At Home

We have researched and gathered together numerous links to information about children and their environmental health. You may access this information by choosing a category from the menu to the right.

What’s Under Your Sink?

Since cleanliness comes in just below godliness on the moral pyramid, it’s not surprising that many of us attribute miraculous powers to the cleaning products stashed in our cabinets. Scouring pads and spray bottles have become talismans for vanquishing the arch demons of dirt, grease, mold, odors and germs.

Toxic-Free Products

Children are exposed everyday to a range of potentially harmful toxic chemicals in products all around them. These toxics are in toys and thousands of household items. Many of the chemicals have been linked to cancer, birth defects, or neurological and behavioral disorders.

The actual risks to children posed by toxic chemicals in these everyday products are not well understood. Children are often at risk without our knowing it. According to the National Research Council less than 10 percent of chemicals, other than those used in pesticides, cosmetics, food and drugs, have been tested for their health effects on humans. Worst of all, only a handful of the thousands of chemicals in everyday use have been tested for their effects on children. To learn more visit the National Environmental Trust.

Toxic Toys
— Environmental Defense — Toxics in Toys

COVER STORY: Heavy Metal Harm

The Fight Against Highly Toxic Mercury in the Environment Has Just Begun
— Jim Motavalli, Emagazine

Mercury is a persistent heavy metal, processed into a liquid from mined cinnabar, that accumulates in water and in the tissues of humans, fish and animals. It was declared a hazardous air pollutant by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 1971. According to the federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, long-term human exposure to mercury in either organic or inorganic form “can permanently damage the brain, kidneys developing fetuses.” A potent neurotoxin, mercury is slowly being phased out of many commercial uses, including consumer thermometers, but it is still used in many industrial processes and is in such products as fluorescent lights, home and appliance thermostats even toys. For the full story go to E-magazine at

A Healthy Home Environment?

Beyond Pesticides

Beyond Pesticides is a nonprofit aiming to decrease the use of harmful pesticides in order to protect public health. They provide information on many policy and institutional issues as well as information for the individual such as pesticide alternatives.

Over the past seven years, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has consistently ranked indoor air pollution among the top five risks to public health. One of the most dangerous indoor air pollutants is carbon monoxide (CO). CO can be lethal, but perhaps more important, many people suffer ill health from chronic, often undetected exposure to low levels of this gas, resulting in fatigue, headache, dizziness, nausea vomiting. Another dangerous pollutant is volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which come from sources including building products, cleaning agents and paints. One VOC, formaldehyde, can act as an irritant to the conjunctiva and upper and lower respiratory tract. Formaldehyde is also known to cause nasal cancer in test animals.

Other household pollutants include pesticides and heavy metals contained in house dust; biological pollutants such as pollen, pet dander, bacteria, mold fungi; chlorine, which appears in public water supplies as a chlorination by-product; radon gas; lead; and asbestos.

People who have the luxury of building their own home can employ a wide variety of measures to minimize their potential exposure to indoor environmental hazards. Fortunately for those who live in homes that are not custom-built, there are a number of strategies available to improve indoor air quality.