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Everyday Pollution: Environmental Hazards from Common Household Pollutants

written by: Niki Fears•edited by: Niki Fears•updated: 6/30/2009

Some of the most toxic substances that are released into our air and water come from our own homes. Read on to learn more.

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    We often talk about pollution on a large scale and the harm that is caused to both human health and to the health and stability of the environment around us. However, there are other large polluters that are often over looked and they may be right in your own home. Some of our regular daily activities can result in polluting the air, water, and soil around us and over time every little bit that we contribute to the pollution of our planet individually ads up over time.

    The products that we use to clean our homes, maintain our automobiles, landscape our yards, paint our garages, and even the products we use for personal care can all release dangerous chemicals into the air, soil, or water and slowly pollutes our environment.

    Three of the more common areas that create pollutants that we use daily which harm our environment include:

    Car Maintenance: The liquids that you use to maintain your car such as antifreeze, motor oil, brake fluid, and gasoline can all seep into the ground and not only contaminates the soil in that area but can also seep into the groundwater supply and be carried even miles away. Improper storage and disposal of these toxic chemicals is not only harmful to the environment but can be dangerous, even deadly to humans as well. Over 3,000 deaths occur annually from antifreeze poisoning. It only takes a very small amount to kill your child so you should never leave antifreeze in a place accessible by a child.

    Wood Care and Painting: Many products made to treat and care for wood as well as paints and sealants can also be quite hazardous to both humans and the rest of nature, especially any of those products that contain lead. Many of these products contain dangerous compounds known as VOC's (Volatile Organic Compounds) which are the fumes that are released from liquids such as paint thinner, glues, and pesticides. These fumes not only pose substantial health risks but because they contain greenhouse gases they also contribute to the pollution problem and global warming.

    Household Cleaners: Many of the typical cleaners that are used for cleaning around the house such as bleach, oven cleaner, ammonia, and toilet bowl cleaners can be unsafe for you and the environment. For safer, natural alternatives check out these articles: Best Green Bathroom Cleaners, Citra Spot Green, Vegan Stain Remover, Simple Green All-Purpose Cleaner Review.

    Groundwater contamination from these sources not only kills fish and other aquatic life, but they poison your own water supply. You should avoid using these chemicals whenever possible and use alternative, natural products in their place. When you can not avoid using potentially dangerous products, then be diligent in insuring that they are stored and disposed of in a manner that is safe for both children, adults, and the environment.