Thursday, May 13, 2010

Five Everyday Items That May be Killing You


News last week that many popular perfumes and colognes contain chemicals that can trigger allergic reactions and disrupt hormones drew attention to the hidden potential danger posed by popular products. Here's a list of the five things you use every day that may be affecting your health.

Photo courtesy: amazon.com

1. Cellular phones

While studies have been claiming mobile phone use can lead to cancer and other neurological ailments for years, the evidence remains hazy. That said, cellular signals aren't the only way your phone can kill you. Phone calls made in the car, even when made hands free, are extremely dangerous. According to the U.S. National Safety Council, 28 per cent of all car accidents are related to phone use. Texting is even worse and is causing an epidemic of accidents amongst young drivers. The problem is beginning to attract celebrity attention, with Oprah waging a very public campaign to end the use of phones in cars. The death of a 9-year-old girl near the host's home, hit on her bike by a distracted driver, inspired Oprah to begin her "No Phone Zone" drive.

The daytime TV mogul says she sees the campaign as similar to that waged by Mothers Against Drunk Driving in an earlier era; hopefully using a mobile while driving will soon be viewed with the same scorn.

Photo courtesy: aromaterapia

2. Perfumes and Colognes

While scents have already been banned in many offices for the havoc they can wreak on sensitive snouts, a study released last week, revealed that hidden ingredients in many popular perfumes may pose hidden dangers. The report by Environmental Defence in Canada and the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics in the U.S. found many popular fragrances contain chemicals that can cause allergic reactions and disrupt hormones. Most disturbing, is that these chemicals were not listed on labels. The tests also turned up a large number of other substances that have yet to be reviewed by regulatory bodies. Industry spokesman Darren Praznik argues cosmetic makers are not required by law to list chemicals found in minuscule quantities and that none of the compounds noted by the study are on the list of prohibited ingredients maintained by Health Canada. Researchers warn to pay particular attention to avoiding products that smell like a rain forest or strawberries, as they likely contain lilial, a chemical that causes estrogen-like effects on the body.

Photo courtesy: mommyofmany

3. Cleaning Products

While improved household hygiene in the modern era has helped push life expectancies in the developed world toward triple digits, the products that have helped accomplish the feat pose dangers of their own. Many all-purpose cleaners contain ammonia, an irritant that can be fatal when swallowed and which can burn the skin and lungs. A popular antibacterial found in soap and toothpastes called triclosan is being investigated in the U.S. after an animal study found it may alter hormone regulation. Furthermore, according to the World Health Organization, the overuse of anti-bacterials and antibiotics poses a risk to public health by helping to breed drug-resistant strains of germs. And so called green products may not be much better. Montreal schools recently banned green cleaners because they contain enzymes linked to rhinitis, conjunctivitis, dermatitis and, most importantly, asthma. What is safe? Vinegar and water is recommended most as a safe and easy way to keep things clean at home.

Photo courtesy: Kitchen Mall

4. Non-stick cookware

While non-stick pans and pots may be cheap, convenient and easy to clean; they also pose an increased cancer risk. The chemicals PFOA (pentadecafluorooctanoic acid), PTFE (polytetrafluoroethylene), and PFOS (perfluorooctane sulfonate), all linked to cancer and hormone problems, are commonly found in the cookware. If you are going to use them, make sure to cook at a low to medium temperature to avoid the release of dangerous fumes - baking and broiling should be strictly avoided. So what should you cook with? Buy stainless steel, copper or cast iron pans and keep them clean using a paste made from flour, salt, water and vinegar.

Photo courtesy: yogabearblog

5. Plastic bottles

With giant plastic islands devastating life in both the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, there is no doubt that disposable bottles are a threat to life. Already, many countries ban the import and sale of baby bottles containing the chemical bisphenol A after studies in animals suggested the compound may be linked to obesity, infertility and insulin resistance. The substance, found in many hard plastics, is now being studied for adverse health effects in the United States. Furthermore, Both PVC (#3) and polystyrene(#6) plastics commonly used for drink containers have been linked to cancer and the disruption of hormones. Check out this list of seven commonly used plastics to discover which numbers are safe for use.

1 comment:

adopted said...

Why do environmentalists:

1. Worship the creation while ignoring the Creator?

2. Fight to "fix it" when evidence shows that humans are really good at ruining things despite history's constant stream of "going to fix it" people, and we need to look somewhere other than our 'good' hearts for a solution?

3. Worry more about global warming than nuclear war? The world is full of Hitlers and Stalins, the price of missiles and enriched plutonium just keeps going down. Is it not obvious that, short of God's intervention, our days are numbered by our foolish behavior with regards war... [not stinky Volkswagen pollution. as annoying as it is]?

I'm really curious about you all. Maybe I'll ask a few more questions later.

Regards,
Paul Jubenvill