Posts tagged: cancer

Study Finds Fabric Softener Ingredients Linked To Cancer And CNS Disorders

Study Finds Fabric Softener Ingredients Linked To Cancer And CNS Disorders
Image © shutterstock.com (under license)

Do you enjoy the fresh, intoxicating scent of clean clothes? Of course, you do! Unfortunately, it turns out this ‘intoxicating’ smell of fabric softener is actually toxic – talk about poetic justice.

According to a study [1] published in the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, commercial fabric softeners gradually emit a cocktail of toxic chemicals that can cause airflow limitation, pulmonary irritation, and sensory irritation. Some of the ingredients increase the risk of cancer, central nervous system (CNS) disorders, and even liver damage.

Rather than expose your family and infants to toxic chemicals, you can make safer alternatives using natural ingredients in the comfort of your home. Read on for more information on why and how you can enjoy the scent of fresh clothes without polluting the air.

Sneaking Toxins Right Under Our Noses

Did you know that scented consumer goods such as fabric softeners can emit over 100 volatile compounds [2], with some of them being classified as hazardous or toxic? To make matters worse, these chemicals can form secondary pollutants when they react with ambient air. Below is a list of some of the toxic chemical ingredients in dryer sheets and fabric softeners:

1. Pentane: Inhalation of pentane can lead to loss of consciousness, respiratory tract irritation, dizziness, vomiting, nausea, and headaches.

2. Linalool: This is a narcotic that is associated with respiratory disturbances and CNS disorders.

3. Ethyl Acetate: A narcotic on the EPA’s Hazardous Waste list associated with kidney damage, liver damage, and anemia with leukocytosis.

4. Camphor: This compound is listed by the EPA as a hazardous waste that can be fatal when inhaled. It has carcinogenic, neurotoxic, and anesthetic properties.

5. Alpha Terpineol: Irritates mucous membranes and can cause pneumonitis, CNS disorders, and ataxia.

6. Benzyl Alcohol: A respiratory irritant that can cause respiratory failure in extreme cases. It also causes dizziness, depression, and low blood pressure.

7. Benzyl Acetate: A carcinogenic compound that can cause systemic effects when inhaled.

A common argument by proponents of fabric softeners is that the exposure to harmful chemical ingredients is negligible with minimal health repercussions. On the contrary, fabric softener is a prime example of a dangerous product that hides in plain sight, masked as safe and convenient.

Safer Natural Alternatives – DIY Fabric Softeners?

The image of sweetness, freshness, and comfort portrayed by commercial fabric softeners could not be further from the truth – the scent comes at a cost. If you’re not prepared to risk your health, there are natural DIY options that can serve the purpose. Making fabric softener at home is actually cost effective and easier than most people think. Here are a few suggestions if you decide to forego commercial fabric softeners:

• Adding baking soda to the washing water.

• Adding white vinegar and a few drops of a favorite essential oil into the wash.

• Tossing aluminum balls (crumpled aluminum foil) into the dryer to help with static.

References:

[1] Anderson, R. C., & Anderson, J. H. (2000). Respiratory toxicity of fabric softener emissions. Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health Part A, 60(2), 121-136. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/009841000156538

[2] Potera, C. (2011). Indoor air quality: scented products emit a bouquet of VOCs. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/49719183_Scented_Products_Emit_a_Bouquet_of_VOCs

Studies In Recent Years Have Identified A Relationship Between Lack Of Sleep And Cancer Development

Studies In Recent Years Have Identified A Relationship Between Lack Of Sleep And Cancer Development
Graphic © herbshealthhappiness.com

Cancer is a one of the greatest public health challenges worldwide, with an alarming incidence rate of 21% in men and 18 % in women. Cancer occurs when normal cells of the body deviate from normal controlled growth to abnormal growth of cells.

Sleep plays an important role in overall human health and impacts nearly all systems of the body: It influences the brain, immune system, hormone regulation, and metabolism in the body. Sleep can affect normal cellular function by altering the cellular environment and affecting the signaling mechanism of cell growth.

Researchers have now concluded that different components of sleep such as sleep duration, sleep quality, circadian rhythm can be potential risk factors for cancer. A review that analyzed multiple studies has found that people who sleep less than 6 hours are at higher risk of developing cancer. [1] Short-term sleep is associated with an increased risk of developing colon polyps that can later become cancer. Sleep deprivation leads to ‘wear and tear’ of cells, leading to DNA damage which results in cancer.

Sleep quality was identified as a risk factor for breast cancer in a study that involved 4,000 women. [2] Another study has found that men who suffer from sleep interruptions on a regular basis are at greater risk of developing prostate cancer. [3]

Circadian rhythm often known as the body’s internal clock controls a part of the brain called the suprachiasmatic nucleus which optimizes daily activity. Circadian disruption can lead to the development of cancer. Circadian signals control the normal functioning of the cell, including hormone production and immune function. Disruption is likely to influence genetic mutations and DNA damage. A review of multiple studies has found that circadian disruptions can be a potential risk for breast cancer. [4]

See also:

Top 100 Ways To Reduce Your Risk Of Cancer

References:

[1] Cappuccio, F.P., et al., Sleep duration and all-cause mortality: a systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective studies. Sleep, 2010. 33(5): p. 585-592. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2864873/

[2] Soucise, A., et al., Sleep quality, duration, and breast cancer aggressiveness. Breast cancer research and treatment, 2017. 164(1): p. 169-178. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5488283/

[3] Sigurdardottir, L.G., et al., Sleep disruption among older men and risk of prostate cancer. Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention Biomarkers, 2013. 22(5): p. 872-879. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3652595/

[4] Samuelsson, L.B., et al., Sleep and circadian disruption and incident breast cancer risk: An evidence-based and theoretical review. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, 2018. 84: p. 35-48. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6025900/

Children Eating 12 Or More Hotdogs

Children Eating 12 Or More Hotdogs
Children Eating 12 Or More Hotdogs. Graphic: © herbshealthhappiness.com. Backgorund image – Wikipedia – lic. under CC 3.0

According to figures from the National Cancer Institute, cancer is among the leading cause of death among children younger than 14 years. [1] It’s estimated that over 11,000 new cases were diagnosed in 2019, with leukemia, lymphomas, and brain cancers being the most common.

With such worrying statistics, findings associating hotdogs with an increased risk of developing leukemia in children are a merited source of concern. In particular, research conducted by a team of scientists from the University of Southern California School of Medicine in Los Angeles claimed that children who ate more than a dozen hotdogs every month were 9 times more likely to develop leukemia. [2]

The findings, which were published in the Journal of Cancer Causes and Control, shed light on the relation between “food items thought to be precursors or inhibitors of N-nitroso compounds (NOC) and risk of leukemia.” This might help explain the high incidence of childhood brain tumors and leukemia over the last few decades.

The researchers suggest that nitrites used to preserve processed meats (such as those used in hotdogs). When consumed, nitrites are converted into nitrosamines – which are highly carcinogenic. Similarly, the American Cancer Society has long warned against the regular consumption of processed meat and red meat due to their documented carcinogenic properties. [3]

Takeaway
While the study is neither conclusive nor meant to make hotdogs the villain, it’s worth considering the risk of leukemia – especially with the increased number of incidences. Rather than consume processed meats, we should opt for healthier alternatives such as beans, poultry, fish, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.

Please note that this content should never be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinicians.

References:

[1] Childhood Cancers https://www.cancer.gov/types/childhood-cancers.

[2] Peters, J. M. 1994. Processed meats and risk of childhood leukemia (California, USA). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8167267.

[3] What’s Wrong with Hot Dogs, Hamburgers, and Bacon? https://www.cancer.org/latest-news/hot-dogs-hamburgers-bacon.html.