Friday, August 26, 2011

What Can I Do? Everything Causes Cancer!

The Green Guide Institute and other organizations focus on delivering information that we need to make the right decisions to protect the health of our family members and the environment.

Consider these facts:

Breast cancer and prostate cancer rates in this country have risen dramatically over the past two decades. The rates of childhood cancer have been climbing as well.

Sperm counts for men in some developed countries are down 50% over the past 50 years.

During that same time period, testicular cancer rates have more than doubled. It's now the most common form of cancer among young men in the USA.

Question: While we're waiting for the scientists to sort through the evidence, what can we do now to protect ourselves and our children?

An international hunt for the chemical culprits is now zeroing in on a family of artificial chemicals, used in a vast array of products, that all share one trait —they interfere with the behavior of the sex hormones estrogen and testosterone, as well as with other hormones. They are found in some pesticides, plastics, detergents, paints, toiletries, and spermicides and in factory emissions that wind up in our food.

Every one of these hormone-altering chemicals may affect development of children's reproductive systems—all the way through puberty.

Solutions for These Problems: For example, to protect against those hormone-altering chemicals, The Green Guide Newsletter recommends three steps--

Avoid plastics that smell. (A used car is better than a new one!) Avoid plastics made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC—used in Barbie dolls and many other toys), whose manufacture releases dioxin, one of the most potent hormone-altering chemicals of all. And soft, flexible PVC can contain hormone-altering, liver-damaging plasticizers that migrate into children's mouths and the air of your home.

Avoid commercial pesticides altogether. Many house and garden sprays contain chemicals that can harm the brain, cause cancer, or disrupt our children's hormonal systems.
Whenever possible, buy food that's organic, as exposures to pesticides commonly found at trace levels on popular fruits and vegetables can exceed the Environmental Protection Agency's daily safety tolerances and increase children's cancer risk. The Green Guide identifies the most heavily-pesticide-laden fruits and vegetables to avoid, and which are the best to buy organic.

Avoid animal fat, a site where hormone-altering dioxins, PCBs and other contaminants accumulate. (The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that for those who eat large amounts of meats, fish and dairy products, the risk of developing cancer from dioxin exposures could be as high as one in 100.) The Green Guide can keep you informed and updated on the safest and most ecologically-sound fish to eat—to avoid PCBs and mercury that can cause brain and nervous system damage to young children and fetuses in utero.

Who among us has not said at some time or another: “What can I do? Everything causes cancer!" The marvels and benefits of modern science are, to some degree, offset by the creation of new problems. Certainly our bodies have more toxic elements to cope with than any people that have ever lived. Nevertheless, we have more knowledge of how the body functions than ever before, and how we can sustain its capacity for renewal.

For more information about your family's health and the health of the environment check out The Green Guide.

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