Phthalates in Household Cleaning Products Linked to Breast Cancer
“Everyday exposures to toxic chemicals in things like laundry detergent, cleaning supplies, air fresheners, and even a home’s indoor air can increase women’s chance of developing breast cancer.”
Knowledge is power, and in this case, possibly a matter of life and death. As more information comes out linking chemicals in household cleaning products to breast cancer, Maid Brigade honors Breast Cancer Awareness Month with an informative videoand tips to help today’s women protect their individual and families’ health with safe cleaning practices.
The more women clean the higher their chance for breast cancer, according to two studies recently conducted by the Silent Spring Institute. A study published by the Journal of Environmental Health also found that women who use ordinary cleaning products often were as much as two times more likely to develop breast cancer than women who used a more natural cleaning approach.
“Everyday exposures to toxic chemicals in things like laundry detergent, cleaning supplies, air fresheners, and even a home’s indoor air can increase women’s chances of developing breast cancer,” says Marie Stegner, consumer health advocate for Maid Brigade, the leading green house cleaning services company.
In Maid Brigade’s new video, Stegner discusses with Leslie Reichert – author of The Joy of Green Cleaning and a nationally recognized green cleaning expert – why ordinary cleaning products put women at increased health risks.
“Chemicals in cleaning products called phthalates (endocrine disrupters) short out cells so cells can’t talk to each other,” comments Reichert. “When that happens, they [cells] end up making more or less hormones than they should. That’s when cancer cells can be created.”
To maintain a safe and healthy home free of life-threatening chemicals, check out the following five tips from Maid Brigade:
1. Find out more information about what you are using in your home and substitute with more natural products like plant-based alternatives or inexpensive homemade solutions. This website http://householdproducts.nlm.nih.gov is a great guide.
2. Keep cupboards stocked with these natural cleaning supplies:
Plant-based liquid soap like Castile (a safer alternative to petroleum-based soap)
Distilled white vinegar (kills germs and brightens whites)
Baking soda (a deodorizer, and oil and grease cleaner)
Salt (removes garlic and onion scents, and burnt food off pots and pans)
Essential oils such as lavender, clove, and tea tree oil (combine liquid soap, water, a tablespoon of vinegar and a few drops of essential oil for a great all-purpose spray)
3. Use low (or no) VOC paints, varnishes, and waxes. When painting, open windows and doors and use exhaust fans to remove gases.
4. Eliminate the use of air fresheners that may contain d-limonene (a skin irritant) or petroleum distillates (which can irritate the skin, eyes, and respiratory tract). Instead, use baking soda to absorb odors or open windows for fresh air.
5. Get regular mammograms. Thirty percent of breast cancers can be detected through monthly breast self-exams and 85 percent can be detected with a mammogram. For women over 40, the American Cancer Society recommends screening mammograms every year.
“Really, the thing is just going back to nature and finding out that there are simple things you can use in your home that can make a big difference in your life,” Reichert says.
About Maid Brigade: Maid Brigade cares about the health of today’s families. With more than 25 years of experience, the company is the national leader in green cleaning practices and has a longstanding legacy of offering the latest in maid services and technologies. Maid Brigade is the first and only Green Clean Certified®housekeeping services franchise that implements a certification program for green house cleaning so customers know that they’re getting a green cleaning that is safe and truly green. For more information on Maid Brigade or for more healthy living cleaning tips visit http://www.maidbrigade.comor http://blog.maidbrigade.com.
Maid Brigade honors Breast Cancer Awareness Month with an informative video and tips to create and maintain a safe and healthy home.
Large Human Study Links Phthalates, BPA and Thyroid Hormone Levels
ScienceDaily (July 11, 2011) — A link between chemicals called phthalates and thyroid hormone levels was confirmed by the University of Michigan in the first large-scale and nationally representative study of phthalates and BPA in relation to thyroid function in humans.
The U-M School of Public Health study also reported suggestive findings consistent with a previously reported link between a chemical called bisphenol-A and thyroid hormone levels. BPA is best known for its use in certain plastic water bottles and in the linings of canned foods.
Researchers used publicly available data from the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey to compare urine metabolites and serum thyroid measures from 1,346 adults and 329 adolescents. Generally speaking, greater concentrations of urinary phthalate metabolites and BPA were associated with greater impacts on serum thyroid measures, said John Meeker, assistant professor at U-M SPH and lead study author.
Specifically, researchers found an inverse relationship between urinary markers of exposure and thyroid hormone levels, meaning as urinary metabolite concentrations increased, serum levels of certain thyroid hormone levels decreased.
Phthalates and BPA are chemical compounds that appear in solvents, plasticizers and common household products. These latest results were consistent with findings from previous smaller studies by Meeker and others that suggested the relationship.
The current study showed the strongest relationship between thyroid disruption and DEHP, a phthalate commonly used as a plasticizer. Research has shown that the primary exposure to DEHP is through diet. Urine samples in the highest 20 percent of exposure to DEHP were associated with as much as a 10 percent decrease in certain thyroid hormones compared to urine samples at the lowest 20 percent of exposure.
“This seems like a subtle difference,” Meeker said, “but if you think about the entire population being exposed at this level you’d see many more thyroid related effects in people.”
Researchers looked at another phthalate called DBP but overall, didn’t find a significant relationship between exposure and thyroid measures. DBP is also a plasticizer, and is also used in solvents and personal care products.
Thyroid hormones play an important role in many body functions, from reproduction to metabolism and energy balance.
While the study focused primarily on adults, these findings underscore the need for more research on adults, pregnant women, and children, Meeker said, because fetal and child development may be particularly vulnerable to disruptions in thyroid hormone levels associated with exposure to environmental chemicals.
Meeker pointed out that the study had limitations. Since urine and serum samples were collected at a single point in time, researchers couldn’t conclude a cause-and-effect relationship; it would be better to follow people over time and collect several samples, especially since these chemicals metabolize quickly and one snapshot may not represent the true chemical exposure.
The group has several ongoing studies on the potential impacts of phthalate and BPA exposure on pregnancy outcomes and child development.
The paper appears on the recent edition of the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.
I was just reading an article that Bethenny Frankel from Housewives of New York was given a bunch of baby bottles from the Born Free company. They are the bottles I used for my daughter. What makes this line of products so great is it does not contain chemicals like Bisphenol-A, Phthalates and PVC. The bottles and cups are also made with a special venting system that helps reduce colic and ear infections. I won’t buy any plastic that has any of these chemicals. A couple years ago I threw out all my plastic bowls and containers. I just use glass and plastic without those chemicals. I don’t really keep much left overs anyway that I need that much. Let me know what you think. Do you still use plastic?