7 Toxic items in your purse

By: Jennifer Pretty Jan 07, 2014
7 Toxic items in your purse

When it comes to dangers, we all know to look around for the obvious ones – traffic, sharp objects, steep drops – but did you know you could be carrying a whole host of dangerous things in your purse right now? Take a look at our list and see what might be lurking…

Lip Balm – It might keep your lips luscious and moist, but lip balm contains potentially dangerous chemicals, the most common of which is petroleum jelly. It’s a by-product of the oil industry, and may have a link to cancer. Another cancer-causing agent, parabens, can also be found in lip balm and is known to cause hormone imbalances, which can lead to breast cancer. If all of this wasn’t enough to put you off, it’s also addictive – the more you use it, the more you need it. So try quitting lip balm altogether, or at least finding a paraben- and petroleum-free version.

Hairbrush – Your brush might be a breeding ground for all kinds of bacteria. A study by the University of Arizona rated hairbrushes as the most germ-ridden household object, narrowly beating sink plugholes and pet food bowls. It’s a perfect combination of styling products, dead skin and hair that makes brushes so hospitable to bacteria – no wonder the study found MRSA in almost half the brushes studied.

Receipts – Another study, this time by the Washington Toxics Coalition, found the presence of a dangerous chemical called BPA on receipts. It’s not chemically bound in any way, so can rub off onto your skin very easily. And the effects of BPA? Cancer risk, decreased fertility and brain development problems.

Chewing Gum – Did you know that gum is packed full of things you wouldn‘t voluntarily put in your mouth? Like the very toxic Titanium dioxide, which is absorbed into your bloodstream through the walls of your mouth. Or “sugar-free” ingredients that still increase blood sugar, like sorbitol and mannitol. Definitely no friend to your health!

Perfume – Another potentially toxic mix lurks inside your perfume bottle. There’s no obligation for perfume companies to list their ingredients, so it’s hard to know exactly what’s in there. There may be allergens and there are certainly synthetic chemicals, which may or may not be hazardous to your health. The Environmental Working Group reported that most popular perfumes contain at least a dozen of these unknown chemicals. Is that a risk you really want to take?

Water Bottle – There’s another risk in reusing plastic water bottles. It might be environmentally-friendly, but when the bottles come in contact with heat (say when they’re left in a hot car), they can leak toxins which can cause cancer. The risk came to light when singer Sheryl Crow blamed her breast cancer on the water bottles she left in the car – that may not be wholly scientific, but there is evidence that plastics can have carcinogenic effects. Reduce the risk by purchasing a reusable glass or metal bottle.

Money – But the most dirty thing in your purse right now is probably your cash. Think how many hands your coins have passed through, and the germs that might be on those hands - the Southern Medical Journal in 2002 found pathogens on 94% of notes tested. And there’s an additional risk, traces of cocaine have also been found on cash, thanks to people using them to snort cocaine through and then passing the notes back into circulation. So handle your cash carefully!


Until next time,

Peace, love and vitamin C!

Jennifer Pretty began her career as the director of artist development for a well-known Canadian music label. Branching out on her own, she then started her own PR business “Pretty Media Management” planning and hosting various charity, entertainment and fashion events. As a dance and fitness class enthusiast Jennifer is a firm believer in the benefits of a healthy, active lifestyle. She also loves to cook, travel, spend time with family and friends and most importantly living life to the fullest!