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Household Cancer Hazards

A new study warns of unlabeled and potentially cancer-causing chemicals in many everyday products. We’ll investigate.

Shampoo and conditioner bottles. (Iko/Flickr)

Shampoo and conditioner bottles. (Iko/Flickr)

Spring is coming.  They’ll be out walking for a cure for cancer soon, and we can all hope for that.  But what about the possible causes of cancer and a lot of other modern afflictions?

A new study out last week looks at chemicals that are all around us in the everyday household and personal care products we buy again and again and bring into our homes, our kitchens, our bathrooms, our beds, our bodies.  Air fresheners and dryer sheets.  Shampoo and bar soap and tile cleaner and sunscreen and toothpaste.  They found plenty, even in products labeled “green”.

This hour, On Point:  the chemicals we live with every day.

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Julia Brody, executive director of the Silent Spring Institute, which studies the link between environmental chemicals and our health. You can find more about that study here.

Ruthann Rudel, director of research at the Silent Spring Institute.

Lynn Goldman, dean of the School of Public Health and Health Services at George Washington University.

Useful Links

  • You can find a detailed fact sheet about the study here.
  • A complete list of products tested in the Silent Spring study can be found here.
  • Here are 12 tips for “greening” your personal care and cleaning products.

From Tom’s Reading List

USA Today “Consumer products such as shampoos and sunscreens, even ones touted as safer, may contain potentially harmful chemicals not listed on their labels, according to a study out today that tested dozens of them.”

Boston Blog “But, Rendel – a scientist who studies chemicals in everyday products– said she checked the ingredients before buying it and was surprised to find triclosan.”

Forbes “The study included both conventional products, such as Windex original glass cleaner and Irish Spring deodorant soap, as well as “alternative” products marketed as containing safer ingredients than their conventional counterparts, such as Seventh Generation Free and Clear natural glass and surface cleaner and Tom’s of Maine natural moisturizing body bar. Lab tests detected 55 chemicals of concern–including parabens, phthalates, bisphenol A (BPA), antimicrobials, cyclosiloxanes, glycol ethers, and fragrances–in the conventional product samples tested and also found 41 concerning chemical compounds in all but 11 alternative products. Very few of these chemicals were included on product labels.”

Video: Silent Spring Institute

This video reveals  the highlights from the Silent Spring Institute study.

Complete Study

Here is the text of the Silent Spring Institute Study.
[Use the navigation bar at the bottom of this frame to reformat the excerpt to best suit your reading experience.]

11 Clean Products

Here are 11 products that passed the Silent Spring study test for target chemicals.

1. Healthy Pet Foods Here’s the Scoop! Natural Unscented Clay Clumping Litter

2. Seventh Generation Chlorine-Free Diapers

3. Bon Ami Polishing Cleanser, No Chlorine, Perfume or Dye

4. Seventh Generation Free and Clear Dishwashing Detergent

5. Seventh Generation Free and Clear Natural Dish Liquid

6. Tom’s of Maine Natural Long-Lasting Deodorant Stick, Aluminum-Free, Unscented

7. Bean Products Pure Cotton Shower Curtain

8. Excell Home Fashions Ultimate Nylon Shower Curtain or Liner

9. Carapelli Extra Light Olive Oil

10. Magick Botanicals Fragrance Free Hairspray

11. Dr. Bronners Magic Soaps Unscented Baby-Mild Pure Castille Soap

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