Let’s be honest. Taking care of the environment is not on the top of everyone’s priority list.
But it wouldn’t hurt to do our bit…. starting in the kitchen.
The kitchen is often our go-to place after a long day but there are some unexpected health and environmental hazards there. Here’s what to look out for:
We all love our caffeine fix. But did you know that some coffee pods are a threat to our environment? These coffee pods (sometimes called ‘k-cups’ after Vermont-based company, Keurig, which launched the first of its kind brewing system in 1998).
Reports say that enough of these cups were sold last year, that if they were placed end-to-end, they would circle the globe 10.5 times. It is also worth remembering that these plastic cups take over 500 years to degrade.
In some households, cling-wrap is love, cling-wrap is life.
Cling-wrap was originally made from PVC (polyvinyl chloride) and some brands still use PVC today.
You might want to rethink microwaving your favourite foods in plastic. This seemingly harmless action causes plasticisers to make their way into your food. Plasticisers are connected to fertility concerns and hormonal disruptions.
Do you see that red, dusty canister you call a fire extinguisher? You bought it years ago because you thought it would keep you safe from house fires? Fire extinguishers need to be inspected regularly because they can expire.
It is advisable to check your fire extinguisher every month. If it needs to be disposed of, don’t just throw it away in your black bin. If empty, remove the head and recycle it. If it is not empty, drop it off at the fire department or a hazardous waste facility.
There is nothing wrong with adding a little bit of flavour to foods but nutmeg is in fact a hallucinogenic. It is reported that large doses of 30 grams (6 tea spoons) could lead to disorientation, double vision, seizures and convulsions. Nutmeg is a common ingredient in fruit pies, soups and meats.
We have all seen the adverts of non-stick pans (get a free mop with your purchase!) but what they won’t tell you is that the Teflon coating is made with a carcinogen called PFOA which can emit fumes when heated to about 315C. Teflon contains “small but significant” of PFOA.
Exposure can occur when the pan is heated or scratched. It is believed that the particles in Teflon will take 4.4 million years to break down. Using non-stick pans won’t expose you to life-ending PFOA exposure but the manufacturing of the pans poses a great threat to the environment.
Cleaning the house is paramount. Who wants to live in a pigsty? You might want to make your own cleaning products because the chemicals found in some brands of cleaning products have serious health repercussions. Phthalates are often found in products that mention their lovely ‘fragrance’ and aromas. Phthalates are believed to affect sperm count and organs.
Nobody has time to check the labels but take note of the following: chlorinated phenols are sometimes found in toilet bowl cleaners and affect the respiratory system, perchloroethylene are often found in cleaners that remove those stubborn spots and may cause liver and kidney damage and butyl cellosolve that is found in those all-purpose cleaners, damages bone marrow and the nervous system.