Nonstick Chemicals

Sure, nonstick pots, pans, and baking gear are convenient and easy to clean. But the problem is, nonstick chemicals start leaching into your food once chips and scratches start showing up in the enamel. That chemical migration is problematic, since there’s a long rap sheet of health problems associated with nonstick chemicals, including baby-making problems for both men and women. Danish researchers found that men with higher levels of a common nonstick chemicals, perfluoroalkyl acids, had half the amount of healthy sperm of men with the lowest levels. Scientists have found it takes women who have higher levels of nonstick chemicals in the body longer to become pregnant.

Found in: Nonstick cookware; used as a grease barrier in some takeout containers and in microwavable popcorn bags.

Protect yourself: Stay away from drive-thru fast food joints, cook with untreated stainless steel, cast iron, glass, or stoneware, and make safer popcorn.

Perhaps one of the most ubiquitous household toxic compounds, phthalates are plasticizing chemicals found in vinyl products and products containing artificial fragrances (there are thousands).

Men with higher levels of phthalates pay for it in the sperm quality department: In studies, their sperm tested as abnormal or showed signs of suffering DNA damage. Phthalates act as a man-made estrogen in the body, which could be messing with a guy’s manhood.

Found in: Vinyl products, including shower curtains and faux leather; scented products like cologne, perfume, candles, air fresheners, laundry detergent, dryer sheets, and fabric softeners; shampoo, soap, hairspray, body spray, lotion, deodorant, and other personal care items.

Protect yourself: Avoid vinyl products (try a hemp shower curtain), opt for beeswax candles when you need ambiance—they actually help clean your indoor air, not pollute it; choose unscented, plant-based laundry products, and use white vinegar as a fabric softener; read personal-care product labels and bypass ones that label “fragrance” or “parfum” as an ingredient. It’s a catch-all term for thousands of chemicals, including phthalates.