Thursday, October 20, 2016

LIVING A LITTLE GREENER | SERIES: PART 1


I know what you’re thinking, “Oh, now that you have cancer, you've gone tree-hugging, vegan, anti-everything extremist.” Maybe just a little. But no, for years, I’ve researched this stuff. Some of it, I have incorporated into our lifestyle, and others I haven’t for no other reason than convenience or expense. Let’s be honest, it’s less convenient and more expensive to be healthier or to use safer methods.

I’m not going to preach, suggesting we legalize marijuana and dress our children in hemp. I’m not going to deny my kids the occasional hamburger and I’m not going to rid my diet of sushi because of too much mercury. But I am going to seek better choices and promote healthier alternatives.

Let’s rewind a bit and talk about cancer. As you know, all cancers develop because something has gone wrong with one or more of the genes in a cell. A change in a gene is called a ‘fault’ or ‘mutation’. Some faulty genes that increase the risk of cancer can be passed on from parent to child. These are called inherited cancer genes. This occurs when there is a mistake or a fault in the genes in an egg or sperm cell. Then the gene fault can be passed on to children.

I, on the other hand, developed invasive breast cancer at 38 years of age, with absolutely no family history of it. Additionally, I tested negative for 7 various gene mutations. It is believed that I did not “inherit” cancer genes. Rather, mine may be linked to exposure to carcinogens, be it hormones, antibiotics, cigarette smoke, sunlight, aluminum, chemicals or other – we may never know. Research clearly states that there are carcinogens in the very air we breathe.

Here are a few brief reads that are bound to make you gasp in disbelief:



Children with high levels of the chemical bisphenol A (found in most plastics) in their bodies were more likely to have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder than those with lower levels of the chemical, according to a study published June 6 in the journal Environmental Research.( http://www.healthychild.org/study-links-bpa-to-attention-disorder-in-kids/)
Last year, EWG turned the spotlight on propyl paraben in its Dirty Dozen Guide To Food Additives because the federal Food and Drug Administration has listed its use in food as “Generally Recognized As Safe.” Despite mounting evidence that propyl paraben disrupts the endocrine system, the FDA has failed to take action to eliminate its use in food or reassess its safety. (http://www.ewg.org/research/propyl-paraben)
In the United States, fossil fuel combustion is the leading culprit for spewing nickel into the air we breathe. In other countries, heavy metal factories are also a common cause. Breathing in nickel increases the risk of nasal cancer and of lung cancer, the leading cancer killer of men and women in the U.S. (http://www.cityofhope.org/blog/environment-cancer-study)
The American Academy of Pediatrics recently made an official recommendation to limit children’s exposures to pesticides and herbicides, including minimizing the use of foods grown with chemical pesticides and using nonchemical pest control methods at home. (https://shar.es/1Ei86K)
In the United States, children can drink fruit juice beverages made with Red Dye No. 40 and eat macaroni and cheese colored with Yellow Dye No. 5 and No. 6. Yet in the U.K., these artificial colorings have been taken off the market due to health concerns, while in the rest of Europe, products that contain them must carry labels warning of the dyes’ potential adverse effect on children’s attention and behavior. (http://ensia.com/features/banned-in-europe-safe-in-the-u-s/)
The American Academy of Pediatrics admits that aluminum interferes with many cellular and metabolic processes in the body’s nervous system and tissues. Repeated exposure to aluminum can have damaging effects and yet children receive repeated injections during the recommended vaccine schedule.  Studies with mice have demonstrated a transient rise in aluminum levels in brain tissue.  Aluminum is also widely associated with breast cancer. (https://thetruthaboutcancer.com/vaccine-cancer-connection/)
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration places no restrictions on the use of formaldehyde or formaldehyde-releasing ingredients in cosmetics or personal care products. Yet formaldehyde-releasing agents are banned from these products in Japan and Sweden while their levels — and that of formaldehyde — are limited elsewhere in Europe. (http://ensia.com/features/banned-in-europe-safe-in-the-u-s/)
“Cosmetics regulations are more robust in the EU than here,” says Environmental Defense Fund health program director Sarah Vogel. U.S. regulators largely rely on industry information, she says. Industry performs copious testing, but current law does not require that cosmetic ingredients be free of certain adverse health effects before they go on the market. (FDA regulations, for example, do not specifically prohibit the use of carcinogens, mutagens or endocrine-disrupting chemicals.) So, even though the personal care products and cosmetics products industry has extensive voluntary ingredient safety guidelines — and obvious incentives to meet them — they are not legal requirements. (http://ensia.com/features/banned-in-europe-safe-in-the-u-s/)

Personally, I feel that if I don’t take measures to improve the environment for my immediate family, then I am essentially exposing them to toxins that may harmful to them in the long run. They may not directly inherit cancer genes from me through blood or DNA, but they may be inheriting cancer genes from what I’m exposing them to in the form of the food, products, and home air. My efforts may be deemed worthless compared to the great big world outside these four walls, but as a loving, protective parent, I feel it’s my duty to at least try.

When it comes to my children, I will follow the Precautionary Principle, established by the U.N. in 1982. It states that, “When an activity raises threats of harm to human health or the environment, precautionary measures should be taken even if some cause and effect relationships are not fully established scientifically.”

I vow to raise my family with this knowledge in mind, but—like all of us—sometimes I fail. So maybe I’m not the healthiest, greenest, naturalist mommy on the block. The point is, I try to make daily choices that can help us create a healthier lifestyle. And on this blog, I will share information about those choices with you in the coming weeks. Some which you will find helpful, informative and some just downright out of left field. Either way, thanks for being here! Too, your suggestions are always welcome.

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