Doctor Reveals Home Health Hazards -- and How to Avoid Them

PHOENIX, AZ--(Marketwire - Nov 1, 2011) - Hidden hazards abound in modern society, and avoiding them may not only prolong your life, but give you a better quality of life, says physician Doris Rapp, an expert on environmental hazards and author of "32 Tips That Could Save Your Life," (

Rapp found threats in every room in the house. Here's a sampling:

  • In the kitchen: Microwave ovens can cause cataracts, and digestive, liver, kidney and brain damage, she says, citing "Jan Russell's Heath Facts: Microwaving - Dangers to Your Food and You." It also releases toxic chemicals from plastic and Styrofoam, and destroys 60 to 90 percent of the energy in foods, including vitamins B-12 and C.

    Rapp suggests replacing your microwave with a toaster oven for quick reheats. If you must use a microwave, use a paper towel to cover food -- not plastic wraps -- and don't heat food and beverages in plastic or Styrofoam.

  • In the living room: Linoleum, synthetic flooring and some types of carpeting can be full of pesticides and harmful chemicals. Formaldehyde in carpets is often a cause of asthma, hay fever and recurrent infections, and chemicals in synthetic flooring can trigger adverse reactions. It's best to use hard tile, cotton throw rugs, or non-synthetic, chemical free flooring.

  • In your closets: Don't use mothballs -- anywhere. They generally contain either naphthalene or dichlorobenzene, both of which are harmful to your health. Naphthalene can cause cataracts, anemia and respiratory problems. It's labeled as a carcinogen by the EPA. Dichlorobenzene, listed by the EPA as a possible carcinogen, has caused liver and kidney tumors in animals.

  • In the bathroom: Most mass-market toothpastes contain fluoride, sodium lauryl sulfate, triclosan and hydrated silica, all of which can be a concern. Get your teeth just as clean and avoid the problem by using organic, non-fluoridated toothpastes.

About Dr. Doris Rapp

Doris Rapp is board certified in pediatrics, pediatric allergy and environmental medicine. A clinical assistant professor of pediatrics at the State University of New York at Buffalo, she was a traditional allergist until, in 1975, she began incorporating the principles of environmental medicine into her pediatric allergy practice. She is a certified specialist in environmental medicine. She has published numerous medical articles, authored chapters in medical texts and produced educational videos for the public, educators and physicians.

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