Known Carcinogens That Hide in our Homes

Plantie Picks

Mount Peak Sentinel Cabernet Sauvignon 2014

Out of Sonoma comes this exceptional well-made Cabernet.  Lovely nose of vanilla and dark berries. The palate offers notes of blackberry, blueberry,...

Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon N.V.

An excellent bold Napa Cab that has a perfect balance of tannins and acidity, resulting in a smooth, rich drinkability.  Vanilla and...

You bought a new citrus-scented air freshener and your home smells lovely. Just the way you want it. But have you wondered what is in those citrus-smelling particles you are breathing in? Did you know your air freshener could contain carcinogens?

Wait, What Are Carcinogens?

Simply put, carcinogens are cancer-causing elements. Unfortunately, how they cause cancer is not entirely known. Examples of carcinogens include benzene, 1-4 dioxane, glyphosate.

Man, those are some big words.

But do not worry, we are not going back to high school chemistry.

We will only be looking into the names of these carcinogens and their sources. You will learn what to avoid and how to change to healthier, natural alternatives!

Related Article: Do You Know What You’re Putting On Your Skin? Watch out for these harmful chemicals in your beauty products.

5 Known Carcinogens That Hide in Our Homes

1. Lead

Lead is a naturally-occurring element commonly found in colorants. Although lead has been banned from house paint since 1978, it is still used in cosmetic products such as lipstick. It has also been found in hydrated silica, a toothpaste ingredient.

2. 1-4 Dioxane


This element is frequently found in air fresheners and personal care products. According to a 2011 study, a single fragrance (e.g.: citrus scent) can react with ozone in the air to form secondary pollutants. Also, keep a lookout for dioxane in products that contain “sodium laureth sulfate” or “polyethylene glycol”.

3. Coal tar

People are mainly exposed to coal tar when they inhale it or absorb it through the skin. It is a common active ingredient in dandruff shampoos as well as anti-itch creams for eczema. Furthermore, that nice blue dye in toothpaste and green color in your mouthwash? There is coal tar in them as well.

4. Glyphosate


Glyphosate is a universally used weed killer in the agricultural industry. Therefore, it is likely to be present on any vegetables and fruits that are not organic. Besides food, green scientist Cara Bondi also adds that items made from non-organic plant-based materials (e.g.: cotton) may also be contaminated with glyphosate.

5. Benzene


Benzene is one of the causes of diseases as acute leukemia and blood disorders. Indoors, we may unconsciously inhale benzene from adhesives and kitchen degreasers. According to WHO, homes with attached garages may also have higher levels of benzene due to car exhaust – another source of the carcinogen.

Related Article: Our Favorite Plant-based household products

How to Reduce Exposure to Carcinogens

You do not need to throw away every potential carcinogen-containing household product or bulldoze your attached garage.

What you can do is reduce your exposure with these 3 simple suggestions!  

  • Freshening up your home? Place potted mint leaves in your kitchen and living room. Brush your hand over them to release the scent.
  • “Oh, no! What about my skin?” Check out our favorite natural (and cruelty-free!) personal care products on Plantie.
  • Organic vegetables a little pricey? Screw that. Grow your own. At Plantie, we provide guidelines on how to make your own compost and start an edible garden!

Have you tried any other natural alternatives? Drop a comment and share it with us!


Managing Circadian Rhythms: Are You Working With or Against Your Natural Sleep Cycle?

Anyone who’s ever Googled “Why am I so tired?” or taken a biology class has heard about circadian rhythms. They’re our bodies’...

The Lowdown on Intuitive Eating: What It Is and How to Do It

Move over diet culture! You've had your time in the sun, and we're done with you. We're on to bigger and (much)...

Trouble Sleeping? Try Adding These 6 Foods to Your Diet

It may feel as if caffeine can solve your every problem, but nothing beats the natural buzz of a good night’s sleep—but...

Why Self-Care Isn’t Selfish (But It Can Be Boring)

Do you roll your eyes at the phrase “self-care?” You’re not alone. We don’t all have time for bath bombs and face...

Tips and Tricks for Succeeding in Veganuary (And How to Thrive Plant-Based Year-Round)

If you're reading this, there's a good chance you've heard of Veganuary — and if not, don't worry. That's why we're here. 

More For You