Chemicals Oozing From Our Plastic Junk Contribute to Early Deaths

By Gary Cutlack on at

A new report into the hows, whens and whys of our unavoidable yet perhaps welcome deaths has made some shocking links between us being dead and our homes, claiming that gas cookers, slow-release toxins from plastic goods and even apparently benign pieces of furniture and carpets are slowly poisoning us.

The report says: "There is now good awareness of the risks from badly maintained gas appliances, radioactive radon gas and second-hand tobacco smoke, but indoors we can also be exposed to NO2 from gas cooking and solvents that slowly seep from plastics, paints and furnishings."

And there's bad news for your mum and her scented plug-ins too no matter how much they make her living room smell like a healthy Scottish glen, with the paper adding: "The lemon-and-pine scents that we use to make our homes smell fresh can react chemically to generate air pollutants, and ozone-based air fresheners can also cause indoor air pollution," plus chemicals evaporating into the air from cleaning products are also a risk.

The full report [PDF] even warns that our actual houses are slowly polluting us to death, explaining that: "The building itself, the materials from which it is built and those with which it is decorated are also important potential sources of chemical pollutants -- these include the construction materials, as well as paints, glues, furniture, wallpaper and drapery."

The answer isn't to live in a cave, either, as damp, mouldy air is linked with lung disorders and illnesses, plus 40,000 early deaths may soon be caused by road traffic and industrial air pollution, according to the Royal Colleges of Physicians and of Paediatrics and Child Health.

Perhaps living in a well-ventilated, passively heated timber shed might be the key to everlasting life. [RCP London via BBC]

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