6 Surprising Cancer Causers At Home You Should Get Rid Of Plus Alternatives And Tips For Greater Safety

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Cancer affects millions of lives all over the world, with 1.7 million cases predicted to be diagnosed in 2015. Malignant tumors grow rapidly and can spread to other parts of the body (called “metastasis”) while benign tumors are usually localized to one area. As tumors grow in size, they can destroy the function of different body organs and systems. [1]

The risks from personal exposure to carcinogens are constantly being studied in cancer research. Radon and cigarette smoke are only two of the substances typically linked to the development of certain cancers. You already knew about those: Here are six more important ones to be aware of.

1. Formaldehyde

Formaldehyde, also known as methanal, is used in a vast number of industrial applications and is found in an enormous number of industrial products. Formaldehyde is a volatile organic compound (VOC) and is “off-gassed” from a variety of construction materials, furnishings, and consumer products. The three products that emit the highest concentrations are medium density fiberboard, hardwood plywood, and particle board. [2] Carpets and memory foam also emit formaldehyde. In 2011, the US National Toxicology Program described formaldehyde as “known to be a human carcinogen”. Owing to its widespread use, you might have a difficult time removing formaldehyde-emitting products from your home entirely, and this is a bigger problem ever before now that modern homes are much more “air sealed” than ever before – for insulation purposes. However, the USA and Europe have now limited the allowable emission of formaldehyde in products such as plywood. One thing that is advised is to maintain a supply of fresh air in the home. It’s also possible to obtain VOC-removing air purifiers.

2. Air Fresheners

Air fresheners contain a variety of chemicals, some of which can detrimentally affect a person’s health. The state of California actually lists common constituents of air fresheners as carcinogenic to humans, and certain constituents can actually produce dangerous secondary pollutants. [3] A study published in 2010 has linked air freshener use with the development of breast cancer. [4] An alternative would be to use scented herbal and floral oils.

3. Certain Types Of Candles

When candles are burned, the wicks tend to emit trace amounts of chemicals. [5] Also, many commercial candles are made using petroleum products for the wax. Astonishingly, lead has been utilized to keep wicks straight – causing increased concentrations of lead in indoor air, [6] which is why using lead in candles was banned in the US. [7] Despite that, lead-wick candles still circulate in the world market. Inorganic lead has been classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer as probably carcinogenic while a 2007 study revealed an associated between organic lead and stomach cancer. [8] Use all-natural candles such as soy or beeswax with cotton wicks instead.

4. Certain Types Of Art Supplies

This one is important as children use a lot of art supplies. Certain art supplies contain toxic substances that are unsuitable for children’s use. The Federal Hazardous Substances Act actually requires all art supplies to be labeled with potential health hazards. [9] In California, the Environmental Protection Agency strictly bans the use of Elmer’s Super Glue, Krazy Glue, and other art and craft materials in kindergarten until sixth grade. [10] If you have children at home who like to do art, remember to buy non-toxic art materials. Also, use any solvent based products (i.e. glues, sharpies) in a well ventilated area.

5. Antiperspirant / Deodorant

A recent study in 2014 focused on the aluminum content of certain cosmetic products, namely deodorants or antiperspirants. Aluminum is not only dangerous to the environment but to human health as well. When the aluminum in deodorants is absorbed by the body, it can deposit in breast tissue and can increase the risk for breast cancer. [11][12] Baby powders can be a safer alternative to control odor and perspiration.

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6. Plastic Shower Curtains

Shower curtains are typically made of plastic, and it has been studied that polyvinyl chloride (PVC) products emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs) – especially when hot. VOCs readily evaporate in high heat and when inhaled or absorbed by the body, can cause cancer. In the shower, the high heat can cause VOCs to evaporate from plastic shower curtains. VOC absorption can cause damage to the liver, nervous, respiratory, and reproductive systems and cause a variety of cancers. [13] Either use cloth or non-PVC curtains for your shower or install the glass-door or solid-walled type of shower.


[1] Johns Hopkins Pathology (2012). What are Tumors? http://pathology.jhu.edu/pc/BasicTypes1.php?area=ba

[2] Formaldehyde http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Formaldehyde

[3] Nazaroff, W. & Weschler, C. (2004). Cleaning products and air fresheners: exposure to primary and secondary air pollutants. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1352231004002171

[4] Zota, A., et. al. (2010). Self-reported chemicals exposure, beliefs about disease causation, and risk of breast cancer in the Cape Cod Breast Cancer and Environment Study: a case-control study. http://www.ehjournal.net/content/9/1/40

[5] Lau, C., et. al. (1997). Levels of selected organic compounds in materials for candle production and human exposure to candle emissions. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9134692

[6] Sobel, H., Wolfe, S. & Lurie, P. (2000). Petition to the Consumer Product Safety Commission to Immediately Bad and Recall All Candles With Lead-Containing Wicks, Candles in Metal Containers That Contain Lead, and Wicks Sold For Candle-Making That Contain Lead. [EPA]

[7] United States Environmental Protection Agency (2001). Candles and Incense as Potential Sources of Indoor Air Pollution: Market Analysis and Literature Review. http://nepis.epa.gov/Adobe/PDF/P1009BZL.pdf

[8] Rousseau, M., et. al. (2007). Occupational Exposure to Lead Compounds and Risk of Cancer among Men: A Population based-control study. http://aje.oxfordjournals.org/content/166/9/1005.full

[9] Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (2014). Art and Craft Materials in Schools: Guidelines For Purchasing and Safe Use. https://oehha.ca.gov/risk-assessment/document-general-info/art-and-craft-materials-schools-guidelines-purchasing-and-safe

[10] Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (2014). Art and Craft Materials That Cannot Be Purchased for Use in Kindergarten Through 6th Grade. http://oehha.ca.gov/education/pdf_zip/ArtOct2014.pdf

[11] Pineau, A., et. al. (2014) If exposure to aluminum in antiperspirants presents health risks, its content should be reduced. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0946672X13002034

[12] Darbre, P., Mannello, F. & Exley, C. (2013). Aluminum and breast cancer: Sources of exposure, tissue measurements and mechanisms of toxicological actions on breast biology. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0162013413001608

[13] Meng, T. (2014). Volatile organic compounds of polyethylene vinyl acetate plastic are toxic to living organisms. https://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/jts/39/5/39_795/_pdf

1 Comment

  • By Carl Litschke, December 25, 2017 @ 4:43 pm

    All are Perfect Natural suplaments!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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