Posts Tagged ‘carcinogens’

President’s Cancer Panel Warns Against Toxic Chemicals in Everyday Life

Tuesday, May 11th, 2010

non-toxic chemicals make a happy healthy family

Happy, Healthy Family Lives a Toxin-Free Life

The President’s Cancer Panel released their annual report last Thursday. I can’t begin to tell you what a breakthrough it is to have this icon of the medical establishment acknowledge the role chemicals play in our health. Cancer is not the only consequence of chemical exposure but, of course, it is the focus of the report.


Did you know that 41% of Americans will be diagnosed with cancer at some time in their lives? Scary, but those are the statistics. The President’s Cancer Panel wants to do something about it.

To give you an idea of how serious they are, check out this quote from the Panel’s cover letter to the President:

“The Panel was particularly concerned to find that the true burden of environmentally induced cancer has been grossly underestimated. With nearly 80,000 chemicals on the market in the United States, many of which are used by millions of Americans in their daily lives and are un- or understudied and largely unregulated, exposure to potential environmental carcinogens is widespread.”

There’s much more to read in the report itself, but even reading just the cover letter to the President makes things pretty clear. See Reducing Environmental Cancer Risk – What We Can Do Now for both the letter and the complete report.

The authors provide outlines of policy, research and programs to bring about the changes they believe are necessary to keep us safe. But they also provide recommendations we can use in our daily lives, now, to reduce our exposure.

Here are the highlights of their recommendations:

1. Because children’s under-developed bodies are especially susceptible to toxins, both parents should avoid exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals and known or suspected carcinogens prior to conception, during pregnancy and throughout a child’s early life. They also advise we choose foods, house and garden products, play spaces (this would include cribs and baby crib mattresses – check out Naturepedic), toys, medicines and medical tests that limit exposure.

2. If one works in an environmental that contains potentially harmful chemicals, remove work shoes and wash work clothes immediately upon entering the house so as not to contaminate the home environment.

3. Drink filtered tap water. Avoid bottles of water – BPA in plastics is a big issue – unless it is known that tap or well water is contaminated, or that the plastic is BPA-free and otherwise tested for safety.

4. Buy organic food – food grown without pesticides or chemical fertilizers. Eat meat from free-range animals that have not been given growth hormones or antibiotics. Avoid processed, charred and well-done meats.

5. Properly dispose of pharmaceuticals, household chemicals, paints and similar materials. And, when possible, choose products made with non-toxic substances or environmentally-safe chemicals.

6. Reduce exposure to radiation (they give specifics), and get your home tested for radon.

7. Become a voice in your community.

The report covers many different types of exposure, including radiation from medical testing. For example, did you know that the radiation from one CT scan is equivalent to over 1,000 chest x-rays? To read the complete report, which is lengthy but easy to read and very interesting, check Reducing Environmental Cancer Risk – What We Can Do Now.

This is great news! Not only is the issue getting more mainstream medical attention, the information is now in the oval office. And with fairly simple recommendations we can put into action in our daily lives, we really can do something about our own health and the health of our children, now!

Is Your Baby Bedding Toxic?

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010


shar peiDecades ago, clothing, linens and other textiles were anything but easy-care. The fabrics were heavy and cumbersome to clean, took forever to dry, and had more wrinkles than a Shar Pei. This kept housewives, which was just about every wife at the time, pretty busy.

When synthetic fibers came into the picture, American women sighed with relief. The clothes and linens were lighter, washed quickly, dried quickly, and wrinkles, if there were any, practically shook out. We’ve come to expect that – even with baby clothes, blankets and the bedding we use on crib mattresses.

However, over the years we’ve discovered more about the chemicals some of these synthetic fabrics actually have in and on them, and the blush is definitely fading from the easy-care chemical rose.

What chemicals can your baby be exposed to with crib bedding?

Labels like ‘crease-resistant,’ ‘crease-proof,’ ‘no iron,’ ‘wrinkle-resistant,’ ‘durable press,’ ‘easy-care’, ‘wrinkle-free’, ‘stain-resistant,’ ‘wash and wear,’ and ‘permanent press’ mean the fabrics are probably treated with formaldehyde.

Formaldehyde can cause a number of health conditions – burning and watery eyes, coughing, difficulty breathing, and allergic contact dermatitis where formaldehyde-containing fabrics come in contact with the skin.

According to the National Cancer Institute, formaldehyde is also human carcinogen (cancer-causing substance), and the Environmental Protection Agency agrees that’s probably the case.

Formaldehyde is just one of the chemicals of concern in baby bedding, but it’s enough.

What’s the solution? Although you can buy untreated 100% cotton products, it might be easier to get organic cotton. Organic cotton is becoming so popular you can even find linens and clothing in major department stores. Not all stores, and not many items, but you may be able to find them.

If not, you can shop at specialty stores or online. There are literally hundreds of online stores that sell organic cotton sheets – including for a toddler or crib mattress – as well as blankets, pillowcases, clothing, and so on. You can also find them at Naturepedic – we make organic cotton crib sheets and other bed linens as well as organic crib mattresses. Check them out.

So … what do you do about the wrinkles?

Some organic cotton items don’t wrinkle anywhere near as much as they did decades ago; it depends on the weave and a number of other factors. Our crib sheets, for example, look pretty good right out of the dryer. So, wrinkles might not be a problem.

Here are a few tips to keep wrinkles to a minimum, regardless of the fabric:

  • Add vinegar to the final rinse cycle of your wash. Simply fill the fabric softener reservoir with one cup of vinegar to help keep textiles soft.
  • Don’t let your laundry sit in the washing machine. Take it out as soon as it’s done, then shake things out and smooth them before putting them in the dryer.
  • Pack the dryer loosely; the tighter it’s packed, the more wrinkles you’ll get.
  • Take clothes out of the dryer as soon as the cycle is complete, immediately smooth them out, then fold or hang.
  • If you need to iron something, use a steam iron. A combination of heat and moisture is the best wrinkle-fighter.

True, this all takes a little longer that permanent press. But it’s worth it to protect the health of your baby, and yourself.