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President's Cancer Panel Blames Environmental Toxins for Increase in Cancer - Learn How to Protect Your Health Vol. 14 Issue 59 In a groundbreaking report, the President's Cancer Panel has firmly assigned responsibility for many of the cancers being diagnosed in Americans to the tens of thousands of toxic chemicals being freely used in our environments. Sometime in their lives, four of every ten Americans will have cancer and two will die from it. The panel points out that the incidence of cancer is increasing in children and the reasons for this are not known. There are nearly 80,000 chemicals being freely distributed throughout our environments, with more being added all the time. Only a few hundred have been tested for safety, and procedures for introducing new chemical pollutants into our environments seldom require any tests of their effects on people or animals. As a result, we are surrounded by daily assaults from pesticides, food additives, cleaning chemicals, pollutants in our water and air, and processing chemicals in our clothes, furniture and other everyday items. Tests of the "body burden" of hundreds of the more common chemicals in use show that even people trying to avoid exposure carry measurable or even high levels of some of these damaging chemicals. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) exposes some of these dangers by performing body burden tests and publicizing the results to consumers and lawmakers. So what does one do to ensure the best health possible? Since it's not possible to eliminate all the pollutants in the short-term, it's a good idea to reduce exposure wherever practical. Here are some suggestions from the EWG: Filter your tap water with at least a carbon filter, or better, a reverse osmosis filter. Seal outdoor wooden decks and play sets. Many brands of decking materials were impregnated with an arsenic pesticide intended to prevent wood-boring insects from damaging them. Sealing them properly can prevent these chemicals from being picked up on hands and feet. Cut down on stain- and grease-proofing chemicals. Teflon and Scotchguard® contain chemicals that have been found to cause cancer in lab studies. Stay safe in the sun by seeking shade, wearing protective clothing and using sunscreen. Reduce fatty meats and high-fat dairy products because some pollutants are concentrated in animal fat. When you consume fatty animal products, you then receive a larger dose of those pollutants. Skip canned foods and plastics that contain bisphenol-A (BPA), a chemical linked to reproductive system cancers. Check the recycling symbol on the bottom of any plastic bottles; an icon containing a "7" is likely to contain BPA.Cans used for food are usually lined with a plastic that contains BPA. Read the warning labels on products you buy, for example, paints, building equipment, clothing, sports equipment, toys, household items (think "heat-resistant"), carpets and flooring, cosmetics and health-related items. Some products will provide warnings of cancer risks. Shun these products. Take sensible steps to improve your overall health, for instance: losing weight, stopping smoking, reducing drinking, exercising and eating right. And work with your elected representatives to support legislation that cleans up our environment by implementing sane and safe regulations over the chemical industry! Source: Environmental Working Group, News Release, President's Cancer Panel Warns Public of Chemical Dangers, May 7, 2010, http://www.ewg.org/President's_Cancer_Panel_Warns_About_Chemicals Source: Environmental Working Group, Health, Toxics, Phlalates, May 7, 2010, http://www.ewg.org/featured/227 Source: President's Cancer Panel, Reducing Environmental Cancer Risk report, April 2010, http://deainfo.nci.nih.gov/advisory/pcp/pcp08-09rpt/PCP_Report_08-09_508.pdf