Despite everything we know about its toxicity, asbestos continues to be used in things like roofing materials and disc brake pads. If asbestos-containing materials such as insulation, flooring, and ceiling tiles become old and flake, then the asbestos fibers can become airborne and breathable.
BPA is a very common chemical found in plastics, food and beverage can linings, and other consumer products. BPA is known to mimic estrogen and, in animal studies, researchers have linked developmental exposure to BPA to reproductive harm, increased cancer susceptibility, and abnormalities in brain development and fat metabolism.
Produced at volumes of more than 6 billion pounds per year, formaldehyde is a colorless, flammable gas with a pungent odor that is a known carcinogen. It is used in many consumer products and building materials, including those in mobile trailers.
Mercury, arsenic, and lead are found naturally in the earth, but just because they’re natural chemical elements doesn’t mean they’re harmless. They are heavy metals with a long history of industrial and personal use—and just as long of a history of harming human health.
Hexane is a solvent widely used as an industrial cleaner and degreaser and is an ingredient in many consumer products. Easily inhaled or absorbed through the skin, hexane has been recognized for more than 40 years to cause long-lasting and even permanent nerve damage in feet, legs, hands, and arms.
N-Methylpyrrolidone (a.k.a. 1-methyl-2-pyrrolidone or NMP) is a solvent used in a variety of industries and applications, such as paint and coating removal, petrochemical processing, engineering plastics coatings, agricultural chemicals, electronic cleaning and industrial/domestic cleaning.
PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) and DDT (dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane) are chemicals that were banned more than 30 years ago, but our air, water, land, and bodies are so contaminated that decades of cleanup efforts have yet to eliminate their threats to our health.
Perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) are a family of fluorine-containing chemicals with unique properties to make materials stain- and stick-resistant. Some PFCs are incredibly resistant to breakdown and are turning up in unexpected places around the world.
Chemicals that are persistent in the environment, bioaccumulate in people and/or wildlife, and are toxic are called PBTs. Because of these features, as long as they remain in commerce and may therefore be released into the environment, they will threaten the health of humans and wildlife.
Phthalates are a class of chemicals used in plastics, personal care products, and other everyday products. Whether inhaled, ingested, or absorbed across the skin, some phthalates are considered toxic to the human reproductive system.
The flame retardants TDCP and TCEP, which are found in a wide variety of household products—including strollers, couches and chairs — are suspected to cause cancer, and neurological and reproductive harm.
Tricholoroethylene (TCE) is used as a solvent for metals degreasing, as a spot cleaner in dry cleaning, and in other consumer products. EPA classifies TCE as carcinogenic to humans by all routes of exposure.