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Home is where the cancer is...........
7/7/2007 4:32:43 AM


Housework is making women sick....

From detergents to cosmetics, home is where the cancer is
By Veronique Mandal Star Health-Science Reporter-Windsor Star

Thursday, September 18, 2003
Women who work in the home are at a 54-per-cent higher risk of developing cancer than career women, says Michael Dufresne, a leading researcher in environmental cancers.

Women and men who want to look good and avoid body odours are at an added risk, because of the cancer-causing chemicals in hundreds of personal care products and household cleaners.

From cosmetics and hair products to toothpaste, shaving cream, furniture polish and dishwashing liquid, the presence of carcinogens raises major concerns, said Dufresne, an adjunct and research professor at the University of Windsor, researcher for Cancer Care Ontario and a member of the Barbara Karmanos Cancer Institute.

Speaking at a Hospice of Windsor seminar Tuesday, and quoting from leading studies, Dufresne said his greatest worry is the lack of information given to the public about products they use every day.

"People are blindly being led in the use of these products. They assume they are tested and safe, and they're not," said Dufresne. "Scientists are discovering that exposure to a variety of trace chemicals over the span of a lifetime is dangerous."

According to Statistics Canada, 335 women per 100,000 will develop cancer. Forty-six per cent of Canadian women are in the workforce and the remainder work at home.

The U.S. Public Interest Research Group reports that there are more than 100,000 synthetic chemicals in use. Residues of more than 400 toxic chemicals have been identified in human blood and fat tissue.

The risk for childhood leukemia and brain tumours increases dramatically in households using home and garden pesticides, herbicides and insecticides. Bleach is being linked to the rising rates of breast cancer.

Dufresne said the biggest culprit is the cosmetic industry, which does not put warnings on labels and does not list potentially harmful ingredients.

"The industry and the regulators know the cancer risks associated with cosmetics but there is virtually no consumer knowledge," Dufresne said.

"Unlike cigarettes, there are no warning labels on cosmetics and virtually no FDA regulations policing them."

Cancer-linked chemicals are found in Toothpaste, nail polish, bubbles, shaving cream, deodorant, soap, tampons, conditioner, shampoo and styling products also pose a threat.

"My own study showed that men and women think they're safer if they pay more, but there is absolutely no relationship between cost and safety."

The use of talc in the genital region has been linked to ovarian cancer.

Mouth, tongue and throat cancer has been linked to the high alcohol content (more than 25 per cent), saccharin, dyes and a chemical called PS60/80 in various types of mouthwash.

In the home, Lysol, Murphy's Oil Soap, Pledge, Tilex, Ajax, Palmolive, Joy, Chlorox Bleach, Windex, Sunlight, Arm & Hammer heavy duty laundry detergent, shout stick and liquid Spray 'N Wash are a few of the many products containing dangerous chemicals, said Dufresne.

Chemicals formed in woodsmoke from the fireplace, some burning candles, carpets and plastics, particularly plastic wrap, can also cause cancer.

Dufresne said people shouldn't panic, but wants to ensure they have information to make informed choices.

"You have to balance the risks and benefits, but ask questions first and demand answers," said Dufresne. "Just remember what you don't know can hurt you." or 255-5777, Ext. 649
© Copyright 2003 Windsor Star

Toxic compounds permeate U.S. homes, scientists find

MARLA CONE; Los Angeles Times

In a study of 120 homes in Cape Cod, Mass., scientists found dozens of toxic chemicals in indoor air and dust, suggesting that exposure to potentially hormone-altering compounds is commonplace in American homes.

The scientists, in a comprehensive look at home-based contaminants, found 67 different compounds in dust and air, dominated by chemicals found in plastics, cosmetics such as nail polish, perfumes and hairsprays, and detergents. Flame retardants used in foam furnishings and insecticides were also commonplace.

The household sampling is part of a broader, decade-long study of 2,100 women that aims to determine why Cape Cod has a high incidence of breast cancer unexplained by genetic factors.

Nine chemicals were found in every house tested - six phthalates, found mostly in cosmetics and hard plastics, and three alkylphenols, including one used mostly in detergents and cleaners.

The household sampling, conducted by the Silent Spring Institute of Newton, Mass., and Harvard University's School of Public Health, provides new information that should help the government prioritize which compounds might pose a high risk. But because the compounds are ubiquitous in household products and they are rarely listed as ingredients, there is little people can do to limit their exposure except to avoid indoor pesticides.

(Published 12:01AM, September 16th, 2003)


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