When we talk about things environmental, we think of air and water. And when we talk about environmental carcinogens, we think of man-made toxic chemicals in the things that we eat and drink and the air we breathe. This way of thinking is basically right. But there is more to environmental carcinogens than what many people are aware of. Let us take a look.
Carcinogens in body care products
You don’t have to eat carcinogens to get exposed to them.
What you might not know: Carcinogens may also be present in the soap and shampoo, in your household cleaning liquids. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has prepared a safety guide to body care products called Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database.
What you might not know: Lots of these chemicals are found in significant amounts in natural waters that could potentially contaminate our drinking water. Phthalates, triclosan and bisphenol A (BPA) are just 3 examples of chemicals identified.
Carcinogens in the air
Ok, so everybody knows that smoking can kill you. Smoking is associated mainly with lung cancer but also increase in risk for other cancers including breast, prostate, and neck cancers.
What you might not know: You don’t have to be a smoker to get lung cancer. Passive or secondhand smokers can get lung cancer, too. Exposure to asbestos, an industrial chemical can also cause lung cancer.
What you might not know: And finally, carcinogens need not be dirty, stinky, or man-made. Radon is an odorless, colorless naturally-occurring gas that causes most of the lung cancer cases among non-smokers.
Carcinogens in your food
Organic food is becoming popular. The American Cancer Society advocates the use of organic food to avoid taking in pesticides, preservatives, and other food additives. The EWG regularly tests fresh produce for pesticides and releases their so-called Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 lists.
What you might not know: Carcinogens may not be in the food itself. It might be in the food packaging (e.g. bisphenol A). It might be in your teflon cookware. It might be in your granite countertops (e.g. radon and uranium.
Carcinogens and electromagnetic field
Still a hotly debated topic is whether the use of mobile phones causes cancer or not. But phone manufacturers are developing phones that emit less and less radiation. The EWG has just released its 2010 Cell Phone Radiation Report.
What you might not know: The cancer threat is not only coming from your handset, but also from phone masts and antennas.