A – Z of Toxicity in our home – Coal Tar Dyes

  • These are complex chemicals created during the incomplete combustion of coal.
  • They contain known carcinogens, such as toluene, benzene, naphthalene, anthracna and xylene that affect everybody from the elderly to babies.
  • It is also a known skin irritant. Coal tar dyes are used in products to make darker shades.
  • Found in: Dark hair dyes, shampoos and scalp treatments, soaps, lotions, eyeliner, mascara.
  • Read the label for: “Coal tar solution, tar, coal, carbo-cort, coal tar solution, coal tar solution USP, crude coal tar, estar, impervotar, KC 261, lavatar, picis carbonis, naphtha, high solvent naphtha, naphtha distillate, benzin B70, petroleum benzin [3,4]”

Toxins in your home

The kitchen should be the heart of our home – and yet it’s slowly killing us and the family we cook and care for.



Ammonia & Ammonium compounds
Coal Tar Dyes
Ethanolamine – MEA/DEA/TEA
Formaldehyde / Formaldehyde releasers
Glycol Ethers
Hydrochloric Acid
Lead acetate in hair dye
PEG compounds
Petroleum Distillates
Polyethylene Compounds
Retinyl palmitate & retinoic acid
Sodium Hydroxide
Sodium Hypochlorite

Honey, honey

That jar of honey hiding at the back of your kitchen cupboard will never go off, but it may have crystallised. Return it to a nice runny consistency by sticking in the microwave on medium for a minute or so (remember to remove any metal lid first!).

Time to get steamy!

A steam cleaner is more relevant than ever. There’s nothing like a good burst of scalding steam to give you the feeling that every last trace of germy grime is being shifted. I tried out the Thane H20 HD steam cleaner—it’s proven to kill 99 percent of germs, is suitable for both hard surfaces and carpets (as well as a great garment steamer)—and was very impressed with the results. It can be converted from hand held to full height in seconds and costs £99.96; available from https://h2o-hd.thanedirect.co.uk.

When your soft brown sugar is hard…

Isn’t it annoying when you’re in the mood to bake, go to the brown sugar packet and it’s rock hard! Prevent this by decanting the sugar the day you buy it into a plastic container and pop in a couple of marshmallows to preserve softness.

Cover all bases

Next time you’re washing upholstery covers, put them back on while still very slightly damp (say, before you go to bed) – this will ease shaping and reduce shrinkage.

G&T tip

If you enjoy a G&T, keep lemon slices in the freezer. Wash and slice a couple of fruits, spread on a tray, freeze and bag up. Now you’ll always be at the ready and your drink will also be cooled!