I’m a health whizz – the four items in your home that are making you ill, including your favourite air freshener | The Sun

WHEN it comes to home furnishings, most of us are primarily concerned about how items look or how practical they are. 

But as one health whizz has pointed out, plenty of us are overlooking the fact that certain popular homeware accessories could in fact be affecting our health. 

In a recent Instagram video that racked up more than 16k likes, Tim Gray, a leading biohacking expert, shared the five items he’d banished from his home over concerns that could be damaging his body. 

Fabulous asked Dr Nazreen Morley, a GP based in Northern England, for her insight on the banal items that she’d recommend sticking straight in the bin. 


Tim’s first warning is against air fresheners, which he claims “may make things smell nice, but release hormone-affecting phthalates into the air”. 

And as far as Dr Nazreen is concerned, she’d also recommend you steer clear. 

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Air fresheners can emit over 100 chemicals, Dr Nazreen explainsCredit: Getty

“Air fresheners can emit over 100 chemicals. Over 100!” she emphasises. 

“Now particularly if you have asthma or another lung condition, depending on the specifics of the chemicals in each one, this could be something that exacerbates that.” 

She points out that the effects can be intensified because “they’re typically used indoors, sometimes in confined spaces too”. 

“Ultimately, the evidence isn't strong enough in the UK yet to make any formal recommendations against all air fresheners. 

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“But there's a growing body of research which suggests they can negatively impact the air quality in our homes.”

To be safe, she recommends switching to diffusers – an alternative that are “generally all natural and don;t require you to burn anything, so that’s a fair easy swap”. 


Tim's second no-no goes to plastic containers, which he says may offer “easy storage” but can leak chemicals into your food. 

According to Dr Nazreen, the evidence is fairly inconclusive. 

While there is a standard in the UK for food-safe containers, there are materials still allowed over here – notably BPS – that’s been classified as a “toxic substance” in the US and Canada. 

We know that some of the chemicals in BPS “have been shown to have cancer-causing effects” – but, as she points out, “it’s REALLY important to restate here that the levels are very, very low and in a range typically considered safe to humans”. 

However, she understands “many of us would prefer to know that we’re not ingesting any such chemicals at tiny levels. 

“And if that’s your personal preference, then glass storage containers for food are an easy switch to make.” 

She points out that the same can be the case for plastic appliances like kettles, and if you want to avoid BPAs altogether, simply switch them out for glass ones.


According to Tim, you're better off ditching the non-stick pans for one that are instead made from cast iron or stainless steel. 

 The biohacking buff suggests that they’re covered in a synthetic material that “interrupts your hormones, thyroid and brain”.

For Dr Nazreen, however, this is something she’s less concerned about. 

“Up until 2013, the PTFE coating used to make pans ' non-stick’ contained something called perfluorooctanoic acid, and this has been linked with some health issues.”

But this material was banned in 2013, and she states that the materials used now should not be releasing any nasty acid that can hurt your body. 

However, the doctor suggests you ought to ditch any pans that might have been festering in your cupboards since them. 

That way, you can avoid ingesting the potentially harmful substance – and give your cupboards a good clear out! 


When it comes to health hazards in the home, Dr Nazreen is most concerned about the use of wood burners. 

“In terms of things people use around the house, particularly over winter, this is one I think can be a real health hazard, particularly for people who are asthmatic,” she states. 

“Wood and coal burning release fine particles into the air and studies found that homes with wood burners can have triple the amount of indoor air pollution.”

“When you open the door on the wood burner to add more wood, these particles are released into your home.” 

Both short- and long-term exposure to pollution can lead to a wide range of illness: the European Environment Agency links it to strokes, cancers of the trachea, bronchus and lungs, aggravated asthma and nasty respiratory infections. 

“Unless you have absolutely no alternative source of heat, I'd recommend limiting the amount of time you use the wood burner for,” Dr Nazreen asserts. 

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“If you are unable to use gas central heating, then electric heaters could be an alternative that results in less pollution in the home.”

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