When discussing possible cancer risk factors, most people focus on lifestyle, genetics, and diet. This is understandable, as these are major players in the potential risk for developing many different types of cancer. But it also ignores the common environmental hazards to which we are all exposed. Every day, people are exposed to toxins and potential carcinogens, both at work and at home. Remaining cancer free begins with learning how to reduce your exposure to these environmental toxins. Your home is the environment you can most easily control, so let’s look at some simple tips to help cancer proof your home and maintain your total health.
Testing Your Home for Radon
Radon is a colorless and odorless gas that is formed by the natural breakdown of uranium deposits in the earth. It can enter homes through cracks in the foundation, well water, and faulty plumbing fixtures. Once in the home, it binds to air particles and is breathed into the lungs. Radon exposure is the second leading cause of lung cancer, surpassed only by the smoking of tobacco. To cancer proof your home against radon, have your home tested for radon either by a professional service or by using a home testing kit. If radon levels exceed the EPA’s recommended limits, contact a licensed radon service professional to locate the source and affect the necessary repairs. These may include sealing cracks in the floors and walls, increasing ventilation, and replacing faulting pipes and plumbing fixtures.
Replacing Your Cookware
Teflon coated pots and pans become popular in the 1970’s. What we didn’t know then was that Teflon releases carcinogens when heated. Aluminum pots and pans are little better, and also release toxins when heated to high temperatures. To avoid possible contamination, switch your aluminum or Teflon coated pots and pans for cast iron. Once oiled and seasoned, cast iron provides the non-stick features cooks want without the risk of exposure to toxins. If you are uncomfortable with cast iron, consider ceramic coated metal pots and pans, or even tempered glass alternatives.
Choosing Safer Home Furnishings
Fire retardant bedding and furniture have become very popular, but they also present an added risk for cancer. The chemicals used to make a piece of fabric or furniture flame resistant give off carcinogenic gases, making your home environment more toxic. The same is true for the particle board which is often used to make inexpensive furniture. In fact, particle board has the potential to be as toxic as asbestos. To best cancer proof your home when buying furniture, stick with traditional pieces made out of wood and metal, and avoid any home furnishings that have been treated with flame retardants.
Using Plastic Food Containers
BPA, or bisphenol A, is a common ingredient in many commercial plastics. It has also been linked to cancer and heart disease. An easy way to cancer proof your home is for families to avoid the use of plastic containers for the storage of reheating of foods. If this is not possible, than dispose of any questionable plastic containers or bottles, and replace them with BPA free alternatives. However, even with BPA free plastics it is advisable not to use them for the cooking or reheating of foods, as heat will release possible carcinogens into the food.
Cancer Proof Cleaning Supplies
It is important to keep your home clean, both for health reasons and for aesthetic reasons. However, many common household cleaners are full of toxins and potentially carcinogenic chemicals. Beware of cleaning products that contain chlorine bleach or ammonia, both of which can elevate your family’s risk for cancer. Air fresheners are also to be avoided, as they release Isopar and paradichlorobenzene into the air, both of which are toxic to the liver, lungs and kidneys. Switch to so-called ‘green’ cleaning products that use all natural ingredients to clean and disinfect your home.
To cancer proof your home, make some informed choices about the products you buy regularly. When combined with smart lifestyle and diet choices, a cancer proof home can greatly reduce the risk for a number of common cancers as well as a variety of other chronic illnesses. Environment can be a major factor in the risk for cancer, and protecting yourself and your loved ones begins at home.