Wednesday, June 23, 2010

President's Cancer Panel Recommendations

Happy Wednesday!

I am postponing Whole Grains 103: The Oats and instead wanted to post a link for you!

A group was pulled together to research on cancer, and potential causes. The President's Cancer Panel recently released their research compilation, and it is a doozie of a report! I have not read through the entire thing yet - it's 240 pages! But at the end, they mention some of their top recommendations to limiting your exposure to toxins and other ways of decreasing your risk for cancer.

You can find the report in its entirety here, but I just wanted to hit their bullet points - and take them for what you will. There are two sides to every argument (and we ARE looking at Politics stuff here!) ;-) , so decide for yourself what sounds and feels right, and research more in to anything that you want to know more about! :) (Or let me know, and I can rustle through some of my sources and let you know what I think!)

They begin with an introduction that states "With nearly 80,000 chemicals on the market in the United States, many of which are used by millions of Americans in their daily lives and are un- or understudied and largely unregulated, exposure to potential environmental carcinogens is widespread... While BPA has received considerable media coverage, the public remains unaware of many common environmental carcinogens such as naturally occurring radon and manufacturing and combustion by-products such as formaldehyde and benzene."

Yikes!! 80,000 checmicals!!! And minimal research!! It's so easy to feel like the way we live is the way its "always" been - we forget that all this crazy new technology, new materials, revamped and processed foods are really NEW to the human body! Yes, the body is an amazing creation, with awesome powers to heal itself... but let's not bombard our poor temples, shall we?!

I bold some of what they wrote in order to emphasize things I found to be key, and I add some of my own thoughts in parentheses! Happy reading, and take some steps to protect yourself! I would LOVE to read the entire report, and get back to you on what the Panel has to say about causes (cell phones are in there!!!) so hopefully I can find time to read this (among all the other millions of things I'm trying to read and study!)

Starting on page 112, here's what the report says:
...individuals can take important steps in their own lives to reduce their exposure to environmental elements that increase risk for cancer and other diseases. And collectively, individual small actions can drastically reduce the number and levels of environmental contaminants.

1. It is vitally important to recognize that children are far more susceptible to damage from environmental carcinogens and endocrine-disrupting compounds than adults. To the extent possible, parents and child care providers should choose foods, house and garden products, play spaces, toys, medicines, and medical tests that will minimize children’s exposure to toxics. Ideally, both mothers and fathers should avoid exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals and known or suspected carcinogens prior to a child’s conception and throughout pregnancy and early life, when risk of damage is greatest.

2. Individuals and families have many opportunities to reduce or eliminate chemical exposures. For example:
  • Family exposure to numerous occupational chemicals can be reduced by removing shoes before entering the home and washing work clothes separately from the other family laundry. (plus, taking off shoes is helpful for keeping your carpet in good shape - and lets your feet stretch and breathe, like they were made to do!)

  • Filtering home tap or well water can decrease exposure to numerous known or suspected carcinogens and endocrine-disrupting chemicals. Unless the home water source is known to be contaminated, it is preferable to use filtered tap water instead of commercially bottled water.

  • Storing and carrying water in stainless steel, glass, or BPA- and phthalate-free containers will reduce exposure to endocrine-disrupting and other chemicals that may leach into water from plastics. This action also will decrease the need for plastic bottles, the manufacture of which produces toxic by-products, and reduce the need to dispose of and recycle plastic bottles. Similarly, microwaving food and beverages in ceramic or glass instead of plastic containers will reduce exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals that may leach into food when containers are heated.

  • Exposure to pesticides can be decreased by choosing, to the extent possible, food grown without pesticides or chemical fertilizers and washing conventionally grown produce to remove residues (Yay organics!! Though watch out - Big Organic may not be quite as good as we hope. Try to do what local shopping you can! Recently genetically modified alfalfa seeds of Monsanto's were permitting to be labeled "Organic." Grrr... don't get me started on that one!) Similarly, exposure to antibiotics, growth hormones, and toxic run-off from livestock feed lots can be minimized by eating free-range meat raised without these medications if it is available. Avoiding or minimizing consumption of processed, charred, and well-done meats will reduce exposure to carcinogenic heterocyclic amines and polyaromatic hydrocarbons (siiigh, sorry all - be careful with that grill this summer season! That char is being linked more and more to possible cancerous effects. So, at least side your grilled foods with a nice big salad or green smoothie, or other big source of veggies to give you a big natural dose of antioxidants, too!)

  • Individuals can consult information sources such as the Household Products Database to help them make informed decisions about the products they buy and use.

  • Properly disposing of pharmaceuticals, household chemicals, paints, and other materials will minimize drinking water and soil contamination. Individuals also can choose products made with non-toxic substances or environmentally safe chemicals. Similarly, reducing or ceasing landscaping pesticide and fertilizer use will help keep these chemicals from contaminating drinking water supplies.

  • Turning off lights and electrical devices when not in use reduces exposure to petroleum combustion by-products because doing so reduces the need for electricity, much of which is generated using fossil fuels. Driving a fuel-efficient car, biking or walking when possible, or using public transportation also cuts the amount of toxic auto exhaust in the air.

  • Individuals can reduce or eliminate exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke in the home, auto, and public places. Most counseling and medications to help smokers quit are covered by health insurance or available at little or no cost. (Don't you just looooove walking outside in the beauty of nature, only to suddenly pause and, *sniff, sniff* is that someone SMOKING outside!? Mixing their toxins with my FRESH AIR?!)

3. Adults and children can reduce their exposure to electromagnetic energy by wearing a headset when using a cell phone, texting instead of calling, and keeping calls brief. (And make sure it's a wired headset! No use getting a cool Blue Tooth or other wireless set - you're STILL just pumping that energy to the side of your head!)

4. It is advisable to periodically check home radon levels. Home buyers should conduct a radon test in any home they are considering purchasing.

5. To reduce exposure to radiation from medical sources, patients should discuss with their health care providers the need for medical tests or procedures that involve radiation exposure. Key considerations include personal history of radiation exposure, the expected benefit of the test, and alternative ways of obtaining the same information. In addition, to help limit cumulative medical radiation exposure, individuals can create a record of all imaging or nuclear medicine tests received and, if known, the estimated radiation dose for each test.

6. Adults and children can avoid overexposure to ultraviolet light by wearing protective clothing and sunscreens when outdoors and avoiding exposure when the sunlight is most intense. (Hmmm, they neglected to talk about the TYPES of sunscreen - so many are rich in chemicals and potential toxin dangers! So, check my earlier post on Natural Sun Protection, or at least the safer versions to buy!)

7. Each person can become an active voice in his or her community. To a greater extent than many realize, individuals have the power to affect public policy by letting policymakers know that they strongly support environmental cancer research and measures that will reduce or remove from the environment toxics that are known or suspected carcinogens or endocrine-disrupting chemicals. Individuals also can influence industry by selecting non-toxic products and, where these do not exist, communicating with manufacturers and trade organizations about their desire for safer products (You vote with your credit card, too. The more you buy healthier options, the more the stores realize they need to keep stock! Your voice DOES matter. So let your cash be heard!) :)
So I hope you enjoyed all those recommendations :) I know a lot of them are things I already try to do, but it's nice to know that there is support and that I'm not a total "quack" for thinking the way I do! Have a wonderful week!



  1. interesting quite informative. Thanks Kate

  2. Thanks for checking it out, John! There's a lot of crazy stuff out there that is so unknown. I hope you're taking some steps to protect yourself! (Not too many Choco-bomb sundaes, riiiight?) ;-)