Chemical Dangers Around the Home!
I seem to recall years ago, when I was a lad in my teens, and yes, I can remember that far back when I need to, that we had much better summers in that they were more sunny and hotter, and yet we didn't hear about skin cancers then.
Why? What's changed?
Is it because we have lost some of the ozone layer and it's protection or what? Let's have an explanation for some of the actions we're being told to take rather than just to say we need to continually apply factor whatever and keep indoors around the hottest part of the day or risk ...., etc., etc.
It's even getting what one can only describe as stupid now when schools daren't send the kids out to play, as parents might sue them if they later get skin cancer or hurt themselves in the playground.
What sort of a nation have we become? For goodness sake, let's put some common sense back into society!
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- Co-op bans 'dangerous' chemicals
- Concern over deodorant chemicals
- Exposing the contents of the Bathroom Cabinet!
- UK lung deaths 'twice EU average'
Co-op bans 'dangerous' chemicals
A supermarket chain has banned a range of potentially dangerous chemicals from its own household cleaning brands and other everyday products.
The Co-op has banned chemicals which have been linked to cancer, fertility problems and environmental damage even though they are still legally usable.
Head of Co-op Brand David Croft said there was "credible evidence" against the chemicals which could be replaced.
The Co-op is urging the rest of the industry to follow its lead.
The banned substances include chemicals found in cleaning products, and artificial musks used in perfume products which can be absorbed by the body.
Studies suggest that the build up of these can cause harm.
The Co-op says where there is conflicting evidence and there is even a hint of a risk it will apply the precautionary principle and eliminate it from its products.
The move comes as the supermarket attempts to spearhead an initiative to raise ethical standards in supermarket products in the UK.
Mr Croft says consumers want and expect high standards of integrity.
"They'll vote with their wallet and support or veto our products," he said.
"They're no longer passive consumers, but want to play an influencing role as active citizens. That's why the Co-op is embarking on the most radical review of a supermarket own-brand range - food and non-food - ever undertaken," he added.
And to help it, the Co-op has recruited a 10-strong panel of experts chaired by Tim Lang, Professor of Food Policy at City University.
The panel brings together recognised independent expertise in food policy, public health, ethical trading, animal welfare, agricultural sustainability and environmental issues.
"Where the panel will come into its own is in helping us to identify and act on issues which challenge the industry view that everything in the garden is rosy," said Mr Croft.
An industry spokesman said all supermarkets were getting rid of chemicals deemed to present more risks than benefits.
But BBC consumer affairs correspondent Nicola Carslaw said the Co-op had stolen a march on its rivals.
A recent study carried out by NOP for the supermarket found six out of 10 shoppers would boycott goods that were ethically unsound.
The survey of 30,000 consumers found nine out of 10 wanted tougher monitoring of retailers and the industry on ethical issues.
Concern over deodorant chemicals
Chemicals from underarm deodorants and other cosmetics can build up inside the body, according to a study.
British researchers have found traces of chemicals called parabens in tissue taken from women with breast cancer.
While there is no evidence they cause cancer, the scientists have called for the use of parabens to be reviewed.
The cosmetics industry insists the chemicals, which are used as preservatives and are approved for use by regulators, are safe.
Dr Philippa Darbre and colleagues at the University of Reading carried out tests on samples of 20 different human breast tumours.
Writing in the Journal of Applied Toxicology, they say they found traces of parabens in every sample.
Their tests suggested the chemicals had seeped into the tissue after being applied to the skin.
"This is the first study to show their accumulation in human tissues," said Dr Darbre.
"It demonstrates that if people are exposed to these chemicals, then the chemicals will accumulate in their bodies."
Dr Darbre said there may be reason for people to be concerned about the findings.
"Their detection in human breast tumours is of concern since parabens have been shown to be able to mimic the action of the female hormone oestrogen," she said.
"Oestrogen can drive the growth of human breast tumours. It would therefore seem especially prudent to consider whether parabens should continue to be used in such a wide range of cosmetics applied to the breast area including deodorants."
Dr Philip Harvey, European editor of the journal, said the findings should be interpreted cautiously.
"Further work is required to examine any association between oestrogenic and other chemicals in underarm cosmetics and breast cancer."
Chris Flower, director general of the UK's Cosmetic Toiletry & Perfumery Association, welcomed the study.
"It is welcome additional information and we will want to examine the findings in detail," he told BBC News Online.
"However, parabens have a very, very good safety profile. We have an enormous amount of information which supports the safety of these chemicals and their use in cosmetics."
Delyth Morgan of Breakthrough Breast Cancer said: "This extremely small study does not demonstrate a direct causal link between deodorant or antiperspirant use and developing breast cancer.
"Further research is needed to establish the source of the chemicals found in the breast tumour samples and what, if any, the relationship is to breast cancer."
A spokesman for the UK's Department of Trade and Industry said government scientists would examine the findings.
"Parabens are approved for use in the UK and in Europe and all the information we have suggests they are safe to use.
"However, British scientists will examine this study."
Dr Richard Sullivan, head of clinical programmes at Cancer Research UK, said there was no evidence that deodorants were linked to an increased risk of breast cancer.
He said the latest study was very small, and had by no means produced conclusive results.
"The increased incidence we are seeing of breast cancer can be explained by many other factors," he said.
Exposing the contents of the Bathroom Cabinet!
We've all heard the scares about deodorant linked to breast cancer but what about the chemicals in the rest of our beauty products? Every year, up to 400 million tonnes of chemicals are produced. Individually, each chemical, used in minute quantity, may be harmless but there's a growing concern about the combined effect as they accumulate in our bodies. It's not just environmentalists and the green lobby who are worried, leading scientists are asking questions about our ever-increasing exposure to synthetic chemicals. This Morning beauty expert, Nadine Baggott, joins us to take a look at the hidden dangers lurking in our bathroom cabinets.
Recent complaints from environmental lobby groups such as Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and the Women's Environmental Network (WEN) is that skin, creams, shampoos, perfumes and other cosmetics and toiletries contain chemicals that the human body cannot flush out. They claim the chemicals bio-accumulate and there is evidence that some of them could be harmful.
Of greatest concern are the phthalates (pronounced thalates), which are found in plastic toys, vinyl floor tiles, glues and inks. In cosmetics, they are used as solvents. Two chemicals in the family DEHP and DBP, have already been banned from use in cosmetics by the European Commission and are in process of being phased out.
The problem with phthalates is that they bio-accumulate they are hormone disrupters - a study on four commonly used phthalates found that they reduced the male hormone action in rats. Phthalates are used in the fragrance of cosmetics and their presence is hidden by the catch-all term 'parfum'.
The same goes for artificial musks, which give perfume its staying power. According to Friends Of The Earth they are 'persistent and bio-accumulative and are wide spread contaminants of the environment and the human body, for example being found in breast milk'.
Other ingredients to watch for are parabens, synthetic chemicals that are used to preserve cosmetics. However, in a study carried out by Dr Philippa Darbre, senior lecturer in oncology at Reading University, parabens were found in 18 of 20 human breast tumours studied. "Their detection is of concern because parabens are able to mimic the action of the female hormone oestrogen, which can drive the growth of human breast-tissue tumours."
1. SHAVING CREAM
In addition to alcohol, shaving cream may contain DEHA. It can irritate the skin and eyes on contact, although ingesting DEHA can cause more serious problems. Tests have revealed that when ingested, DEHA can cause cancerous tumours in mice and abnormal embryos in rats.
Use a thick coating of aloe vera gel as it has natural anti-inflammatory and skin-softening properties.
The National Environmental Research Institute of Denmark found recently that 99% of all leave-on cosmetics contained parabens. Certainly few moisturisers are made without them. Parabens act as preservatives, but are well known skin and eye irritants and have also been found to mimic the female hormone oestrogen. Because of this latter effect, some scientists suspect there may be a link between parabens and breast cancer, although as yet there is no evidence for this. Allergic skin reactions to parabens have also been documented.
Try an organic product like Dr Hauschka or Urban Healing Organica Instead of over-the-counter toners, which are full of parabens and parfum, splash your face with witch hazel, which is a natural astringent.
3. SHAMPOO AND HAIR DYE
As well as parabens and parfum, shampoo often includes Sodium Laureth Sulfate, a detergent that can 'trigger' eczema if in contact with skin for prolonged periods at high concentration
Try cutting down on the number of times you wash you hair and then switch to an organic product like MOP or Organic Blue.
Arylamines found in permanent hair dyes are thought to be, at least in part, responsible for the twofold greater risk of bladder cancer seen among women who use the dyes at least once a month. One team at the University of Southern California recently suggested that some women were more susceptible to developing bladder cancer after using permanent hair dyes because their genetic make-up means they are unable to flush the carcinogens from their systems quickly enough.
Switch to semi-permanent or opt for Henna, which is natural and less invasive.
Blusher - Blushers typically contain propylene glycol, which although it's considered safe for use in cosmetics, is used in anti-freeze.
- Eye shadow - the Consumer Agency and ombudsman in Finland detected very small amounts of arsenic in 49 samples.
- Lip-gloss - Parfum was among 10 ingredients WEN found listed in lip-gloss. It sounds harmlessly fragrant, but it is a catch-all term for hundreds of chemicals, 24 of which have been identified as a common cause of allergies by the European Union's Scientific Committee on Cosmetics. And non-food Products. Despite this, specific chemicals in parfum do not have to be labelled, so there is no way of telling which might be in your make-up.
5. BABY PRODUCTS
Baby Shampoo - found to contain Sodium laureth sulfate (see above).
- Baby Body wash - some found to contain Popylene glycol, a binder also found in antifreeze, which can cause skin irritation in high concentrations
- Baby Wipes - Even in 'sensitive' ones, have been found to contain Propylene glycol, parfum, and parabens
As well as products like Burt's Bees and Little Me you can cut down on chemicals by simply using a flannel and warm water. Tiny Sprout' baby products gift set - contains 100% natural organic cotton bibs, baby suits and products - website www.tinysprout.co.uk For further information on recommended products- please see below:
Organic Blue - 020 8206 2066
Neals Yard Remedies - 020 7627 1949
MOP (Modern Organic Products) - 01282 613413
Tiny Sprout Gift Set - www.tinysprout.co.uk
Spiezia - 01326 231600
Dr Hauschka - 01386 792642
Jurlique - 0870 770 0980
Aveda - 01730 232380
Dr Hauschka - 01386 792642