Monday, January 9, 2012

Cancer threats lurking in our homes

A friend of ours, Mark--who recently received treatment for a brain tumor--posted this on Facebook: "The Top 12 Cancer-Causing Products in the Average Home." Full disclosure: the article is on a laundry ball's web site (an alternative to laundry detergent with toxic chemicals). Mark is convinced that he got cancer because of environmental factors. It's sure made me reconsider some of our family's choices!

We need to begin exploring alternatives to these products in our home:

Hot dogs, corn dogs, and smoked and deli meats: Recently we've become lax in allowing Nicholas--in particular--to eat hot dogs. He loves them, and he is notoriously picky. However, I was alarmed to see that "three different studies have come out in the past year, finding that the consumption of hot dogs can be a risk factor for childhood cancer." Nitrite and nitrate are metabolized in your body to form nitrosamines, known carcinogens. Furthermore, all cured meats have nitrites, including bacon and smoked foods. Nicholas also likes eating deli turkey meat, another possible source of nitrates and nitrites. Maybe we need to start buying our own turkey breast and roasting it ourselves...and looking for nitrate- and nitrite-free meats or veggie alternatives.

Toothpaste: possibly carcinogenic? It's the food dyes and saccharin (in toothpaste?). Looks like I need to begin examining our other beauty and health products a lot more carefully, too (e.g., shampoo). And now I'm wondering if I should have my hair colored again. Should I expose myself to chemicals for the sake of vanity?

Cleaning products: Makes me want to go on a clean alternatives kick. This stuff can be nasty, including Lysol. I want to make my own cleaning solution from Tea Tree Oil, which has been shown to have antiseptic properties. Trader Joe's sells a natural cleaning spray that I like, but it would be less expensive to make my own.

We already purchase organic milk and have been doing so since we started having kids, but it makes me think about all the people out there who cannot afford to do so.
Laundry detergents: This was news to me...and I find it worrying. Not only are nearly all laundry detergents (even those labeled as green) filled with toxic ingredients, but we go around all day wearing them on our bodies. And think about the little babies and how often their clothes are washed! We have a big container of Costco laundry detergent to get through, but when it's gone I'm thinking about making my own.

Talcum or baby powder, which I've never really used, is also on the list.

We already purchase buy a lot of organic foods, but it's another depressing reminder of the power of big business and lack of consumer advocacy out there. With several friends and family members who are battling or have battled cancer, it's worth considering how to clean up our homes and our habits as much as we can.


  1. Hot dogs - I have seen nitrate-free ones in the freezer section of my local health food store.

    Lunch meat - Maybe take a look at Hormel Naturals...they have an oven roasted turkey breast that looks better than the others. It is in a brown cardboard-colored package.

  2. Thanks for the tips...I will look!