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Entries in cancer (6)


A Sneak Peek at the Environmental Working Group’s Household Cleaners Hall of Shame

While we know that most household cleaners can be dangerous – which is why we put the safety latches on the cabinets to keep babies out– we may not realize just how dangerous they are even when properly used.

Image courtesy of enviroblog.org.

These days a lot of greenwashing (labeling products as natural) and other safety claims are made in advertisements to sell products by putting consumers’ minds at ease. The Environmental Working Group (EWG), a consumer advocacy non-profit group, decided to take a look at these claims and found some frightening results.

Jane Houlihan, EWG senior vice president for research and co-author of the EWG Cleaners Hall of Shame, said that, “Cleaning your home can come at a high price with cancer-causing chemicals in the air; having an asthma attack from fumes; or getting serious skin burns from an accidental spill.”

“Almost any ingredient is legal and almost none of them are labeled, leaving families at risk,” she added.

This Cleaners Hall of Shame is a preview of a more comprehensive EWG Cleaners Database project that is due for release in fall 2012.

Stock photo.

The current report defines greenwashing as cleaners being labeled non-toxic, green, or safe, while containing hazardous ingredients.

Among the worst offenders is Simple Green Concentrated All-Purpose Cleaner, which the EWG says is labeled non-toxic and biodegradable, but contains the solvent 2-butoxyethanol that can irritate eyes and if absorbed through the skin, can damage red blood cells.

“Worse, the company website instructs the user to dilute the product significantly for even the heaviest cleaning tasks. Yet it comes in a spray bottle that implies it should be sprayed full-strength. Such use would result in higher exposure (and risk),” said the report.

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Cancerous House Dust Across America Linked to Pavement Sealcoats

Coal-tar-based sealcoat being applied. Photo by Peter Van Metre.

We all have memories as children of being told to wipe our feet before coming in. Well, it might be more important than ever to follow that advice with a new study about what we may be tracking in.

Coal-tar-based sealcoal - that black, shiny stuff sprayed or painted on many parking lots, driveways, and playgrounds - has been linked to elevated concentrations of the contaminants polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in house dust.

Houses and apartments next to areas treated with this type of sealcoat contained dust with much higher concentrations of PAHs than those next to areas treated with other types sealcoats, according to the new study published by Environmental Science and Technology.

Asphalt-based sealcoat being applied. Photo by Guardtop.In contrast, “asphalt-based products have concentrations of PAHs that are 1,000 times less than what are in coal-tar-based products,” said Dr. Barbara Mahler, one of the authors of the study and a research hydrologist with the water resources division of the U.S. Geological Survey.

The concern is that “PAHs are highly potent carcinogens than can produce tumors in some organism at even a single dose. Mammals can absorb PAHs by inhalation, dermal contact or ingestion,” according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

“Fish exposed to PAH contamination have exhibited fin erosion, liver abnormalities, cataracts, and immune system impairments leading to increased susceptibility to disease,” adds the agency.

Working to assess water quality across the nation, “what caught our attention was there was one group of contaminants that was increasing, and that was the PAHs, which were primarily increasing in urban lakes in the U.S.,” said Mahler.

She went on to say that, “What we also found was that the PAH concentrations in the dust on these parking lots were extremely high, much higher than we had seen from any other PAH sources, including things like motor oil.”

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Women With Lifelong Obesity Suffering More Illnesses in Senior Years, Says Harvard Study

Cartoon courtesy of the Rotary Club Of NorthRaleigh.

More and more Americans are definitely living longer, but they are also doing it with the help of a lot of prescription medications.

These medical issues have become a common occurrence in American culture. The Harvard School of Public Health in cooperation with Brigham and Women’s Hospital found that in a large study of 17,065 women living until at least age 70, that being overweight at middle-age was associated with having more health problems later in life.

The results showed that only 9.9 percent of the women who lived until age 70, reported being free of major chronic diseases; having good cognitive and physical functions; and having good mental health. These women were defined as healthy survivors.

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Outraged Senator Introduces Federal Act to Protect Young Children From Widespread Contaminants in Personal Care Products

Sen. Kristen Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) . Stock photo.

NEW YORK- In response to a children’s health study done by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, Sen. Krsiten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) has introduced the Safe Baby Products Act into the federal legislature.

In conjunction with the bill, now awaiting a reference number, Gillibrand wrote a letter to Frank M. Torti, acting commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, stating that “due to complete and total lack of oversight, the products that we use to care for our children could be putting their health and lives at risk. I find it to be unacceptable that the FDA does not regulate personal care products, as it does food and drugs.”

Gillibrand went on to say in her letter that, “The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics commissioned laboratory tests that revealed that personal care products are commonly contaminated with formaldehyde or 1,4-dioxane, which have been linked to cancer and skin allergies.

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Broccoli Battles Stomach Cancer Causing Bacteria, Says Research Study

WASHINGTON, D.C.- Former President George H. W. Bush became famous for his dislike of eating broccoli. Those that agree with him might want to rethink that position.

Image Courtesy of SugarShakes.

The American Institute for Cancer Research has just completed a study showing that eating a healthy portion of broccoli regularly can suppress a bacteria known to be a contributing cause of ulcers, gastritis, and stomach cancer.

The bacteria is Helicobacter pylori. Broccoli and its sprouts are rich in sulforaphane, a compound known by researchers to be a potent antibiotic against the bacteria.

A team of AICR-funded researchers in Japan and at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, randomly assigned 48 patients infected with H. pylori to eat a daily dose of broccoli sprouts or alfalfa. The broccoli sprouts delivered the same amount of sulforaphane as about two to three servings of broccoli. Alfalfa does not contain sulforaphane.

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