Cancer-Causing Products In The Average Home

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Cancer remains to be at the top of the list of the most common causes of fatalities. This fatal disease can affect anyone. Could you be using, or even consuming, cancer-causing chemicals? And there are everyday items that increase the risk of cancer.

These products contain a wide-range of carcinogenic and other toxic ingredients and contaminants to which most of us are exposed daily. Consumer health groups have studied many household products and warned that they contain carcinogens, or ingredients known to cause cancer.

Cellular phones

There is still an ongoing debate over this matter. But the World Health Organization has already concluded that the radio frequency electromagnetic fields emitted by these gadgets can possibly cause cancer in the brain. As of this moment, there is still limited evidence to prove the relation between cell phone and cancer. But it would not hurt to do take precautions. Something as simple as using headsets instead putting the phone directly to your ears can help.

Soft drinks and juices

Sweetened beverages in general are filled with refined sugar. It is also a fact that carcinogens feed on sugar. In which case, these beverages can help promote the growth and formation of tumors. Aside from the high sugar content, these drinks are also filled with certain additives that are not good for the health. As such, sweetened beverages should never take the place of vitamins and minerals, as well as other nutrients.

Fried treats

Fried food should be avoided not only because they increase the body’s cholesterol levels. It is also because foods that have been fried using extremely high temperatures contain acrylamide which is a type of carcinogen.

Alcohol

Excessively indulging in alcoholic drinks can make you become more prone not only to one but different kinds of cancer which can affect the liver, esophagus, mouth, colon, and breasts. As a matter of fact, it can increase the chances of getting breast cancer among women by as much as 30 percent.

Talc powder

Talc has been under close scrutiny for years. This is because it has been found to have some similarities with asbestos. Talc can cause lung cancer and promote the growth of tumors in the ovaries.

Burned meat

When meat is cooked until it becomes burned, it releases toxins. It particularly creates a carcinogen known as heterocyclic aromatic amines. Despite this fact being common knowledge though, some people still can’t kick off the habit of eating charred meat.

Antiperspirant products

Aluminum in particular has been found to be a main contributor to breast cancer. What the antiperspirant does is it stops perspiration. By doing so, it encourages toxin deposits in the lymph nodes which may lead to breast cancer.

Bubble bath for children

Products that contain sodium lauryl sulfate are known to affect the skin’s mucous lining. Prolonged usage increases the risk of cancer.

Cured meat

These meats contain nitrates. It is common among hotdogs, bacon, sausages and lunch meat among others.

There are a number of other factors that may bring about cancer. What is more alarming is that these things have become part of people’s lives and it will take a conscious effort to avoid them. But with proper information, we can all make a change and hopefully avoid cancer.

Nonstick Cookware

Pots, pans, and other cookware made with a nonstick coating (Teflon) have been controversial for many years. The main chemical in nonstick coatings is perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), which is known to cause cancer.

The question has been whether enough PFOA gets into the human body from pans to pose a risk. Some experts believe that PFOA and as many as 15 other chemicals can be released when cooking with these coatings, particularly at high heat. Other concerns involve whether the chemicals can get into food once the surface becomes scratched and nicked over time.

The EPA has called on manufacturers to phase out PFOA, but it hasn’t happened yet.

Cosmetics

Your makeup bag and medicine cabinet may be hazardous to your health, containing chemicals that are known carcinogens. Philip Landrigan, dean of Global Health at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, advises avoiding the “dirty dozen” toxic chemicals in skin care listed in National Geographic’s Green Guide, including:

  • Antibacterials
  • Formaldehyde
  • Hydroquinone
  • Mercury
  • Lead
  • Parabens
  • Phenylenediamine
  • Coal tar
  • Diethanolamine
  • 1,4-Dioxane
  • Nanoparticles
  • Petroleum distillates

According to Landrigan, chemicals belonging to a class called phthalates are among the biggest culprits in beauty products because they mimic the action of our natural hormones. Phthalates such as dibutyl phthalate (DBP), dimethyl phthalate (DMP), and diethyl phthalate (DEP) are used in beauty products as “plasticizers,” to harden nail polish, help hair spray adhere to the hair, and fix scent in perfumes. Phthalates are also found in the flexible plastic bottles in which shampoo, lotion, and other beauty products are stored, and they can leach into the contents.

Another of the worst offenders is lipstick, which may contain lead, known to cause numerous health problems, including cancer. In response to a public health effort by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, the FDA recently conducted two separate investigations testing lipsticks for lead, and the results were pretty scary. Lead was detected in every single one of the lipsticks tested, and not in small amounts. The first FDA test revealed lead levels up to 3.06 ppm (parts per million), and the second test found lead levels up to 7.19 ppm.

Lastly, be aware that beauty labels are not always honest. In one recent study, keratin-based hair straighteners labeled “formaldehyde-free” were found to contain formaldehyde. While the levels found were fairly low, stylists are at risk because of repeated exposure.

Plastic

BPA, or bisphenol A, has been in the headlines endlessly the past couple of years, but that doesn’t mean we know what to do about it, since the news has been both alarmist and confusing. Here’s the lowdown: BPA is a phthalate and a synthetic estrogen linked to cancer, reproductive problems, and heart disease.

In 2010, the President’s Cancer Panel recommended that consumers not use water bottles and other containers made with BPA and urged that the ingredient be removed from commercial production, but that has happened in only a handful of states. Still, BPA-free bottles are now manufactured by all of the major bottle manufacturers, and BPA-free bottles are fast becoming the norm, at least where they are available.

Unfortunately, BPA has been much slower to phase out in other products, such as the lining of cans. Because BPA can react with the metal of the cans, and cans are heated as they’re sterilized, canned food is “high risk” for BPA.

Another ingredient used to make plastics more pliable is diethylhexyl adipate (DEHA), which is also classified as a possible carcinogen. DEHA is in almost all plastic wraps and has properties similar to phthalates, like BPA. Unlike BPA, it has yet to be phased out of most products.

Garden & Lawn Chemicals

Several common ingredients in pesticides and weed killers have been linked with cancer and Parkinson’s. A 2009 study found a higher incidence of brain cancer in children whose parents had extensive prior exposure to pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides, either at home or at work.

The researchers identified the pesticides and herbicides classified by the EPA as probable or possible human carcinogens (including chlordane, heptachlor, tetrachlorvinphos, carbaryl, propoxur, lindane, dichlorvos, phosmet, and permethrin) as the likely toxins responsible the children’s cancer.

Parkinson’s is also being studied for links to pesticide exposure. One study found that people diagnosed with Parkinson’s are more than twice as likely to report pesticide exposure than people not diagnosed with the disease. In-home insecticides have also been studied for links to cancer.

One study found that elevated levels of two chemicals used in pest bombs, known as “total release foggers” or TRFs, were detected at high levels in the urine of children with leukemia. The EPA now tracks illnesses and deaths associated with foggers, and many states are working to get them reclassified as limited-use products.

VOC Paint

According to the EPA, paints, varnishes, waxes, and some cleaning supplies contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which are known to cause cancer.

“VOCs are emitted by a wide array of products numbering in the thousands; examples include paints and lacquers, paint strippers, cleaning supplies, pesticides, and building materials and furnishings. . . .”

VOCs release organic compounds into the air while you’re using them, and to some degree afterward, at least while drying. Probably the worst of these chemicals is methylene chloride, which is a documented carcinogen in animals, and benzene, which is documented for cancer in humans. Methylene chloride is in most paint strippers, adhesive removers, and aerosol spray paints.

Another danger of this chemical is that it is converted to carbon monoxide in the body and can therefore cause the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning. Benzene is in stored paint supplies and fuels.

Radon

An odorless, radioactive gas that’s produced by the natural decay of uranium, radon is more common than you might think. After smoking, it’s the leading cause of lung cancer in the United States, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, which has found that nearly 1 in 3 homes checked in seven states had radon levels over 4 pCi/L, the EPA’s recommended action level for radon exposure.

Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that comes from rock and soil; well water can also be a source of radon, as it’s water soluble.

The only way to find out if there’s radon in your home is to test for it. Call the National Safety Council’s National Radon Hotline at (800) 767-7236 and they’ll send you a low-cost radon detector; inexpensive models are also available at most hardware stores.

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