Contributing Monkie Sarah Backhouse
Published on August 15, 2008
When I came across “The Five Carcinogens That Lurk in Your Home” article while browsing Men’s Health Magazine, I must admit I was not happy. I usually avoid these types of stories like the plague. It’s never reassuring to find out that an aspect of your domestic routine (and one that’s existed for years) is not only unhealthy but downright dangerous. However in this case, ignorance is not bliss. It’s cancer. And cancer can come in many forms, as the article says: “sometimes it looks like a cigarette, other times sunburn. And then there are the times when you’re face-to-face with it and don’t even know it”. Scary stuff.
In order to “unmask the monster”, Men’s Health asked Bill Jameson Ph.D, a researcher with the National Toxicology Program, to point out some hidden dangers in our homes. Here are the top five nasties to avoid at all costs.
Sawdust: Who would have thought sawdust from the garage workbench was carcinogenic? Apparently it can invade your nostrils and cause nasal cancer. No joke. Avoid it by wearing a dust mask or buying a sander with a bag. I hope tightrope walkers, bearded ladies and other circus workers are aware of the potential risks.
Di (2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP): The name should give you a hint that this stuff isn’t good for you. Found in PVC pipes and in plastic wrapped food, DEHP can cause liver cancer and “shrunken testicles in rats”. Stay away from supermarket prepared meats wrapped in plastic and, where possible, choose tin foil over saran wrap.
Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA): Okay this is one of those ones that sends your heart racing. I’m sure many of us have nonstick pans and saucepans in our kitchen cabinets. Although some retail stores offer low-toxic versions, I’m no longer going to take any chances. What makes more sense to you? Ease of cleaning or liver cancer? Thought so. Cook with pans coated in olive oil instead.
Heterocyclic amines (HCA): These occur when “meat is cooked over high heat and charred” — so, I guess that’s just about every American BBQ? Although “grilled” is often touted as low fat healthy way of eating, “charred” increases the risk of “liver, colon, and stomach cancers”. An easy way to avoid this is to cut meat from your diet altogether.
Arsenic: Arsenic is carcinogenic? No way! Okay, we’ve all read enough Russian spy novels to know that arsenic is a killer. It elevates the risk of “liver, kidney, and bladder cancers”. But frighteningly it’s an ingredient in some pesticides and in “pre-2004 pressure-treated lumber”. Who would’ve thought — lumber can be poisonous! So, be safe and opt for natural pesticides and seal outdoor decks.
Remember, knowledge is power. And in this case it might just save your life.
(via Men’s Health)