Friday, March 20, 2009

By Melissa Breyer, Senior Editor, Care2
Given poor government regulation, many of the cleaning products available on the market contain “everyday” carcinogens such as formaldehyde, nitrobenzene, methylene chloride, and napthelene, as well as reproductive toxins and hormone disruptors. Not to mention other ingredients that cause liver, kidney and brain damage, allergies and asthma. I really am a happy person–not your basic Eeyore type, but toxic cleaning products seriously get my goat. One of the best things you can do to detox your home is to create one of Annie’s simple non-toxic cleaning kits to use–most of the ingredients you probably already have on hand.

But there are a host of products, other than those used for basic cleaning, that often contain carcinogenics. This list, from Cancer: 101 Solutions to a Preventable Epidemic (New Society Publishers, 2007) by Liz Armstrong et al, cautions against 10 household products, in addition to cleaners, that you should avoid having in your house.

1. Air fresheners: Often contain napthelene and formaldehyde. Try zeolite or natural fragrances from essential oils.
2. Art supplies: Epoxy and rubber cement glues, acrylic paints and solvents, and permanent markers often contain carcinogens.

3. Automotive supplies: Most are toxic. Keep them safely away from the house and dispose of at a hazardous waste disposal center.
4. Candles: Avoid artificially scented paraffin candles that produce combustion by-products, including soot. Beeswax only, with cotton wicks.
5. Carpet and upholstery shampoos: Use only wet-clean, natural ingredients.

6. Dry-cleaning: Choose clothes that don’t need perchlorethylene to clean them. Ask for the wet-cleaning option at you local cleaners, or seek dry-cleaners that use liquid C02 or citrus juice cleaners.

7. Flea, tick and lice control: Avoid lindane-based pesticides.
8. Paints and varnishes: Always chose low- or no-VOC finishes.
9. Household pesticides: Go natural.
10. Microwaves: Never microwave or heat food in a plastic container.

I know this list sounds daunting, but there are small changes we can make now to prevent the growth of cancer cells! Remember, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Bottoms Up!

Just this year, the world's second biggest pharmaceutical company, GlaxoSmithKline, paid $720 million to buy Sirtris Pharmaceuticals Inc., a company that is developing drugs that mimic the effects of resveratrol. What then is so special about resveratrol?

Twenty years ago, a remarkable group of naturally occurring compounds known as phytoalexins was discovered. Phytoalexins are natural antibiotics that are produced by plants that are under attack by bacteria or fungi, and are capable of killing or inactivating the invading organism with amazing efficiency. They therefore function as orchestrators of a kind of biochemical immune system within the plant kingdom: as part of the response to bacterial or fungal invasion, infected plants release hormones that can prompt as yet uninfected neighboring plants to begin producing phytoalexins of their own as a sort of proactive defense.

The ability of phytoalexins to inhibit cell division and to arrest the growth of invading organisms quickly caught the attention of cancer researchers. One phytoalexin in particular, resveratrol, has become the focus of a great deal of research attention. Resveratrol, a phytoalexin found in the skin of red grapes (that's how it finds its way into red wine), has been shown to possess marked anti-cancer activity in addition to a wide range of other beneficial physiological effects, including the capacity to lower blood sugar, and an ability to extend the lifespan of certain experimental animals.

Because of its association with red grapes and red wine, it has been suggested that resveratrol may be the "magic ingredient" responsible for the fact that people who regularly drink modest amounts of red wine tend to have a lower incidence of cardiovascular disease - the so-called "French Paradox."

Resveratrol exhibits an anti-inflammatory effect. It is a potent antioxidant, inhibiting free radical formation and preventing genetic mutations that can lead to tumor formation. Together, its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and anti-mutagenic properties, coupled with the fact that it has a very low toxicity, make it highly promising as a potential weapon against cancer.

I am not suggesting that teetotalers take up the alcohol habit in order to avail themselves of the benefits of this compound. Alcohol has too many potential downsides, including the possibility of addiction, to recommend it. But, if you are an adult in reasonably good health and already drink wine, then may I suggest that you cultivate a taste for Pinot Noir (the wine that was celebrated in the movie, Sideways.) That way, you will not only enjoy yourself but get a more-than-usual dose of resveratrol.

(N.B. Those who prefer to get their resveratrol without the accompanying alcohol can purchase resveratrol capsules that will provide an equivalent benefit.)

Friday, March 6, 2009

Here is the web address for the Environmental Working Group. This is a really comprehensive web site that has a ton of information from smart shopping guides to new legislation on toxins and other health and environmental issues! I realize that it would be impossible to completely iradicate toxic chemicals from our lives... but if we can save one child, one family, the pain of a serious illness by making efforts to remove ONE component of toxic invasion from our "habitat," isn't that enough?

Thursday, March 5, 2009

For Our Children

I just watched this amazing video... it actually made me cry. Please, for you and your children, and for anyone you know who has or might have children in the future, PLEASE WATCH this video!

Monday, March 2, 2009


At our church we have a time for members to share their "joys and sorrows" with their church family. During this time, two different people shared that they had a friend or relative recently diagnosed with cancer... and these were children. One high school aged youth and one even younger. It truly brought a sense of sadness to everyone sitting there yesterday morning.

It turned my mind to all of the things I know about the causes of cancer... espeically how 80% of cancer cases are linked to environmental factors! Sure, we all know about the second-hand smoke, exposure to asbestos, etc. But we are not always thinking about the every day things we do to keep ourselves and our families "safe and healthy" that may actually be weakening our defenses against such a deadly diagnosis.

My friend Judy has a history of breast cancer in her family. Her mother and aunt both died of breast cancer. So when her doctor told her that it was amost positive that she would follow the same path, that she should just watch and wait and continue to come in for checkups, she wasn't satisfied. She wanted to be pro-active about this... wasn't there any way she could prevent the cancer from invading her body?

She went through extensive testing at the University of Michigan Hospital's Breast Cancer division. When she was finally through, she asked her specialist "What can I do RIGHT NOW, when I go home, to try to change my fate?" Her response was, "Go home and throw away every cleaner in your house. Throw away most of your personal care products, too." Although it wasn't going to change her genetics, it would relieve the constant attack on her immune system. That way her defenses would be healthy and ready to combat the cancer if it ever arrived... not to mention many of those cleaners contain possible carcinogens themselves.

It has been over a decade since Judy stripped her home of toxins, and started on a suppliment regime, and she has been cancer-free and healthier than she has ever been. Her children haven't been to the doctor for any kind of illness in six years, have never needed an antibiotic, and most importanty, Judy herself is there for her children.

Just thought I would pass this along for ALL of you, but especially for those who have cancer in the family.

I urge you all to google search "cancer and home toxins" and I'm sure you will find an abundance of information to support these statements.

Be Well,