyl isobutyl ketone, toluene, turpentine, mineral spirits

Health hazards: The toxins in paint thinner may cause health damage from long-term exposure. Some ingredients have been linked to developmental effects (miscarriages/birth defects), damage to the nervous system and reproductive effects, and are mutagenic (could affect genes and chromosomes) and toxic to the environment and wildlife.


Always be sure you have a window open when you remove your nail polish.

Safety/Alternatives: Always were solvent-resistant gloves and splash-guard goggles and keep the room well ventilated when using paint thinner. Using water-based latex paints do not require the use of paint thinner.

6. Nail Polish Remover

Dangerous ingredients: Acetone, ethyl acetate, benzophenone-1, ethanol, isopropyl alcohol, propyl acetate, denatonium benzoate, dimethyl adipate, propylene carbonate, toluene and formaldehyde

Health hazards: According to the Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep Report, the ingredients in nail polish remover pose the following health risks:

  • Immune and nervous system toxicity
  • Gastrointestinal and liver toxicity hazards
  • Neurotoxicity hazards
  • Damage to the skin and sense organs
  • Possible reproductive or developmental harm
  • General irritation

Safety/Alternatives: Use nail polish remover in a well-ventilated area (not in a closed bathroom). There are limited varieties of safer brands out there that contain fewer chemicals (non-acetone varieties are widely available, but still may contain other dangerous toxins). Check your local health food store for options.

Keep Yourself, Your Family and Your Pets Safe: Avoid Commercial Flea Treatments!

Flea n Tick B GoneTypical flea and tick control products can be extremely hazardous, some containing highly noxious nerve gas. Still, these products have approval to be sold because the claim is that the amount of such hazards is minimal in the products.

Flea collars and tags are literally soaked in chemical pesticides, emitting a continuous toxic cloud into the air, not only for your pet, but you and your family.

To get rid of and prevent fleas and ticks, choose Flea 'n Tick B Gone instead: It is completely safe and does not contain harmful pesticides or chemicals.

  • 100% pesticide free

  • Non-toxic

  • Clinically proven to be highly effective

  • A Great Value! Eliminates the need for collars, bombs, foggers, powders etc. and is economically priced

  • Can also be used on bedding and pet areas of the home--Simply lightly spray in these areas

  • Reduces vet and medicinal costs

  • Can safely be used as a preventive against fleas and ticks: regular use can naturally break life cycle of fleas

  • Controls other in-home pests

  • Reduces risk of infections, dermatitis and itching

  • Safely removes fleas, ticks, lice and other pests

Read More and Order Now!

Recommended Reading

Cadmium Poisoning, Which Can Harm Your Kidneys and Reduce Your Bone Density, Surprisingly High

The 6 Most Dangerous Home-Based Causes of Disease and Illness


National Institutes of Health: Household Products Database

Oregon Toxics Alliance

U.S. EPA: Safety Precautions for Home Release Foggers

Environmental Working Group Skin Deep Report

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