Check out Take Part’s recent article on California’s Safer Consumer Products Law
Author Christina Hoag writes that California lawmakers are “implementing the Safer Consumer Products Law to regulate toxins in household products, changing the traditional chemical policy focus from finding safe exposure levels to replacing them altogether”
So do common household chemicasl cause cancer? I suspect they contribute to carcinogenesis in humans, though there is minimal data at this time. However, this is what oncologists do know:
- We are seeing younger patients with cancer (under 40 or 50 years old). Specifically, horomonally driven cancers such as breast and prostate.
- Environmental chemicals, such as parabens, have been shown to alter hormone regulation. Here is a list of 12 endocrine-disrupting chemicals you may be using:
- Cancer is caused by a combination of genetics, diet, and environment.
- We can now identify genes involved in cancer and we know the importance of a healthy diet. However, environmental causes of cancer have traditionally included smoking and sexually transmitted viruses such as HIV and HPV, but more recently household and personal products chemicals are suspect.
- There have been thousands of new chemicals introduced into our home, beauty, and personal care products in the past 50 years. This correlates with the rising incidence of cancer and when looking at epidemiologic data, correlates with the increase in breast and prostate cancer seen here in the US.
- While these chemicals typically, but not always, were tested ( on animals sadly) – they were tested in small doses and for a very short time.
- That is important because we use these products daily or weekly. We may use the same product for 5,10, even 20 years. Thus the cumulative effect is unknown and untested.
So while medical science may not have a randomized controlled trial showing that household chemicals cause cancer, daily doses and long term exposures are very concerning. I support California’s efforts to provide more oversight of these chemicals. Review of their website provides several resources if you would like to read more:
List of “Candidate Chemicals” which are considered targets for removal or replacement under the law.
Dr. Norleena Gullett is a Radiation Oncologist at Erlanger Cancer Institute in Chattanooga, TN. In addition to her medical expertise, she strives to offer emotional, psychological, and spiritual support in her care for her patients. She prides herself on treating you, the whole person, with the best care possible.