The chemicals found in some household cleaners can be toxic if inhaled or touched, causing rashes and irritating the respiratory tract. This is particularly true for people prone to skin or breathing problems. Some products may aggravate allergies. Those that contain ammonia and chlorine may be especially irritating to children with asthma. Try cleaning with hot water, baking soda, microfiber cloths, and less-toxic cleaning products.
Paints and paint strippers can emit harmful gases. To minimize health risks, choose low-VOC paint and keep the windows open while painting and for several days while paint dries. Try not to store paint cans because gases can leak, even from sealed containers. If you must store paint, keep it in a well-ventilated area, away from the main living areas of your home.
Many people complain of headaches, rashes, and eye and throat irritation when carpet is installed. New carpeting, padding, and adhesive give off potentially harmful gases. Choose low-VOC carpet and ask that it be unrolled and aired out several days beforehand. Stay out of your house during installation and keep it well-ventilated for days afterward. For kids with allergies and asthma, consider other flooring options.
Cooking with nonstick cookware may release toxic fumes at very high temperatures. Nonstick coatings like Teflon emit chemicals when heated above 500 degrees. Don’t use it in very hot ovens or preheat it on high on stovetops, and always use an exhaust fan. Instead, consider using cast iron or stainless steel pots and pans.