Your Environmental Safety Health Guide
Focused on Health - July 2010
by Adelina Espat
It’s better to be safe than sorry. That’s the approach experts are taking in the recent President’s Cancer Panel Report on environmental cancer risks.
“We don’t know how much environmental factors contribute to new cancer cases,” says Margaret L. Kripke, Ph.D., co-writer of this report and professor emerita at MD Anderson.
“But until we know more, our advice is to take a proactive approach by finding ways to reduce your contact with toxic chemicals and radiation.”
This advice is especially important for kids who are most vulnerable to the effects of toxins in the environment. Kids should be protected as much as possible.
The following slides highlight critical changes you can make based on advice from this expert report.
“Alone, these actions seem insignificant,” Kripke says. “Together, however, these small changes may reduce your exposure to everyday toxins. And that may lower your chances of getting cancer.”
Children and Pregnancy
The report urges moms and dads to do their best to avoid contact with toxic chemicals even before a child is conceived. This advice continues throughout pregnancy and during a child’s first years of life, when the risk of damage to the body is greatest.
“One way to keep your child safe is to choose ‘eco-friendly’ options when selecting house and garden products, play spaces, toys and medicines,” Kripke says.
Follow the advice below to make your home a safer, greener environment for you and your family.
- Remove your shoes before entering your home to reduce exposure to occupational chemicals.
- Wash work clothes separately.
- Filter tap or well water.
- Properly dispose of pharmaceuticals, household chemicals and paints.
- Reduce or stop using landscaping pesticides and fertilizers.
- Turn off lights and electrical devices when not in use to reduce the need for electricity, much of which comes from fossil fuels.
Toxic chemicals may get into your water and food if you use a lot of plastic products. Follow the tips below to lower the chances of this happening.
- Store water in stainless steel, glass or Bisphenol-A (BPA) and phthalate-free containers.
- Microwave food and beverages in ceramic or glass containers.
Making the right food choices also may lower your contact with toxic chemicals.
- Choose food grown without pesticides or chemical fertilizers.
- Wash conventionally grown produce to remove chemicals.
- Eat meat from livestock raised without growth hormones and antibiotics.
- Avoid eating processed, charred and well-done meats.
Headlines about cell phones and cancer risk have flooded the news recently. Take precautions to reduce your exposure to radiofrequency by following these tips.
- Wear a headset when using a cell phone.
- Text instead of calling.
- Keep calls brief.
When it comes to medical tests, such as X-rays and CT scans, experts suggest you look at the risks and benefits of each procedure. Discuss with your doctor these key points when deciding on the need for an exam.
- Personal history of radiation exposure
- Expected benefit of the test
- Other options for obtaining the same benefit
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