U.S. government admits cancer link to common plastic
Before you grill your steaks, you probably take the time to scrape off the black gunk from the grates. You also avoid cigarette smoke. You even skip the harsh pesticides around your house. That’s because these all contain known carcinogens. And if you can avoid them, you do.
But there’s a carcinogen out there that’s so pervasive…it’s hard to avoid. It’s literally everywhere. It’s in food packaging. It’s in building materials. It’s even in children’s toys.
One organization gleefully promotes the use of this compound on their web site. It is a:
“basic building block for the manufacture of a broad range of materials used in thousands of products throughout the world…You may be surprised how important products manufactured using [it] are to the quality of your daily life. Taking your morning shower, fixing meals in the kitchen, commuting in your car, working on your computer, and an evening watching television all depend on [it]. As you’ll see, most of us encounter and use dozens of products made from [this compound] during the course of a normal day.”
This compound is big business in the U.S. It generates $60 billion dollars a year for the economy. Plus, it employs a lot of people. There are major manufacturing plants in California, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Texas. In addition, the industry contributes roughly $6 billion a year in taxes.
(No wonder this compound flew under the radar for so long. Six billion in taxes creates a lot of pull in DC.)
But the compound’s run is about to come to a screeching halt. Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services added it to their new list of possible human carcinogens.
Not surprisingly, this industry won’t go down without a fight. Last week, they issued a flaming press release this week. They plan to “vigorously contest” the unwarranted listing of their profitable compound as a possible carcinogen. (Remember, there are $60 billion dollars at stake, after all!)
But the government got it right this time. (Though, they’re woefully late coming to the party.) Several recent studies suggest there may be a link between exposure to this compound and an increased risk of leukemia and lymphoma.
Now, to be fair, many factors affect your risk of developing cancer. For one, there’s the length and amount of exposure. This means a lot of your personal risk will depend on how much of this stuff you’ve been exposed to and for how long.
But don’t worry. The government says the biggest exposure to this compound comes from cigarette smoke. So if you don’t smoke…or don’t live with a smoker…you should be safe, right?
Well, it depends who you listen to…
Drowning in a sea of carcinogens
There are a lot of mixed messages out there about this compound, called styrene. The U.S. government says the biggest exposure comes from cigarette smoke.
But the EPA says otherwise. According the EPA, indoor air is the way most of us get exposed to styrene. That’s because styrene is in everything, including building materials and consumer products. It all contains styrene.
Interestingly, indoor air in urban settings tends to contain more styrene than indoor air in rural areas.
Gee, great. And I was just starting to feel less anxious as a non-smoker.
Now, there is some good news in this whole mess…
I have always said that prevention is the key. And a new study released earlier this month puts my faith back in the power of eating well.
Crunchy vegetable targets and kills cancer cells
This month, scientists pinpointed for the first time exactly why broccoli is so good for us. Not only does it help to prevent cancer by protecting your DNA from damage, it also targets and kills actual cancer cells.
It all comes down to a phytochemical found in broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables called sulforaphane. You’ve probably heard me talk about it  before. So when the University of Oregon researchers released the results of their sulphoraphane study, I had to tell you about it.
For the study, U of O researchers applied sulforaphane to healthy prostate cells and cancerous prostate cells. Then, they waited. Before too long, the researchers jumped for joy. The cancerous prostate cancer cells all died.
But wait, the results are even more impressive…
As you know, chemotherapy kills cancer cells. However, it also kills healthy cells. In fact, it kills all the cells in your body that divide quickly. This includes cells that grow hair. That’s why your hair falls out when you go on many kinds of chemo.
But sulphoraphane is different. It killed the cancerous cells, but it also left the healthy prostate cells alone!
As you can imagine, this is a huge discovery. In fact, Big Pharma has already caught wind of it and is trying to make a synthetic version of sulphoraphane. They need a synthetic version because they can’t patent and market something you can grow yourself in the backyard.
U of O researchers said plans are already underway for a clinical trial with sulphoraphane.
This means they will try it out on living breathing humans…not just in a lab.
So while we may indeed live among a growing sea of carcinogens, take solace. Eat your broccoli. Eat your cauliflower. These veggies will help protect your DNA.