The researchers were assembled by the nongovernmental organization (NGO) "Getting to Know Cancer" to tackle longstanding theories and concerns over the relationship between combinations of commonly encountered chemicals and the development of cancer. Their findings were published in a special issue of the peer-reviewed journal, Carcinogenesis (23 June 2015).
"We found definite evidence that chemicals that are unavoidable in the environment can produce a wide range of low-dose effects that are directly related to carcinogenesis. So the way we've been testing chemical safety is really quite out-of-date," said William Goodson III, a senior scientist at the California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco. "Every day we are exposed to an environmental 'chemical soup' and we need testing to evaluate the effects of our ongoing exposure to the mixtures in this soup,” in report released in PR Newswire.
According to current estimates researchers found that approximately one in five cancers may be due to chemical exposures in the environment that are not related to personal lifestyle choices. Additionally they conclude that the effects of exposures to mixtures of commonly encountered chemicals need to be better understood if we hope to reduce the frequency of cancer.
The full study can be found here.
"This is an area that merits considerable attention and where interdisciplinary and international collaboration is needed," said David Carpenter, director of the Institute for Health and the Environment of the University at Albany (a World Health Organization Collaborating Centre) and a project contributor in PR Newswire.
"The science in this field is changing rapidly. Although we know a lot about the individual effects of chemicals, we know very little about the combined and additive effects of the many chemicals that we encounter every day in the air, in our water, and in our food."
Are there alternatives to chemicals?
Cleaning solutions are one of the offenders made with toxic chemicals. There are natural alternations available and some have been used for many years. The website Real Simple has assembled an extensive list of natural chemicals.
The acid in lemon juice removes dirt and rust stains. It’s especially effective when mixed with salt, which makes “an excellent scouring paste,” says Karyn Siegel-Maier, author of The Naturally Clean Home.
Some essential plant oils can kill bacteria and mold. Extracted from plants they are very strong, so you don’t need very much: One drop of peppermint oil is as potent as 30 cups of peppermint tea. Orange and lemon oil are also effective cleaners. Two ounces of water and 10 drops lavender or lemongrass oil to wipe grime off windows. Bonus: These oils could be mild repellent for flies.
Castile soap is a fine, hard white or mottled soap made with olive oil and sodium hydroxide. It was developed as soap by the Romans in the first century. It can be used for everything from washing cars to scrubbing floors, tile, marble counter tops, sinks, showers etc.
Borax has been used for years. When added to a laundry wash, borax makes detergents even more effective. It’s also “quite alkaline, so it kills mold and fungus and softens water,” says Robert Wolke, Ph.D., author of What Einstein Told His Cook: Kitchen Science Explained.
Organic cosmetic labeling by USDA too strict for some companies
Making the change to all natural cosmetics might be a bit more difficult because of the wide range of products that include strictly beautifying cosmetic make up to skin applications that claim to slow aging. The allure or promise by cosmetic companies to have the “fountain of youth” in their products maintains a loyal customer base. Also the eligibility for “organic” labeling is strict.
Organic cosmetic labeling got a boost a few years ago from the nation’s largest natural products retailer: Whole Foods Market. In June 2010, Whole Foods Market announced that starting June 2011 all personal care and cosmetics product labels making an “organic” claim must be certified by the USDA NOP and all labels with the “made with organic ingredients” statement be certified by the NSF. As part of an effort to crack down on fraudulent organic label claims, Whole Foods will not sell cosmetics or personal care products with labels that say “organic” unless they have the USDA Organic seal or the NSF Personal Care seal, according to Quicklable.com.
Cosmetics are eligible to receive the USDA Organic label seal under the National Organic Program (NOP), but the guidelines for this are extremely strict: a minimum of 95% of ingredients must be certified organic. Strict certification requirements that generally follow NOP standards such as: organic ingredients, materials, and production processes must be met. This is the same standard applied to organic foods, but it is considered very difficult to meet by personal care manufacturers, they said.
Natural Cosmetics Labels and Personal Care Labels
There are alternatives not certified organic but claim to be made of better for you ingredients—they don’t say “safer.” If you see the word “natural,” it’s made of renewable sources found in nature, but product does not contain petroleum products. Natural Standard for Personal Care Products, is a voluntary certification created by the Natural Products Association (NPA) back in 2008.
A personal care product labeled “natural” along with a Natural Products Association (NPA) official seal it ensures the product is made with at least 95% all natural ingredients, ingredients that are all approved by the NPA. The following is the criteria for NPA Natural Personal Care Products:
§ Natural – any product labeled as “natural” should be made of natural ingredients (95%) and must be processed appropriately in order to keep its natural purity.
§ Safety – “natural” labeled products must avoid ingredients that pose any human health risk.
§ Responsibility – “natural” products should not be tested on animals
§ Sustainability – biodegradable ingredients and eco-friendly packaging should be used for “natural” labeled products.
Searching out natural and safe alternative solutions to reduce the risk of exposure to carcinogens might seem daunting at first. But once the change to using Castile soap or lemon juice as a cleaning agent, it can become habitual. The same applies to cosmetics, although I do admit letting go of some favorite cosmetics might be more difficult.
One company called 100% Pure claim to be the purest cosmetics in the world and all their cosmetics use fruit for pigmentation.
If the change to naturals is done incrementally, it’s not as shocking or challenging to the rituals we have developed around the use of daily chemicals. And the payoff is a healthy non-toxic living environment. I am going to start with using Castile soap for floors and lavender and lemongrass oil for cleaning windows and shower doors. What small change can you make?
is retired and lives in Clearlake, California. She has three grown
children and one grandson and a Bachelor’s degree in Health Services
Administration from St. Mary’s College in Moraga California. On the
home front Dava enjoys time with her family, reading, gardening, cooking
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