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Toxins in Our Homes

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JUST TWO GENERATIONS AGO, cancer was a word hardly mentioned outside medical journals. And in those days, the environment and environmental issues weren’t even part of the common vocabulary.

The world has changed dramatically. Today, cancer is a regular topic of conversation, a subject for talk shows and everyday news.

Millions of people, their families touched by cancer, participate in fund-raising activities to raise money for cancer research. Much the same is true of environmental issues — thousands more people are aware of the need for action to protect the environment and many environmental organizations speak with an international voice. What hasn’t yet become an everyday issue is cancer prevention — and the close link that exists between our own health and the environment.

Chemical trespass
Over those same two generations, tens of thousands of new chemicals have come into use, in industry, in the workplace, in our homes. They’ve revolutionized industrial processes and changed the way we clean our homes. But many of those chemicals have also brought with them a variety of toxic effects to human health and the environment. Some have been shown to be carcinogens, substances that can cause cancer. Some have been shown to have toxic effects on reproduction, in humans and animals. Others may be endocrine disrupters, chemicals that affect the hormone producing organs of the body. At first the evidence was only circumstantial, demonstrated in the cancer rates that began to rise sharply in the 1960s and 1970s. But now there is well established science. In 1965, the UN’s World Health Organization established the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) to study the causes and prevention of cancer around the world. In its nearly 40 years of existence, IARC has established an authoritative list of carcinogens, based on the findings of worldwide research. Here are some current facts about toxins in our homes.

Excerpts from the brochure Lets Stop Poisoning our Children
•  Jason Whitley died after swallowing 3 oz of hair conditioner (contained ammonia)
•  Adrian Gonzales died after crawling through a puddle of spilled laundry bleach which gave him 3rd degree burns over 50% of his body and burned his lungs
•  Peter Schwab (one year old) died after crawling over to the dishwasher. He put a finger into the detergent dispenser cup and ate a fingerful of wet but undisolved Electrosol
•  But most poisonings happen slowly, over a long period of time, by daily exposure to toxins in the air and toxins we apply to our skin.
•  We think of toxins entering our body by eating but 92% of the toxins that enter our bodies come through our skin and breathing.
•  The average home today contains more chemicals than a typical chemistry lab 100 years ago
•  Window Cleaners, bleach, laundry detergent, dish detergent, shampoo and mouthwash can be lethal poisons
•  A report by the Consumer Product Safety Commission on chemicals commonly found in homes identified 150 chemicals that have been linked to allergies, birth defects, cancer and psychological abnormalities.
•  Women who work at home have a 54% higher death rate from cancer than women who work away from home
•  A 1985 ERA Report concluded that toxic chemicals in household cleaners are 3 times more likely to cause cancer than air pollution
•  In 1989 the National Institute of Occupational Safety analyzed 2983 chemicals used in personal care products. Of these 884 were found to be toxic
•  According to the EPA, most homes have air born concentrates of hazardous chemicals that are 2 to 5 times higher than outdoor air. One reason is that cleaning products and some personal care products release toxic vapours when they are used and even when they are still in the store. This process is called “outgassing”. When you walk down the aisle of your super market in the cleaning products section, you can smell something different even though the products are tightly sealed.
•  The Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Dr. Stephen Redd reports that female asthma rates have gone up 105% for females in the last 15 years versus 41% for males. Household cleaners are beginning to be recognized as the cause.
•  The toxic effect is increased on children who spend 12 to 20 hours/day in their homes and are more vulnerable because of their higher metabolic rate. They breathe in 2 to 3 times as much air relative to body size as adults. In addition, children play close to the floor where heavier pollutants lie.
•  Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) has a higher incidence in winter time when windows are left closed

Excerpts from the pamphlet Please protect yourself from house hold toxins - Debra Lynn Dodd
•  At greatest risk are fetuses, children, the elderly and those who are already ill
•  Our cleaning products don’t just affect our homes. When we use or dispose of them, they effect the environment
•  Millions of tons of phosphates enter our sewer systems from our detergent
•  The California Dept of Fish and Wildlife tested their waterways and found the most toxic to aquatic organisms were household cleaners, laundry detergents and dish detergent. They were more harmful to aquatic life than other household products such as paint or car wax.
•  Many leading brands of household laundry detergents contain trisodium nitrilotriacetate which is a carcinogen and environmental pollutant
•  Several leading perfumes, nail polishes and other cosmetics contain endocrine disrupting phthalates DPB and DEHP - both banned for use in cosmetics in European countries

The “Safe Shoppers Bible” lists 40 products that have carcinogens or neurotoxins:
•  Tilex, Windex, Glass Plus, Fantastic, Ajax, Pine Sol, Drano, Spic and Span, Scott’s Liquid Gold, Murphy’s Oil Soap, Old English Polish, Pledge Lemon, Formby’s Lemon Oil, Spray ‘N Wash, Shout Aerosol, Lysol Disinfectant, Colgate Fluoride Toothpaste, Crest toothpaste, Ultra Brite toothpaste, Ban Roll-On, Secret Antiperspirant, Vaseline Intensive Care, Edge Shave Gel, Maybeline Ultra Brow, Almay Under Eye Crème, L’Oreal Plentitude, Lubriderm lotion, Tegrin Dandruff shampoo, Neutrogena Shampoo
•  and you wouldn't know because there is no requirement to include the ingredients on the package

The Not Too Pretty (Poisoned Cosmetics) Association at www.NotTooPretty.org studied 72 beauty products and found 52 of the products (see below) contained Phthalates (pronounced "thalates"). Major loopholes in federal law allow the $20-billion-a-year cosmetics industry to put unlimited amounts of phthalates into many personal care products with no required testing, no required monitoring of health effects, and no required labeling. About 1 billion pounds of phthalates are produced each year world wide. Phthalates are linked to contaminating breast milk and causing birth deformities, damage to the kidneys, liver, lungs and reproductive organs.
HAIRSPRAY: Aqua Net Professional Hair Spray, Herbal Essences Non Aerosol Hairspray, Jheri Redding, Finishers Flexible Hold Hairspray, Pantene Pro V Strong Hold Spray, Pantene Pro V Stronghold Healthy, Hold Spray, Rave 4x Mega, Redken Cat Finishing Spritz, Salon Selectives Hold Tight Style Freeze, Maximum Hold Finishing Spray, Sebastian Collection Shaper Plus, Suave Maximum Hold Hairspray, Unscented, non-aerosol Suave Naturals Extra Flexible Hold, Non Aerosol Hairspray Freesia, TRESemme European Freeze-Hold Hair Spray, VO5 Crystal Clear 14 Hour Hold, Vidal Sassoon Microfine Mist Hair Spray
DEODORANTS: Arrid Extra Extra Dry Maximum Strength Solid, Arrid Extra Extra Dry Ultra Clear Ultra Clean Spray, Arrid Extra Extra Dry Ultra Clear Ultra Fresh Spray, Ban Delicate Powder Roll On, Degree Original Solid Anti-Perspirant & Deodorant, Dove Solid Anti-Perspirant Deodorant, Secret Sheer Dry Regular, Secret: Powder Fresh Aerosol, Sure Clear Dry Anti-Perspirant & Deodorant
FRAGRANCES: Calgon Hawaiian Ginger Body Mist, Calgon Turquoise Seas Body Lotion, Charlie Cologne Spray, Escape by Calvin Klein, Eternity by Calvin Klein, Fire & Ice Cologne Spray, Freedom, Jovan White Musk, Lancome Paris Tresor, Liz Claiborne Eau De Toilette Spray, Oscar, Parfums de Coeur, White Tahitian Ginger Fantasy, Poison by Christian Dior, Red Door, The Healing Garden Pure Joy Body Treatment, White Diamonds Elizabeth Taylor, Wind Song Extraordinary Cologne by Prince Matchabelli
HAIR GEL: Clairol Herbal Essences Natural Volume Body Boosting Gel, Dep Level 4 Shine Gel, LA Looks Styling Gel: Extra Super Hold, Suave Naturals Ocean Breeze Extra Control Spray Gel, TRESemme European Slick Melting Gel, Pantene Pro V Spray Gel Volumizing Root Lifter
HAIR MOUSSE: Aussie Megahold Mousse, Clairol Herbal Essences Styling Mousse Maximum Hold, Helene Curtis Salon Selectives Rise Up Volumizing Mousse, Pantene Pro V Mousse Body Builder
NAIL POLISH: Avon beComing Radiant Long Last Nail Gloss, Cover Girl NailSlicks, Maybelline Express, Finish Fast-Dry Nail Enamel, Maybelline Ultimate Wear Nail Enamel, Naturistics Super Shine Nail Gloss, Oil of Olay Nail Laquer, OPI Nail Laquer, Orly Salon Nails French Manicure, Orly Salon Nails Nail Color, Sally Hansen Chrome Nail Makeup, Sally Hansen Hard as Nails Nail Polish, Sally Hansen Hard as Nails With Nylon Nail Polish, Sally Hansen Teflon Tuff Nail Color, Tropez Nail Enamel, Wet N Wild Crystalic Calcium Enriched Nail Color, Wet N Wild Nail Color
HAND AND BODY LOTION: Jergens Skincare Original Scent Lotion, Nivea Creme

The Less Toxic Guide from the Environmental Health Association of Nova Scoitia at www.lesstoxicguide.ca looked at: Common Hazardous Ingredients in Personal Care Products including:
Eye and Face Make-up, Blush, Concealer, Eyeliner, Eye Shadow, Face Powder, Foundation, Lipstick, Make-up Remover, Mascara, Mouthwash, Toothpaste, Hair Conditioner, Hair Colouring (Permanent), Hair Relaxers and Straighteners, Hair Styling, Permanent Waves, Shampoo, Nail Products, Skin Products, Bath Products, Skin Cleanser, Deodorant and Antiperspirant, Facial Scrubs, Lip Gloss/Balm/Protector, Moisturizers, Shaving Products and found that many of these products contained:
Carcinogens: coal tar colours, phenylenediamine, BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole), lead, cobalt, nickel, chromium, arsenic, formaldehyde, ammonia, polyurethane, ammonia, phenylenediamine, palmidate-O
toluene, naphthalene
Hormone Disrupters: DEA (diethanalamine), MEA (monoethanolamine), BBP (butyl benzyl phthalate), DEP (diethyl phthalate), DEHP (diethylhexyl phthalate), DINP (diisononyl phthalate).

A study by the Harvard School of Public Health and the University of Athens Medical Schools suggested that women who use hair dyes five or more times a year have twice the risk of developing ovarian cancer. Most permanent hair dyes contain potential irritants and carcinogens like formaldehyde and ammonia. Petroleum-based coal tar derivatives and phenylenediamine cause cancer. Products containing phenylenediamine can cause blindness if the solution drips into eyes.

Dr. Samuel Epstein, chairman, Cancer Prevention Coalition, says the use of hair dye places women at increased risk of certain cancers, especially leukemia, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, multiple myeloma and Hodgkin’s disease. He states there is strong evidence that the use of hair colouring products accounts for up to 20 percent of all non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma cases in U.S. women, and that there is suggestive evidence these products increase breast cancer risk. Dark and black colours are particularly toxic.

offers a complete line of non toxic, safe, environmentally friendly products for home cleaning, bath and beauty. This is the result of millions of dollars in research based on natural ingredients and enzymes that do the job just as well and usually much cheaper than products you would find in your grocery, drug or department store. Why take a chance on products with toxic ingredients when you have safe, non toxic alternatives.

Quotable Quote: "Every truth passes through three stages before it is recognized. In the first, it is ridiculed. In the second, it is opposed. In the third, it is regarded as self evident." -Schopenhauer