Environmental Toxins Are Killing Us - Protect Yourself

by: Heather on 05/17/2010
Posted in: Health

You may eat organic food, use natural cosmetics and avoid chemical cleaning products, but it's nearly impossible to completely avoid the environmental toxins that permeate our world. Two recently released reports highlight the increasing dangers these toxins pose to your health and that of your family - and show you how to help limit your exposure.

Reducing Environmental Cancer Risk is this year's annual report from the President's Cancer Panel - the body charged with overseeing the activities of the U.S. National Cancer Program. The focus of this year's report to the President is on the growing body of evidence linking environmental and occupational exposure to cancer - exposure that the panel suggests could be prevented through appropriate national action.

From the report's introduction:

Environmental exposures that increase the national cancer burden do not represent a new front in the ongoing war on cancer. However, the grievous harm from this group of carcinogens has not been addressed adequately by the National Cancer Program. The American people--even before they are born--are bombarded continually with myriad combinations of these dangerous exposures. The Panel urges you most strongly to use the power of your office to remove the carcinogens and other toxins from our food, water, and air that needlessly increase health care costs, cripple our Nation's productivity, and devastate American lives.

Read the full report here.

The second report, Not so Sexy: The Health Risks of Secret Chemicals in Fragrance was released by Toronto-based Environmental Defence who teamed up with California's Campaign for Safe Cosmetics to test 17 fragrances. The report concluded that many brand-name perfumes and colognes contain undisclosed chemicals not listed on the labels and substances that haven't been assessed for safety by the beauty industry's own review panels. It also found that that many of the undisclosed chemicals are associated with hormone disruption and allergic reactions. The report gives four tips for reducing unnecessary exposure to toxic chemicals in personal care products:

  1. Choose products with no added fragrance.
  2. Less is better - consider using fragrance less often.
  3. Help pass smarter, health-protective laws. Ask that Health Canada be given the authority and resources it needs to ensure the safety of cosmetics by visiting Environmental Defence.
  4. Demand that cosmetics companies fully disclose ingredients and support those that do.


For more information and tools to protect yourself and your family, check out Not Just a Pretty Face and Cancer: 101 Solutions to a Preventable Epidemic.



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