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March 3rd, 2015
A person is more likely to die from heart disease than cancer, but cancer is closing in quickly and could take the lead.
According to a recent New York Times article, the most encouraging gains in the war against cancer come from taking steps to prevent this disease. We all know that not all cancers are preventable, but through some simple lifestyle changes we can sometimes lower our risk.
The home is an easy place to begin since there are several possible cancer-causing substances that might be lurking under your very own roof.
Non-Stick Pots and Pans (Teflon)
Many homes are filled with nonstick pots and pans, which are loved for their ease and convenience when it comes to cooking and cleaning. Nonstick finishes have come under fire in recent years due to the toxic fumes emitted when the cookware is exposed to high heat. Most nonstick pots and pans are metal pans (such as aluminum pans) coated with a chemicals from the Perfluorinated chemical or Perfluorochemicals (PFC) family. Studies in humans found that workers with exposure to PFOA have higher risks of bladder and kidney cancers. Another study showed that PFCs have been linked to infertility in women.
Bottom Line: Ditch the Teflon.
Candles come in varying scents, colors, shapes and sizes. If you’re not careful about your candle purchase they could add nasty pollutants to your indoor air. Most of the candles on the market are made with paraffin wax, derived from petroleum, and scented with synthetic fragrances, also derived from petroleum. In a study by the American Chemical Society the researchers found that the petroleum based candles emitted varying levels of cancer-causing toluene and benzene, as well as other hydrocarbon chemicals called alkanes and alkenes, which are components of gasoline and can irritate respiratory tracts and trigger asthma.
Bottom Line: Time to replace those petroleum based candles with a safer alternative.
For many years BPA has been on the minds of parents, consumers and public health advocates. I’ve been following the BPA issue closely and devoted much of my writing to this topic. I was even interviewed by ABC World News about the FDA’s decision not to ban BPA. There have been some wonderful victories surrounding BPA. The good news is that many companies are starting to listen and BPA is transitioning out. The bad or unsettling news is that even though a product is considered BPA-free the replacement could still be releasing high levels of other chemicals that mimic estrogen.
Bottom Line: Just say not to plastic as much as you can.
According to the National Cancer Institute “Radon is an invisible, odorless, tasteless gas that seeps up through the ground and diffuses into the air.” People who inhale high levels of radon are at an increased risk of developing lung cancer. Believe it our not radon is the second largest cause of lung cancer after cigarette smoking. Radon can enter your home through cracks in floors, walls, or foundations, and collect indoors.
Bottom Line: Test your home for radon.
Household Cleaners and Cosmetics
There could be cancer-causing chemicals in your household cleaner and cosmetics. Seems crazy, right? Unfortunately our system is broken both of these industries are highly unregulated. This leaves it wide open for these toxins to land in our products. Remember Tide and 1,4 dioxane (a known carcinogen)?
Bottom Line: Become an avid label reader and find products that contain simple ingredients and avoid products that contain long chemical ingredients that you can’t pronounce. Best bet-make some of your own personal care and cleaning products at home.
Much of the furniture in our home is filled with flame retardants. It’s no secret flame retardants have been linked to cancer, birth defects, hormone disruption and other serious health problems. The market place seems to be shifting as more and more retailers decide not to use toxic flame retardants, but as consumers we still need to be cautious.
Bottom Line: Let your dollars do the talking and seek out furniture retailers and manufacturers that commit to carrying furniture without toxic flame retardants.
How do you prevent cancer-causing chemicals from entering your home?
photo credit: The House, Lately via photopin (license)
October 14th, 2014
It’s enough. I don’t know about you, but I’m getting tired of hearing that there are cancer causing chemicals in products that go in and/or on our bodies.
This time we’re talking menstrual pads. Not a comfortable subject for some, but this is something we need to talk about. It’s time to put an end to toxic chemicals showing up in these products that come in direct contact with our bodies.
Cancer causing chemicals found in Always pads
Our friends at Women’s Voices for the Earth just discovered that Always pads release styrene, a known cancer causing chemical, along with chloroform, acetone, chloromethane, and other toxic chemicals listed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services National Toxicology Program, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, and the State of California Environmental Protection Agency as carcinogens, and reproductive and developmental toxins.
Both scented and unscented Always Ultra Thin pads were tested, as well as scented and unscented Always Infinity.
None of these chemicals—and no ingredients whatsoever—are listed on the Always label.
The worst part? These secret toxic chemicals are coming into contact with some of the most sensitive and absorptive skin on our bodies!
Toxic chemicals don’t belong in feminine care products. Period.
What you can do
Always shareholders are meeting in Cincinnati TODAY to talk about what’s important to the company, and they need to hear from you!
Please take a moment to call Always and tell them to list ingredients so that we have the information we need to protect our health.
Always Customer Service number: 1 (800) 888-3115
Hello. I just saw test results from Women’s Voices for the Earth that show chemicals linked to cancer, reproductive harm, and allergies in Always pads – and no ingredients are listed on the label. We have a right to know what we’re using on our bodies. Please list all ingredients and remove harmful chemicals.
Send an email HERE telling Always and Tampax to list all ingredients and remove harmful chemicals!
Today Women’s Voices for the Earth and Naturally Savvy will be delivering over 21,000 signatures to the makers of Always from women demanding to know what’s in pads!
Did this info surprise you? How are you planning to take action?
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photo credit: Timothy Valentine via photopin cc
June 2nd, 2014
Getting my kids to wear sunscreen every day can become a tedious and frustrating task during the summer. I get it. It’s really not all that pleasant to rub a greasy lotion all over your body.
But using sunscreen is a necessity. Every day.
Here’s why sunscreen is needed daily:
“Researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital examined survey data from more than 100,000 nurses participating in the Harvard Nurses Health study and found that those who had at least five blistering sunburns when they were 15 to 20 years old had a 68 percent increased risk for common skin cancers like basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas and an 80 percent increased risk of the deadlier melanoma by the time they reached middle age.”
There are a few ways to inspire your children to wear sunscreen that don’t involve holding them down!
1. Lead by example. Show your children how you wear sunscreen and reapply throughout the day. Be a good role model!
2. Make it fun. Make up a silly sunscreen game-Simon Says put your sunscreen on your toes. If the application process is fun they’re more likely to wear sunscreen.
3. Let your child pick out their own sunscreen. My kids are very particular about the scent and texture of the sunscreen they use. Every summer I buy a few of my favorite safe brands and let them pick. All three of my kids will only wear sunscreens that don’t make them turn pasty white when applied. This year I added a few sunscreen sticks into the mix and they were grabbed.
4. Have everyone put on their own sunscreen. I know…we want to make sure every square inch of skin is protected. Even if your little ones don’t do a very good job, this is a great habit to create from an early age. You’ll thank me later. You can always go and do touch-ups if needed.
5. Talk about being sun smart. Explain to your kids why we all wear sunscreen. At some point they’ll understand and hopefully continue applying their own sunscreen as they grow.
Please remember: Don’t use a spray sunscreen. While spray sunscreens are convenient (I’m the first to admit that!), many spray sunscreens-especially the aerosol sprays-contain ingredients that don’t belong on your skin. Also, when you spray sunscreen you are likely to inhale the fumes and this is a much more direct route of exposure than when you apply the sunscreen directly to your skin. It goes directly into your lungs.
How do you get your kids to wear sunscreen?
photo credit: Boudewijn Berends via photopin cc
April 17th, 2014
Yesterday was a big day. Thousands of people across the nation asked Walgreens to get serious about toxic chemicals. I was one of the thousands.
I went to my local Walgreens to ask them to Mind the Store. And this wasn’t my first visit to Walgreens asking that very same question.
What is the Mind the Store Campaign?
In 2013, Safer Chemicals Healthy Families launched the Mind the Store campaign. The campaign was created to ask our nation’s top ten retailers to avoid carrying the Hazardous 100+ toxic chemicals. These toxic chemicals have been linked to cancer,infertility, learning and developmental disabilities, behavioral problems,obesity, diabetes, and asthma.
Walgreens, the largest drug store chain nationwide, hasn’t responded to our campaign.
My Visit to Walgreens
This visit I had a chance to meet with the store manager and one other employee. We had a fabulous conversation.
I let them know that, as a customer, I’m finding it increasingly hard to find safe products free of toxic chemicals. Due to our lax federal laws on toxic chemicals, products filled with toxins are ending up on the shelves in Walgreens.
We talked about the new study by HealthyStuff.org showing a range of products that Walgreens sells containing one or more toxic chemicals. These toxic chemicals include PVC, phthalates, and heavy metals that have been linked to asthma, birth defects, learning disabilities, reproductive problems and cancer.
The store manager responded with a “Wow! That’s a lot of chemicals!”
Given that their competitors like Target and Walmart have already begun to take comprehensive action, we want Walgreens to feel the heat and be the next major retailer to develop a corporate chemicals policy.
The store employees promised to pass the message along to their corporate office. Fingers crossed that they follow through.
Walgreens is the nation’s largest drugstore chain, and they have the power — and moral responsibility — to ensure that the products they sell do not contain dangerous chemicals harmful to our health.
Unfortunately, Walgreens has yet to respond to our repeated letters and requests to do something.
Join me along with Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families to call on Walgreens to Mind the Store and protect our families from unnecessary dangerous chemicals.
Send them a message HERE. I promise it will only take a few seconds.
Do you find it hard to find products without toxic chemicals?
Thank you to my 10 year old for his extraordinary patience while filming the video above.
Check out some of the experiences people had at Walgreens:
June 12th, 2013
And know that of all the people out there, you finally found someone that can truly make a difference. That person is – and always has been – you.” ~ Ed Brown, Debut filmmaker “Unacceptable Levels”
Ever wonder about chemicals in your day-to-day life?
What’s in the air I breathe? The water I drink? The food I eat? Even the things I put on my skin?
Ed Brown wondered these same things after his wife suffered two miscarriages (they now have two beautiful children). But instead of just wondering, he traveled around the country with his video camera to interview top minds in the fields of science, advocacy and law and learned there are unacceptable levels of chemicals in so many things. Including our bodies.
Approximately 200 synthetic industrial chemicals interact with our cells every single day.
Ed’s documentary dissects the ways chemicals saturate our homes and environment amid a backdrop of a glaring lack of regulation. It chronicles the results of the post-WWII chemical boom and details common avenues of exposure, from food to fluoride to toxic sludge. View the trailer for his award-winning debut film, Unacceptable Levels—about the chemicals in our bodies and how they got there—here.
Some Unacceptable Facts from the film:
- Autism now affects one in 50 children.
- Cancer is the leading cause of death (after accidents) in children younger than 15 years in the United States.
- In the last twenty years, the rates of asthma, allergies and ADHD are on the rise:
- 400% increase in allergies
- 300% increase in asthma
- 400% increase in ADHD
- $2.6 Trillion of the GDP is spent on treating disease every year.
Chemicals saturate our homes and environment amid a backdrop of a glaring lack of regulation. The film chronicles the results of the post-WWII chemical boom and details common avenues of exposure, from food to fluoride to toxic sludge.
Ed is touring the country this summer, with a bicoastal premiere June 12 at the ArcLight Hollywood in California and at the Avon Theatre in Stamford, Connecticut. He’ll be joined in Hollywood by Mariel Hemingway, Gary Hirschberg, Christopher Gavigan. Fran Drescher and other passionate environmentalists to inspire others to take action.
The L.A. World Premiere is invite only. But, the first 50 to show without an invitation will get in free!
Tickets for the Connecticut premiere can be purchased at the door.
Premiere screenings in several key cities: Austin (August 3rd), Boulder (July 16th), Chicago (July 24th), San Francisco (July 10th- 11th), and Washington DC (June 20th). First 50 to show up to any of the premieres will be admitted free!
To find a screening in your area, visit UnacceptableLevels.com. New screenings will be added, so be sure to check back often.
Connect with Unacceptable Levels on Facebook and twitter.
What others are saying about Unacceptable Levels…
“Unacceptable Levels is a hugely important film… Sadly, most Americans are misinformed or not informed at all about how many toxic chemicals we are being exposed to 24 hours a day. These toxins are making us sick and quite simply our lives are being threatened. We need to stand up and speak out. We must demand a healthy environment for ourselves and for our children. Unacceptable Levels poignantly reveals how chemicals have invaded our lives.”
—Mariel Hemingway Actress, Author, Healthy Living Advocate
“This movie lives the Healthy Child motto: No one can do everything, everyone can do something. Ed Brown has done something by creating an amazing, powerful experience that moves all of us to realize how important it is to know how our system works and what we can do to fix it.”
—Rachel Lincoln Sarnoff Former Executive Director/CEO Healthy Child, Healthy World
“This film is a huge eye-opener! Once a parent sees this, they thankfully won’t ever approach their child’s health & future the same way ever again!”
—Jessica Capshaw Gavigan Environmental Advocate and Actress
Are you heading to see the movie? Can’t wait to hear what you think.
photo credit: ToniVC via photopin cc
May 15th, 2013
Brussels sprouts are one of those vegetables that most people either love or hate. For many of us they’re no longer the food that our mother’s forced us to eat. Brussels sprouts have graduated onto my superfood list and with good reason. They’re not only full of flavor, but they also have a ton of health benefits. I’m a lover and I know I’m not alone.
There are quite a few good reasons to become a lover of brussels sprouts.
- Lower cholesterol. Steamed brussels sprouts can help lower your cholesterol. Steaming allows their fiber to bind to bile acids in your digestive system more effectively, which allows those bile acids to exit the body as waste.
- Fight cancer. Brussels sprouts contain glucosinolates and isothiocyanates, which are shown to fight against and also prevent various types of cancers, including bladder, breast, colon, lung, prostate, and ovarian cancer.
- Immune system boost. Brussels sprouts are filled with vitamins C, E, and A, as well as the mineral manganese, which promote a healthy immune system. A 1/2-cup serving of Brussels sprouts contains 48.4 milligrams of vitamin C, which is about 50 percent of what men need each day and about 65 percent of what women need on a daily basis.
- Bone health. Brussels sprouts are high in vitamin K (one cup contains 273.5% of the recommended daily allowance), which promotes healthy bones and prevents calcification of the body’s tissues.
- Eye health. Brussels sprouts are a good source of vitamin A, which is essential to proper functioning of the retina. It also helps prevent night blindness by helping the eye to adapt between bright light and darkness, helps reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and the forming of cataracts.
- Fiber power. Keep that digestive system moving smoothly by eating your brussels sprouts. Fiber also helps reduce cholesterol levels, which can lower your risk of heart disease and stroke. A 1/2-cup serving of Brussels sprouts has about 2 grams of fiber.
- Healthy weight. They are a low-glycemic vegetable packed with a powerful punch. Just 100 g of brussels sprouts is about 45 calories, and contains 3.38 g of protein, 3.80 g of dietary fiber (10% of RDA) and zero cholesterol.
- Heart health. Brussels sprouts contain a compound (isothiocyanate sulforaphane made from glucosinolates) which aides in preventing inflammation in our cardiovascular system and can also prevent and possibly reverse blood vessel damage.
- Pregnancy health. Studies have shown that women who get 400 micrograms (0.4 milligrams) of folate daily before conceiving and during early pregnancy reduce the risk that their baby will be born with a serious neural tube defect (a birth defect involving incomplete development of the brain and spinal cord) by up to 70%. Eating your brussels sprouts can help. Eating one cup of boiled brussels sprouts will give you approximately 25% of your daily recommended amount.
- Lower blood pressure. They are filled with potassium, which helps lower blood pressure and maybe even cholesterol.
These delicious little cabbages don’t fall under EWG’s Dirty Dozen as a vegetable that should be purchased only in it’s organic form, but I would suggest buying organic when you can. I rarely find organic brussels sprouts at the farmer’s market or local grocery store.
Do you love or hate brussels sprouts? Any luck finding organic sprouts?
photo credit: Esteban Cavrico via photopin cc
March 7th, 2013
Incorporating more food from a plant-based diet has been a goal of mine for quite sometime. When a friend sent over an invite to a blogger event called ‘Entertaining with a Healthy Twist’ I was immediately sold. How could I pass on an opportunity to meet Chef Chad Sarno, a chef who focuses on plant-based diets? Off I went to a local Whole Foods Market to participate in a cooking demo. Chef Sarno co-authored a cookbook with Kris Carr called Crazy Sexy Kitchen: 150 Plant-Empowered Recipes to Ignite a Mouthwatering Revolution. Kris is a cancer survivor (she calls herself a cancer thriver-I love that!) who inspires people to take charge of their health and happiness by adopting a plant-based diet.
Chef Chad Sarno is known for bringing his approach to healthy cuisine to some of the world’s premier health-focused restaurants, resorts, film sets and healing spas. He wears many hats, one of which is the Global Health Starts Here recipe developer for Whole Foods Market. I learned very quickly that he’s full of amazing tips for eating an animal-free, whole foods diet. Tips that I would actually use!
When I first arrived there were delicious vegan hors d’oeuvres being passed around and time to mingle with other local foodies. It was so nice to meet in real life fellow green blogger, Alison from Green with Renvy who I’ve been in touch with on Twitter for quite some time.
During his cooking demonstration Chad said something that really stuck with me: “Eating plant-based is so much more than just eating salads”. So true and so easy to forget.
Here are a few healthy tips for eating a plant-based diet which Chad shared with us during his cooking demonstration.
- Ginger doesn’t need to be peeled, but if you do peel it use a spoon. There will be less ginger that goes to waste.
- You don’t need oil to stir fry. Heat your pan and add onions. The seal created by the onions will create a non-stick surface. Now you’re good to go with your stir fry. No oil needed!
- For a non-dairy substitute cashews are your nut. When blended they become smooth and a perfect dairy replacement.
- Pureed dates are a wonderful sugar substitute.
- Nutritional yeast makes popcorn irresistible.
Thanks to Whole Foods, I now have my very own copy of Crazy Sexy Kitchen with a “power to the plants” autograph.
Do you have any tips to share for those of us wanting to focus on a plant-based diet?