P2 House - Bedroom

Since we spend a significant amount of time in the bedroom (at least six hours daily on average), some of the most important changes can be made in this space to help protect your health and the environment.

Fragrances

The use of some types of fragrances and candles can not only compromise indoor air quality, but also potentially harm your health. Many contain an assortment of chemicals, including phthalates and cancer-causing and endocrine-disrupting agents. When these items are disposed down the drain, the chemicals end up in water streams where they can bio-accumulate in the fatty tissues of aquatic organisms and disrupt marine ecosystems. The production of these products also create hazardous wastes that must be managed and disposed of properly.

DIY
Fragrances can be found in almost any product from detergents and air fresheners to linen sprays. To avoid toxic fresheners, consider creating homemade alternatives using essential oils. There are many websites that provide recipes for do-it-yourself fragrances and scents for home cleaning and deodorizing.

Aromatherapy
Aromatherapy in the bedroom can potentially reduce stress and create a relaxing environment. Instead of using chemical-laden aerosols for aromatherapy or to neutralize odors, consider using essential oil diffusers. Essential oils offer a variety of scents extracted from plants, such as the leaves, roots, stalk or flowers. Available in various sizes and designs, diffusers release these fragrances into the air.

Personal Care Products

Personal care products, from lotions to perfumes, often contain ingredients that are petroleum-derived and include synthetic agents and toxic substances. To avoid potentially harmful chemicals:
  • Research products. Read labels and familiarize yourself with ingredients. The California Safe Cosmetics Program Product Database collects data from cosmetic products that contain ingredients known or suspected to cause cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm. Visit the website to learn more about chemical ingredients in your products and how they affect your health | View Database > 
  • Be wary of product labels. Products labeled “organic” or “natural” can be misleading. United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)-certified organic seals indicate that 95 percent or more of the ingredients are organic. A product that claims to be organic without the USDA-certified seal is probably not made with more than 95 percent of organic ingredients.
  • Select items with fewer toxic chemicals. Choose products with a simple list of natural ingredients such as oatmeal, green tea or plant extracts.
  • Make your own products. Find recipes for homemade lotions, facial cleansers, sugar scrubs and body oils.

Candles

Because paraffin candles are petroleum products, burning a paraffin candle releases toxins into the air. In addition, artificially scented candles contain other chemicals that can be harmful when burned. To determine if your favorite candle contains toxic chemicals, read labels and research unfamiliar chemicals. For a safer alternative, look for unscented, non-toxic, clean-burning candles made with all-natural products such as palm wax or beeswax.

Moth Balls

Moth balls contain ingredients (either naphthalene or paradichlorobenzene) that become a gas when exposed to air, producing a scent that is harmful to moths. However, these pesticides and chemicals, such as naphthalene, are also considered toxic to humans by the EPA. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified naphthalene as a possible carcinogen to humans and animals. As an alternative to the toxic variety, consider purchasing cedar moth balls or making your own non-toxic sachets by using all-natural ingredients, such as dried lavender flowers, rosemary, cloves, cinnamon sticks or cedar shavings. There are several recipes for homemade alternatives available online.

Bed Bugs

Bed bugs can hide in a variety of places from mattress piping, seams, tags and box springs to cracks on bedframes and headboards. Early detection and prevention methods are important to avoid infestation. To protect your home from bed bugs:

  • Keep your space free of clutter
  • Vacuum your rug and mattress frequently (using a hand tool or a hand vacuum)
  • Check secondhand furniture including beds and couches for bed bugs
  • Check your room’s mattress or headboard before sleeping in hotels
  • Use luggage racks when traveling
  • Store suitcases away from your bed

To learn more about preventing bed bugs, visit the EPA’s webpage | View Now >