Toxic! Your Favorite Kitchen Products Could Kill You

Cook, slice, meal prep, sanitize — all of these tasks are performed in the kitchen. Unfortunately, these are all tasks that could potentially harm you and your family with diseases like cancer, bacterial infections, and more. Before you panic and throw away all of the kitchen products you own, read on to see which ones could be harmful to you and what to look for when buying new ones.

Nonstick cookware

Raw pork neck meat in nonstick frying pan, spices, vegetables, olive oil.

Nonstick may be helpful, but the chemicals are toxic. | ChesiireCat/iStock/Getty Images

A chemical known as PFOA, more commonly known as the brand name Teflon, is often used to make nonstick cookware. When tested, the American Cancer Society reported that PFOA can increase the risk of certain types of tumors in the liver, mammary glands, testicles, and pancreas. The International Agency for Research on Cancer labeled PFOA as potentially carcinogenic to humans. If you’re purchasing new cookware any time soon, this is something to consider.

Gas ranges

Pot on stove

Gas stoves release carbon monoxide into the air. | iStock.com

Gas ranges typically cost less to operate, plus when the power goes out, they’re still usable, so they are a first choice for many. However, they can be extremely dangerous. If the gas is blown out, and the burner is still on, it can leak carbon monoxide into the air for extended periods of time without you knowing. People often don’t notice that the gas is being leaked, since the burner is not lit. Carbon monoxide can cause serious health issues and even death. It’s important to install a carbon monoxide detector in your home to prevent health issues from the gas.

Food storage containers

Leftovers in tupperware

Stick with glassware. | joebelanger/iStock/Getty Images

Most people have seen the BPA-free sticker on a plastic water bottle; but water bottles aren’t the only place this toxic chemical is hiding. BPA, a toxin linked to cancer, brain and heart issues, and infertility, might be lurking in your food storage containers. Next time you’re considering Sunday meal prep, take a good look at where those meals are going to be stored. Check the print on plastic containers to make sure they say BPA free. Otherwise, you could be exposing yourself and your family to dangerous chemicals.

Cutting boards

Cutting board with knife and garlic

A cutting board could be a host to plenty of germs. | iStock.com

It’s easy to cross contaminate when using a cutting board. With plastic cutting boards, knives create grooves that make it easy for bacteria to hide and not be wiped away when cleaned. With wood cutting boards, bacteria can soak into the wood, but wood tends to be tougher and therefore more resistant to grooves created from knives. Regardless of the type of cutting board, bacteria from slicing raw meats can end up all over your veggies if they’re being cut on the same board. This can lead to food borne illness with some serious side effects. To avoid this, purchase two separate cutting boards; one for raw foods and one for veggies. If purchasing a wood cutting board, stick with a hard wood like maple.

Kitchen cleaners

Woman cleaning kitchen top in rubber protective gloves

Some cleaners should be avoided. | djedzura/iStock/Getty Images

Yes, it is important to sanitize the kitchen, but some kitchen cleaners can cause serious health problems if overexposed. Some cleaning products contain a compound known as 2-butoxyethanol, which, if overexposed, can damage red blood cells. The CDC does not recommend exposing yourself to this product. Among other dangerous chemicals commonly found in cleaners are nonylphenol ethoxylate, which can affect hormones, and butoxydiglycol, which can cause inflammation and irritation in the lungs.

Plastic bags and wraps

plastic bag with lock

Plastic wrap can contain BPA. | snyferok/Getty Images

Plastic wrap contains BPA, just like storage containers. This is not the only toxin, either. Some brands of plastic wrap still contain polyvinyl chloride, also known as PVC. Exposure to PVC can cause birth defects, cancer, skin diseases, deafness, and liver or spleen problems, according to Livestrong.com. Some good news: A few years ago, most U.S. manufacturers switched PVC with another type of plastic wrap that, when heated, does not transfer chemicals to food like it once did.

Sponges

Colored cleaning sponges

Clean your sponges regularly. | iStock.com/Besjunior

Next time you’re thinking about using a sponge to wash the dishes, consider washing them in toilet water; it’s cleaner. A recent study out of Germany found that used kitchen sponges contain more bacteria than a typical toilet. The tested sponges contained 362 variations of bacteria. Out of the 10 types that appeared the most, five were pathogenic, meaning they could cause disease in humans, which is especially dangerous for those with weak immune systems. The study also found that properly cleaning your sponge by microwaving or boiling it significantly reduced the amount of bacteria.

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