I just read about a new study that came out recently which found certain chemicals that are common in everyday life have been shown to cause breast cancer in lab rats and are likely to do the same in women. The paper in the peer-reviewed journal Environmental Health Perspectives lists 17 chemicals to avoid and offers women advice on how to minimize their exposure.
The chemicals the researchers identified are found in gasoline, diesel and other vehicle exhaust, flame retardants, stain-resistant textiles, paint removers, and disinfection byproducts in drinking water.Gasoline and chemicals formed by combustion (for example, benzene and butadiene) are among the largest sources of mammary carcinogens in the environment, according to the researchers. Exposure comes from vehicles, lawn equipment, tobacco smoke, and charred or burned food. Other mammary carcinogens include solvents, such as methylene chloride and other halogenated organic solvents used in spot removers, specialty cleaners, and industrial degreasers; pharmaceutical hormones such as hormone replacement therapy; certain flame retardants; a chemical used in stain-resistant textiles and nonstick coatings; and styrene, which is in tobacco smoke and is also used to make Styrofoam. Drinking water can contain mammary carcinogens, such as byproducts of disinfection or solvents that are common well water contaminants
The study also recommends seven ways for women to avoid these chemicals:
- Limit exposure to exhaust from vehicles or generators, don’t idle your car, and use electric lawn mowers, leaf blowers and weed whackers instead of gas-powered ones.- Use a ventilation fan while cooking and limit how much burned or charred food you eat.
- Do not buy furniture with polyurethane foam, or ask for furniture that has not been treated with flame retardants.
- Avoid stain-resistant rugs, furniture and fabrics.
- If you use a dry-cleaner, find one who does not use PERC (perchloroethylene) or other solvents. Ask for “wet cleaning.”
- Use a solid carbon block drinking water filter.
- Keep chemicals out of the house by taking off your shoes at the door, using a vacuum with a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter, and cleaning with wet rags and mops.
Why I am blogging about this? This doesn’t just affect me, it affects millions of women – including my daughter. Educating myself and others to reduce chemical exposures could save many, many women’s lives.