You Can Greatly Reduce Your Risk Of Cancer


MOST CANCERS ARE RELATED TO VOLUNTARY LIFESTYLE CHOICES. Clearly proven causes of cancer include: tobacco, poor diet, obesity, alcohol consumption, some sexually transmitted diseases, particular reproductive / genetic patterns, sunlight, ionizing radiation (like X-rays and radiation therapy), certain chemicals, chemotherapy (yes, often-prescribed radiation and chemotherapy cancer treatments have a HIGH RISK OF CAUSING CANCER), insufficient antioxidant fruits and vegetables, polluted or untested genetically-engineered foods and insufficient exercise.


Pesticides kill 100 million birds and 20,000 humans each year, mostly by cancer. This includes household, lawn and agricultural pesticides used on our food and natural fibers, especially cotton. Industrial pollution, household cleaners, lack of healthy exercise, some plastics, outgassing of materials used in food packaging, furniture and construction (like styrebe, particle board, carpet, etc.), additives in our food and environmental pollution also play measurable roles in cancer causation.


The individual impact of exposure to any hazardous substance depends on: the dose, the duration, how you are exposed, whether other toxins or catalysts are present, counteracting agents (such as antioxidants and detoxifiers), protection (partially-effective masks, filters, gloves, suits, condoms), obesity, age, personal genetic characteristics, individual metabolic processes, and many different lifestyle habits.


Do Antioxidants Prevent Cancer? The U.S. National Institutes of Health / National Cancer Institute (NIH / NCI) unambiguously and clearly states that ANTIOXIDANTS CAN PREVENT CANCER:


LIFESTYLE IMPROVEMENTS CAN GREATLY REDUCE THE RISK OF MOST FORMS OF CANCER, DELAY ITS ONSET, REDUCE ITS SPREAD, AND IN SOME CASES REDUCE EXISTING CANCERS (depending on their type and how far they have progressed). Some widely abused medical treatments for cancer (like radiation and chemotherapy) WEAKEN THE IMMUNE SYSTEMS and DIRECTLY CAUSE NEW DNA MUTATION CANCER. (See Iatrogenic)


IT IS FAR BETTER TO AVOID THE MANY KNOWN RISK FACTORS FOR CANCER, than to try to treat cancer after you have it by using modern, barbaric, cancer-producing cancer treatments, as prescribed by the world’s foremost board-certain cancer specialists.


Quick Summary: According to the American Cancer Society:


Important Cancer Prevention Details For Everyone To Understand


Smoking is the most preventable cause of death in our society:


American Cancer Society on smoking


American Lung Association


Quit Smoking With Help From The #1 U.S. Respiratory Center


The U.S. Surgeon General’s Report stated: "Cigarette smoking is the major single cause of cancer mortality in the United States."


In recent decades, the percent of American adult smoker has dropped from 45% to 22%, as older smokers die early painful deaths and the number of new young smokers decreases, BUT we still need to work MUCH harder to prevent the growth of new smokers and to reverse this high risk behavior in existing smokers.


The direct link between smoking and multiple forms of cancer (lung, breast, etc.) is now irrefutable, despite decades of false denials by the tobacco industry. On July 23, 1997, the outrageously corrupt U.S. Senate voted 53 to 47 against an amendment (No. 965) offered by Senator Richard J. Durbin (D-IL) to end crop subsidies for tobacco, and the following day, the equally crooked U.S. House of Representatives concurred on a 216-209 vote. The tobacco lobby is STILL alive and influencing corrupt elected officials throughout America.


Do NOT expect your government to protect you from bad lifestyle choices. In fact, America subsidizes the deadly tobacco industry by charging you higher taxes to continue the subsidy! Tax revenues are also being wasted on public health care for people who now suffer greatly from smoking-related diseases.


Juries have awarded many millions of dollars in compensatory and punitive damages against cigarette vendors and the now-defunct Council for Tobacco Research and the Tobacco Institute (who published false and misleading reports about tobacco safety). In 2005, the corrupt congress passed new legislation to limit class action lawsuits. This reduces the cost of selling deadly tobacco to the weak minded masses who still smoke, and our children who will begin to smoke in the futher.


The tobacco industry has been damaged. It will continue to decline as baby boomers addicted to smoking die off, but the residual effect is that 170,000 Americans will still die from smoking related causes this year, due to previous serious lifestyle choice errors and the government’s decades of tobacco subsidies (which did deadly damage to the baby boom generation that is now approaching an unhealthy retirement with insufficient funding for subsidized medical care).


Despite clear documentation of the high risk of smoking, an estimated 22% of (non-learning, down right stupid, no-self-control) Americans still smoke. This is a surprising percentage, in light of all the modern programs trying to enlighten smokers and young people about how bad it really is. Most Joyful Aging readers are probably not aware of the 22% number, since they intelligently avoid those who smoke, and unhealthy places that allow smoking.


The best way to prevent lung cancer is to not smoke and to avoid being near people who do. If you smoke, you should immediately quit, no exceptions, zero tolerance. Everyone should also avoid breathing in other people's smoke. If you live in a backward state that still allows smoking in the work place, you should lobby your employer and your state legislature to mandate “no smoking in public buildings” and “no smoking in the workplace” laws. Most states are still NOT taking the necessary measures to protect children and adults from the deadly effects of tobacco smoke.


If you smoke, and you do not plan to quit immediately, then you might as well stop reading now, because you are too dumb to benefit from most of the Joyful Aging material. If you feel insulted, then at least you correctly understood one thing in this material. There is no room for “political correctness” or “tolerance of outrageous behavior” in the issue of smoking. Inhaling the toxic byproducts of combustion is always a bad thing to do, no matter what form it takes (including candles, fireplaces, gas stoves, automobiles, factories, refineries, etc). The more you are exposed to, the higher the risk of cancer.


Smoking does not kill immediately. Smoking is accelerated death on the installment plan. Each cigarette subtracts an average of 11 minutes from your expected longevity, which is over ten years for most smokers. The inhaled deadly toxins are transferred directly to your blood stream, body and brain with no form of filtration.


The death you will die from smoking will probably be both slow and extremely painful. You will waste a LOT of money on smoking materials. You are likely to have a long time to regret the foolishness of smoking, especially since the majority of Americans now have such negative feelings about stupid, inconsiderate smokers. While you are painfully dying from smoking, please make it clear to your offspring and friends how much you deeply regret succumbing to the profit-motivated advertising of those who encouraged you to smoke, and the corrupt government officials who subsidized tobacco growers for so long.


Damaging the people around you is unforgivable. Not only is smoking shortening your own life, but you are also doing severe health damage to those closest to you. For harming those who care about you, you should feel ashamed and make an immediate effort to do whatever is necessary to get help to change your destructive lifestyle. The damage you are doing is not just to their lungs, it is also to their minds: “If daddy loved me and daddy smoked, then I should also smoke.”


The unrepentant behavior of smokers who actively reject the truth and damage others cannot be tolerated for any reason, despite the love you may have for the individual. The friends and family of smokers need to intervene, arrange help, or stay far away from them. No excuses; no delays; take action now, or you become part of the problem that enables destructive behavior. If not now, then when? If not you, then who? In this one area, zero tolerance is essential.


This web site is intended specifically for intelligent people who are willing to change bad habits that they established without understanding the material we offer. This website is only for those who want to improve their knowledge about nutrition, exercise and positive mental activity.


Besides stopping smoking, intelligent people who care about the health of their families should investigate the hundreds of cancer-causing chemicals that you may be exposed to at work and home, and take appropriate protective measures to reduce the risk of avoidable cancer.


Understand The Carcinogens Around You


Become familiar with the allergens, toxins and known carcinogens in your pesticides, paint, plastics (like carpet), household cleaners, cosmetics, hair spray, perfume, spray cooking oils, and even your solid food (as documented on multiple pages on Joyful Aging and elsewhere). Did you know that our government even lists inhaled “saw dust” as a known carcinogen?


Many pervasive environmental toxins are inhaled (like cigarette smoke) and directly enter our blood stream and sensitive brain tissue with little or no type of filtration or detoxification. Do not use any spray products near your face (except medical inhalers), especially in confined areas (like a bathroom). If you do, take a deep breath before spraying, and exit the room immediately while exhaling slowly until you get to fresh air.


Many spray products contain toxins that are heavier or lighter than air. They will dissipate in time, but they are most dangerous to our lungs immediately after they are sprayed. A facemask may help a little, but only expensive masks are very effective on fine vapors. If you notice an odor after spraying a product, it may be cumulatively very hazardous to your lungs or brain after multiple uses.


If you live in any of the many geographical areas where the soil releases radon gas (including many homes with basements), consider testing radon levels in your home and taking appropriate action (either move or fix the problem, which can be very expensive). Radon significantly increases the risk of lung cancer, as does smoking.


Being Overweight Increases The Statistical Risk Of Many Types Of Cancer:


Your individual statistical risk factor for cancer has been clearly demonstrated to increase in direct proportion to your “body mass index” (weight-to-height ratio). Obesity increases the risk of all cancers by 52% in men, 62% in women. The Department of Epidemiology and Surveillance Research of the American Cancer Society found that there are nearly 100,000 obesity-related U.S. cancer deaths / year. Weight loss through good nutrition and exercise can significantly reduce the risk of many cancers. Exercise enhances the immune system, circulates antioxidants, encourages healthy tissue growth, etc.

Alcohol Is An Established Cause Of Cancers Of The:


Alcohol May Also Increase The Risk Of Colon Cancer.


Eliminating alcohol reduces your risk of cancer, as does losing weight, stopping smoking, etc. Risk factors are additive and cumulative. Two or more cancer risk factors (like inherited genetics, smoking, alcohol, weight, sun exposure, inactivity or poor nutrition) can combine to greatly increase the likelihood of death by cancer. For example, a long-term overweight, sedentary, smoking, drinking person who spends a lot of time in the sun has a very high risk of eventually contracting and succumbing to multiple types of cancer.


Adopt A Physically Active Lifestyle:


Adults: Engage in at least moderate activity for 30 minutes or more on 5 or more days a week; 90 minutes or more of moderate to vigorous activity on 5 or more days per week may further reduce the risk of breast, colon and other forms of cancer.


Wear an inexpensive, unobtrusive “pedometer” (step meter) and gradually increase the number of steps you take each day. Obtain pedometers for everyone in your family and discuss daily results. Keep a record of every family member’s physical activity and establish lifetime habits of “fun” healthy exercise. (See Joyful Dancing) Document and acknowledge the connection between low physical activity and health problems from obesity to poor cardiovascular function, immune system function, cancer, etc.


Find measurable ways to break sedentary lifestyle habits learned in the classroom, and in front of the television, video games, Internet, work, sit-down hobbies, etc. Spread physical activity evenly throughout the week, not just on weekends.


Children and adolescents: Engage in at least 60 minutes per day of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity for at least 5 days per week.



Moderate Activities

Vigorous Activities

Exercise and Leisure

Walking, dancing, leisurely bicycling, ice-skating or roller-skating, horseback riding, canoeing, yoga

Jogging or running, fast bicycling, circuit weight training, aerobic dance, martial arts, jump rope, swimming


Volleyball, golfing, softball, baseball, badminton, doubles tennis, downhill skiing

Soccer, field hockey or ice hockey, lacrosse, singles tennis, racquetball, basketball, cross-country skiing

Home Activities

Mowing the lawn, general lawn and garden maintenance

Digging, carrying and hauling, masonry, carpentry

Occupational Activity

Walking and lifting as part of the job (custodial work, farming, auto or machine repair)

Heavy manual labor (forestry, construction, fire fighting)


Helpful Ways To Be More Active and Reduce The Risk Of Cancer:



The Best Way To Lower The Risk Of Melanoma (Skin Cancer) Is To Avoid Too Much Exposure To The Sun And Other Sources Of Harmful Radiation:




The American Cancer Society recommends a monthly skin self-exam (see “How to Examine Your Skin” and “The ABCD Rule” below) AND a cancer-related check-up, including skin examination, every 3 years between ages 20 and 40 years and annually for those 40 and older.


How to Examine Your Skin for Cancer


Get familiar with your skin and your own pattern of moles, freckles, blemishes, and birthmarks. Check your skin monthly, and be alert to changes in the number, size, shape, or color of spots on your skin or sores that do not heal. The best time to do this simple exam is after a bath or shower. Use a full-length and a hand mirror so you can check your skin from head to toe, noting anything new.


Face the mirror:

Check your face, ears, neck, chest, and belly.

Check both sides of your arms and the tops and palms of your hands.


Sit down:

Check the front of your thighs, shins, tops of your feet, and in between your toes.

Now look at the bottom of your feet, your calves, and the backs of your thighs – first one leg, then the other. (You will need a hand mirror for the backs of your thighs.)


Stand Up:

Use the hand mirror to check the buttocks, lower back, upper back, and the back of the neck. (It may be helpful to look at your back in a wall mirror by using a hand mirror.)


If you do the exam regularly, you will know what is normal for you and can feel confident. Remember the warning signs and check with your health care professional or dermatologist if you find something.


The most common skin cancers – basal cell and squamous cell – often take the form of a pale, wax-like, pearly nodule, a red scaly, sharply outlined patch, or a sore that does not heal. Another form of skin cancer – melanoma – often starts as a small, mole-like growth.


The ABCD Rule for Early Detection of Melanoma


Almost everyone has moles. The vast majority of moles are perfectly harmless. A change in a mole’s appearance is a sign that you should see your doctor. Here’s the simple ABCD rule to help you remember the important signs of melanoma and other skin cancers:


A is for ASYMMETRY: One-half of a mole or birthmark does not match the other.


B is for BORDER: The edges are irregular, ragged, notched, or blurred.


C is for COLOR The color is not the same all over, but may have differing shades of brown or black, sometimes with patches of red, white, or blue.


D is for DIAMETER: The area is larger than 6 millimeters (about ¼ inch - the size of a pencil eraser) or is growing larger.


The most important warning sign for skin cancer is a spot on the skin that is changing in size, shape, or color over a period of one month to one or two years.


Other warning signs are: A sore that does not heal. A new growth. Spread of pigment from the border of a spot to surrounding skin. Redness or a new swelling beyond the border. Change in sensation – itchiness, tenderness, or pain. Change in the surface of a mole – scaliness, oozing, bleeding, or the appearance of a bump or nodule.


Risk reduction and early cancer detection increase your chance of avoiding, eliminating or limiting its growth, spread and damage. Age decreases your ability to defend against cancer. Antioxidants can improve your ability to defend against cancer.


 Pervasive Environmental Pollutants


The National Toxicology Program of the U.S. National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), National Institutes of Health (NIH) publishes a list of know cancer causing agents (human carcinogens). The list also includes broad spectrum ultraviolet radiation (UVR) as a known cause of cancer in humans, whether generated by the sun or by artificial sources; wood dust created in cutting and shaping wood; prescription steroidal estrogen replacement therapy hormones; PCBs; PBBs.


Many of the cryptic scientific names on the government’s list of known toxic carcinogens are actually found in many of our common household and industrial applications (in our clothes, sizing, carpets, furniture, cleaning products, insecticides, insulation, building materials, paints, protective coatings, plastics, processed foods, food packaging, paper, cardboard, prescription medicines, cosmetics, perfumes, hair care products, resins, automotive parts, solvents, adhesives, industrial processes, air/water pollution, filters, second hand smoke, products containing alcohol, etc.).


For those who take the time to seek the truth about the surroundings that we take for granted, there is a lot of alarming government-published material that is readily available for you to study (if you want to avoid cancer and many other diseases that are directly caused by our pervasive, human-produced, environmental toxins). Most people who contract devastating cancer, simply did NOT take the time to understand modern cancer risk information, or they lazily (or recklessly) chose to ignore it.


For example, some carcinogens (like brominated fire retardants (BFRs) called poly-brominated diphenyl ethers, or PBDEs) are used extensively in our homes and in the clothing that most Americans wear. In recent decades, natural products such as cotton and wood have been replaced by highly flammable synthetic fabrics and plastics in consumer products. Consumer advocates (like Ralph Nader and many others) have lobbied actively to add fire retardants to our clothing, household and office products. (In a similar effort Nader lobbied for air bags, which ripped the head off of many children, until we learned how to make-and-use them safer.)


The unwise rush of some uninformed consumer advocates to surround Americans with flame retardants, caused Americans to now have much higher levels of known carcinogens in our bodies than other industrialized nations in Europe (which wisely bans the use of PBDEs) and elsewhere.

The average level of harmful bromine-based fire retardants in the milk of American first-time mothers was 75 times greater than the average amount found in recent European studies. Milk from some study participants contained the highest levels of fire retardants ever reported in the United States, and milk from several of the mothers in EWG's study had among the highest levels of these chemicals yet detected anywhere in the world, suggesting that the problem in America is growing rapidly.

These results confirm recently published findings from University of Texas researchers, and other U.S. studies, that American babies are exposed to far higher amounts of these these dangerous toxins than babies in Europe, where many of these chemicals have already been banned. In the United States, only California and Maine have acted to restrict the use of PBDEs, but such state restrictions are far too little, far too late.

Today, PBDEs are used in American: textiles, fabrics, carpets, padding, drapes, foam padding for mattresses, furniture and seating for home and office, cars, trucks, airplanes and trains, insulation (thermal and sound dampening), paints and lacquers, imitation wood, packaging materials, plastic appliances, coffee makers, food processors, blenders, computers, televisions, smoke detectors, circuit boards, hair dryers, curling irons, office machines, copy machines, fax machines, printers, plastic car/truck/plane parts, lighting panels, PVC plumbing (water and sewer), pipe insulation (air conditioning, hot water, etc.), wire insulation, cable sheathing, electrical connectors, fuses, housings, boxes and switches, lamp sockets, waste-water pipes, underground junction boxes, industrial and airport conveyor belts, rubber cables.


In essence, it is almost impossible to go anywhere in America without encountering large amounts of these potential carcinogens. Some estimates suggest that PBDEs are in up to thirty percent of the weight of all American products.


During manufacturing, PBDEs are inexpensively “mixed” into the otherwise flammable plastic, instead of being “chemically bound” to the material, as some other fire retardants are. This means that PBDEs are much more likely to leach out into the human environment through direct skin contact, air, water and food supplies. This is irrefutably documented in the recent EWG (and other) studies of American nursing mothers.


PBDEs are the chemical cousins of dangerous PCBs (poly-chlorinated biphenyl, which are banned human carcinogens). Chlorine and Bromine are chemically similar. PCBs and PBDEs are both families of highly-persistent, bio-accumulative human toxins that build up in our tissues and organs over time.


PCBs came to the attention of health officials only after millions of pounds had been released into the environment. In the 26 years since PCBs were banned, numerous studies have documented permanent, neurological impairment to children from low-level PCB exposure. We now know that PBDEs are similar.

Recent evidence suggests PBDEs and PCBs work together to amplify their adverse health effects. Not only do PBDEs appear to be acting through the same pathways as PCBs, but also, exposure to a combination of PCBs and PBDEs appears to affect motor and learning skills of lab animals ten times more strongly than exposure to either chemical alone.

In addition to the long-term cancer-causing impact, residual environmental PCBs from decades ago, plus the more-recent introduction of pervasive, ubiquitous PBDEs are probably causing incremental neurological impairment (“dumbing down”) of nearly all of our American children in varying degrees. This is especially critical while the extremely complex and sensitive central nervous system is being formed in the womb and shortly after birth, while the infant’s brain is first making sense out of sensory input and motor control.

The PCB / PBDE concerns are not just about causing cancer, they are about damage to the young minds and potential level of intelligence of multiple generations of arguably less-competitive American children. Some observers now suspect that incremental, accumulative, neurological damage during critical development periods (and many other reasons) can be linked in part to lower American student test scores. Although there are countless possible causal sources, many parents of children born since the 1980s have been disappointed with the scholastic performance of their offspring, and there is clinical evidence that the rapidly-expanding use of pervasive PBDEs are at least a small contributing factor. With some products (like Thalidomide) we can learn the devastating impact in a matter of months and take regulatory action within a few years of consistent examples. With carcinogens, those same lessons take astute observers Like the German government) decades to understand, and laggards like corrupt American legislators (who are controlled by biased lobbyists) and our inept regulatory agencies much longer to act upon

IF America immediately banned PBDEs, (as more thoughtful modern nations have already done), the effects of millions of pounds of residual PCBs, plus far more of the current PBDEs, have already permanently impacted the minds and bodies of million of American children, and will continue to do so for multiple future generations. The longer we wait, the harder that this fully preventable problem will be to solve.

Clinical Studies Of The Damage Now Being Done By Pervasive PDBEs

The Environmental Working Group ( ) has been intelligently studying PBDEs and cautioning against their use for years. In their study published Sept 23, 2003, ( ) EWG documented very-high PBDE levels in the breast milk of nursing mothers, in stark contrast to the much lower PBDE levels in European mothers.

A growing body of research in laboratory animals has linked PBDE exposure to an array of adverse health effects including thyroid hormone disruption, permanent learning and memory impairment, behavioral changes, hearing deficits, delayed puberty onset, decreased sperm count, fetal malformations and, possibly, cancer. Research in animals shows that exposure to brominated fire retardants in-utero or during infancy leads to more significant harm than exposure during adulthood, and that this damage occurs at much lower levels of exposure. Some of these studies have found toxic effects at levels much lower than are now detected in all tested nursing American mothers.

Many questions remain, but new evidence raises concerns that low levels of PBDE exposure pose a significant health risk to developing animals, and may pose a health risk to human fetuses, infants and children at levels less than currently measured in all tested American women.

The indication that PBDEs can cause subtle neurological defects in developing animals reinforces what researchers have learned over the past 30 years about the structurally similar, but much better studied, PCBs. Used primarily as electrical insulators, PCBs were found to be rapidly building up in people and animals before they were banned in 1977. Although levels are now declining, PCBs persist in the environment and cause a number of well-documented health problems. PBDEs are now far more pervasive than PCBs ever were, especially in products that we physically contact every night and day.

Many of the known health effects of PBDEs are thought to stem from their ability to disrupt the body's thyroid hormone balance, by depressing levels of the T3 and T4 hormones, which are important to normal metabolism. In adults, hypothyroidism can cause fatigue, depression, anxiety, unexplained weight gain (an American epidemic), hair loss and low libido.

Hypothyroidism can lead to more serious problems if left untreated, but the consequences of depressed thyroid hormone levels on developing fetuses and infants can be devastating. One study found that women whose levels of T4 measured in the lowest 10 percent of the population during the first trimester of pregnancy were more than 2.5 times as likely to have a child with an IQ of less than 85 (in the lowest 20 percent of the range of IQs) and five times as likely to have a child with an IQ of less than 70, meeting the diagnosis of "mild retardation." An IQ less than 85 can be associated with serious consequences. Two-thirds of children who drop out of high school have IQs below 85. (IQ 100 is “average intelligence.”)

Even short-term exposures to commercial PBDE mixtures can alter thyroid hormone levels in animals, and the effects are even more profound in fetuses and young animals than in adults. These results are ominous as data in humans indicate that pregnancy itself stresses the thyroid, and developing fetuses and infants do not have the thyroid hormone reserves adults do to help buffer insults to the system.


Most studies on thyroid hormone disruption by PBDEs have been short-term, with exposures of only 14 days or less. One study found higher rates of hypothyroidism among workers exposed to long-term brominated fire retardants on the job.

The real question that skeptics are asking is how low exposure of PBDEs over the long term affects the body's thyroid hormone balance.  The answer is very important, because the entire U.S. population is continually exposed to low levels of PBDEs. The studies of other thyroid hormone disrupters have found that long-term exposures can cause more serious harm at lower levels of exposure. The duration of exposure may be more significant than the level of exposure (which are also rapidly increasing in America).

Because the developing brain is known to be extremely sensitive to even mild neurotoxins, researchers have begun to examine whether short-term exposures to PBDEs at critical times could have long-term effects. The results are alarming: small doses of PBDEs administered to fetal or newborn mice and rats caused deficits in learning ability, memory and hearing, changes in behavior, and delays in sensory-motor development. Many of these effects were found to worsen with age, long after PBDE exposure was terminated.

Permanent Damage With Only One Exposure

Experiments have shown that just one dose of PBDEs at a critical point in brain development can cause lasting brain defects. In two different studies, a small dose (0.8 milligrams per kilogram of body weight per day), given to 10-day-old mice caused "deranged spontaneous behavior," significant deficits in learning and memory and reduced ability to adapt to new environments, with these problems often becoming more pronounced with age.

This research also demonstrated the heightened sensitivity of the mammalian brain at certain critical phases of development. Earlier exposures caused "significantly impaired spontaneous motor behavior" and "persistent neurotoxic effects."

These animal studies do not state that all learning and attention deficits are caused by PBDEs, but they do support speculation that recent increases in environmental toxins like PCBs, PBBs and PBDEs are cumulative contributions to the current trend of the dumbing down of American children.

Other animal studies have shown that early-life exposures to PBDEs, often at relatively low levels, can lead to delays in sensory-motor development, hearing deficits, as well as changes in activity levels and fear responses. At this point, scientists do not understand exactly how PBDEs affect neurological development. But there is evidence that PBDEs (or their various metabolic byproducts) are acting through several different mechanisms, including mimicking thyroid hormones, increasing the rate of hormone clearance in the body, and interfering with essential intracellular body function communication.

In addition to their impact on thyroid hormones and neurological development, PBDEs have been linked to a gamut of other health impacts in laboratory animals, ranging from subtle to dramatic. For example, several new studies found that early-life exposure to PBDEs has significant reproductive effects including decreasing the weight of male rat reproductive organs. In studies of pregnant animals, PBDE exposure was associated with enlarged livers and raised serum cholesterol. In-utero exposures have also been associated with serious harm to the fetus, including limb and ureter (urine duct) malformation, enlarged hearts, bent ribs, fused stemebrae and delayed bone hardening. The malformations of the fetus were consistently seen at levels much lower than doses harmful to the mouse mothers, the lowest being 2 and 5 mg/kg-day, respectively. But more subtle reproductive effects, such as decreased sperm count and changes in the sub-cellular structure of the ovaries, were seen at incredibly low doses - just 0.06 mg/kg-day. Different individuals react to exposure in varying degrees and diverse ways, suggesting that some are genetically predisposed to be more resistant or susceptible.

The few studies that have looked at changes in organ structure have found that semi-chronic PBDE exposure can cause thyroid hyperplasia (overgrowth of thyroid tissue) and enlarged livers at relatively low doses (10 mg/kg-day) and other adverse effects such as abnormal cell functioning, localized cell death and deformation in the kidney, changes in the liver's cellular structure, decreased hemoglobin and red blood cell counts at higher doses.


Only one commercial PBDE mixture has been clinically tested for its ability to cause cancer, in a single study more than 15 years ago. One form of PBDE (deca-BDE) that was given to rats and mice caused malignant liver, thyroid and pancreas tumors. This form is the least easily absorbed and the most rapidly eliminated of the PBDEs. Recent research indicates that other similar PBDEs can cause genetic recombination in cells, which raises more concern about the risk of cancer introduced by PBDEs. As a result, scientists believe that the congeners with fewer bromines are likely to be far more carcinogenic than the form that was studied 15 years ago. These scientists have strongly urged that such tests be conducted, but despite all of the large body of evidence, funding has not been made available and unbelievably, unlike Europe, American has failed to ban the use of PBDEs (as was done long ago with PCBs and PBBs).

Consequently, America’s use of PBDEs has skyrocketed in the last three decades, with the most widely used forms nearly doubling between 1992 and 2001. The market for PBDEs exploded after the 1978 ban of a related class of brominated fire retardants called poly-brominated biphenyls (PBBs). Once widely used as fire retardants, PBBs were banned following the detection of contaminated cattle feed in Michigan during 1973 and 1974 that exposed 9 million people to tainted meat and dairy products. Although there was clear evidence that brominated flame retardants were problematic, American manufacturers rushed to use the un-banned, un-tested PBDEs to meet their mandated flame retardant requirements, without responsibly investigating the long-term impact of this foolish profit-motivated behavior.

Today, half of the PBDEs used worldwide are in the Americas, with 73 million pounds introduced into our products in 2001 alone. Led by U.S. and Canada, we use 95 percent of the global supply of one type of PBDE, which is the form most easily taken up by animals and people. An unknown amount of PBDEs, probably millions of pounds, is also imported into the country each year in goods manufactured outside of America (to our flame retardant specifications).


Only eight companies manufacture PBDEs worldwide, with the largest in the U.S.: Great Lakes Chemical  and Albemarle. In 2002, Great Lakes reported total sales for all products of $1.4 billion, up 4% from the previous year. Albermarle reported sales of $980 million, up 7%. These corporations are already notorious as the manufacturers of methyl bromide, a volatile, acutely toxic, ozone-depleting pesticide gas used to fumigate strawberries, tomatoes and other crops. Albemarle also has the dubious distinction of being a spin-off of Ethyl Corp., whose leaded gasoline additive was banned in the U.S. in 1972.

America’s Failure to Protect Our Children With Common Sense Regulations

Today’s evidence of PBDE contamination in women's bodies and breast milk in the US should come as no a surprise. The potential new millennium impact was well documented and very predictable two decades ago, shortly after PCBs and PBBs were banned and the use of PBDEs exploded. The evidence against PBDEs was strong enough that bans were proposed in Germany, Sweden and the Netherlands in the 1980s.

Industrial users of the chemicals agreed to voluntarily phase them out in Germany in 1986, with the manufacturers and users in other European countries following a few years later. Germany placed official limits on PBDE use under its Dioxin Ordinance, because of the tendency for PBDEs to release dangerous dioxins when burned. As concern spread to other countries, the European Union launched a scientific review of the safety of PBDEs, originally with respect to electronics waste. Later, the European Union announced a ban on two common easily-absorbed PBDE mixtures in all products.

The early efforts to reduce PBDE use in Europe are paying off. Researchers have found that PBDE levels in Swedish breast milk rose exponentially from 1972 to 1997, but since that year have begun to decline: PBDE levels in Swedish women dropped about 30 percent between 1997 and 2001. These results are encouraging for Europeans, but frustrating for American parents and those who hope to product healthy children in the future.

The European studies demonstrate that IF even partial protections are enacted, and PBDE use ceases or declines, the human body burden of PBDEs will also decrease after a lag-time of several years or more. However, given the massive amount of PBDEs in U.S. homes, and the much higher levels than in European women, PBDE body burdens in Americans might take decades to decline significantly. All American children born from the 1980’s, until at least a decade after PBDE bans are eventually put in place, are at risk for the documented health problems caused by the indiscretions of the inept American government regulatory agencies and product manufacturers.

Despite that fact that PBDE concentrations in Americans and their environment are 75 times higher than those found in Europe, the U.S. government has so far done nothing to counter this rapidly escalating problem - nor did it do anything to prevent it after banning PCBs and PBBs, when even simple safety testing could have flagged the problem in its infancy.

Like almost all industrial chemicals, the health effects of PBDEs foolishly went virtually unstudied at the dawn of their use in commercial products. In 1994, EPA outrageously misstated that the waste stream from the production of (Octa and Deca) PBDEs "should not be listed as hazardous." The only other American standard governing PBDEs is the requirement that companies that manufacture or use large amounts of (Deca) PBDEs report their chemical pollution under the Toxics Release Inventory.

State Action - Ineffective First Steps

State legislation was introduced in California, Maine and Michigan in 2003 that would ban or restrict the use of several types of PBDEs. While these bills are a welcome first step, they all fall short of what is needed to prevent further build up of these persistent, bio-accumulative and toxic chemicals.

A bill passed by the Maine legislature (LD 743), and signed into law in May, 2003 requires electronic manufacturers or importers to phase out all brominated fire retardants and several other toxic substances such as lead, mercury and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) by 2006. But producers can apply for exemptions if they can convince officials that there are no feasible alternatives. Of course, the law does nothing about the pervasive brominated fire retardants in non-electronic products. Bills that would have banned the use of PBDEs in all products by 2006 were introduced in Michigan during 2003 and 2002, respectively), yet have failed to progress in the legislature.

The California standards, signed into law in July 2003, ban two commercial PBDE mixtures, (Penta and Octa), but exempt the most widely used PBDE product (Deca). This is troublesome, as numerous studies have shown that the types of PBDEs in this commercial product can break down into other forms that are much more bio-accumulative and bio-reactive, and which are included in the proposed California legislation. The California law also gives PBDE producers and users until 2008 to stop using the chemicals, despite the fact that another 365 million pounds of PBDEs will be put into American couches, easy chairs, cars, planes, buses and other consumer products before the phase-out date in five years. Finally, the California law doesn't require manufacturers to label PBDE-containing products, a provision that would have allowed consumers to make more informed decisions, rewarded the companies who have already shifted away from PBDEs, and provided extra incentive to manufacturers and users to speed their conversion to new fire retardants, materials, or design.

State legislative regulation, of commonplace products that are being produced across the nation (and around the world for import into the U.S.) is not at all effective. State legislative actions do combine with European legislation to place a very bright spotlight on the obvious fact that American federal legislation, regulative agencies and product review processes are being administered by lazy, inept, corrupted individuals who are completely asleep at the wheel, an unconcerned by what their inaction is continuing to do to us all, ESPECIALLY to our children born since the 1980s.

The various forms of PBDEs

One of the major special interest manufacturer / consumer debates about regulation of PBDEs centers on the effects of the various forms of PBDEs. Scientists have learned that lighter PBDE molecules with five or fewer bromine atoms are almost totally absorbed by the body, slowly eliminated (highly bio-accumulative), and they cause significant health effects, when mammals are exposed to relatively low levels. In contrast, heavier PBDEs with more bromines are less readily absorbed, less bio-accumulative, more quickly eliminated by the body, meaning that they are found at lower levels in living creatures.

Fire retardant manufacturers have long claimed that Deca PBDE is "very poorly absorbed," (less than 2 percent of an oral dose is absorbed) and rapidly excreted (with almost complete excretion within 72 hours). Thus, they incorrectly stated that it would be virtually impossible for Deca to enter women's bodies and even more unlikely for it to pass into breast milk. Despite these un-tested optimistic assurances, the demonstrated truth is that measurable levels of Deca were detected in eighty percent of young mothers at levels up to 1 ppb, as well as thirty five percent of women in Dr. Schecter's recent Texas study - at concentrations as high as 8 ppb. The manufacturers’ misleading misinformation has been clearly shown to be false.

Fire retardant manufacturers estimated the concentrations in breast milk of a mother working to disassemble computer monitors. Their biased, misleading modeling involved two incorrect speculative (unfounded) scenarios, the "Reasonable Estimate" using "plausible, yet conservative" assumptions and the "Upper Estimate" using "absolute worst-case exposures."

They concluded: A "significant health risk is not expected for children under any of the scenarios evaluated, even using extremely conservative assumptions. Therefore, no further, more detailed evaluation of (Deca PBDE) is warranted to ensure adequate health protection for young children."

The industry should take a closer look at the everyday exposures for American mothers before they falsely claim that their product is safe. In fact, in two recent studies, EWG found levels of Deca in young mothers who were not occupationally exposed to be 6 to 40 times higher than the industry's misleading “absolute worst-case exposure model” for women disassembling computers at work. They intentionally grossly underestimated the effect of PBDE exposure (for obvious motivation), and even when proven to have lied, have gone unpunished, and their profits continue to spiral upward.

Toxic effects of Deca PBDE

New research now indicates that the “relatively safe” Deca PBDE is actually much more toxic than was previously suggested. Deca has been shown to exhibit some of the same effects on newborn rats and mice as lighter PBDEs with fewer bromines (which are easier than heavier Deca PBDE for the body to absorb). How can this be true?

Deca PBDE can quickly degrade into PBDEs with fewer bromines, which are more toxic and more likely to accumulate in human beings. Numerous studies now show that when exposed to sunlight, the higher-weight PBDEs (like Deca) can be converted to the more toxic light weight PBDEs with fewer bromines. Many American products that contain PBDEs are routinely exposed to the sun. This degradation in the environment has been observed for structurally similar chemicals like the previously-banned poly-brominated biphenyls (PBBs) and PCBs. In laboratory conditions, Deca can degrade to 50 percent of its original mass in as little as 15 minutes, and one study found that after five days just 6 percent of the Deca remained un-degraded.

The bottom line is that all chemicals in the PBDE family have the potential to cause serious environmental and health problems - some alone, some through their breakdown byproducts, others by interacting with other toxic chemicals, and all by interfering with important life processes in the environment, wildlife and most regrettably in humans, especially the young. The chemical industry, trying to save a highly profitable product (Deca), is falsely lobbying legislators that most PBDEs are harmless. The available evidence strongly argues against their lies, which European countries understood and acted upon in time to prevent a crisis like America is now having. In the real world environment, Deca degrades into the chemicals that are banned in Europe and California. To prevent a bad situation from getting much worse and taking much longer to correct, America should be phase out all PBDEs, without further inept bureaucratic political delays.

Affordable PBDE Replacements

For most uses of brominated fire retardants, there are already cost-effective chemical replacements on the marketplace. Aluminum trihydroxide and various phosphorous-based compounds are some of the most common alternatives. But rather than replacing one chemical with another that is unstudied and might also be toxic (as was done with PBBs to PBDEs), a better long-term solution might be to redesign products so that chemical fire retardants are not needed to meet fire safety regulations.

The U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission recently reported that adding fire retardants to foam offered very little additional protection from fire: "CPSC laboratory tests have demonstrated that the properties of actual filling materials have little or no effect on the small open flame ignition resistance of full-scale chairs." Simply using a barrier fabric and less flammable foam can achieve the same level of fire safety. Similarly, increasing the density of polyurethane foam or using materials that are naturally less flammable can eliminate the need for chemical fire retardants.

Another non-toxic tactic to prevent fire is to control sources of fire ignition. One target is unhealthy cigarettes, which are directly responsible for the most fatal fires. New York state blamed cigarettes for 199 deaths from 1997 to 2001, making smoking materials the most frequent cause of fatal blazes during that period. In response, the state passed legislation to require that cigarettes sold by mid-2004 must be self-extinguishing. This can be easily accomplished by wrapping the tobacco in a heavier paper and removing the chemicals added to cigarette wrappers to promote burning. The tobacco industry is expected to fight the legislation in court (self-centered, death-causing, business as usual).

Trade groups and fire retardant producers such as the California Manufacturers and Technology Association, California Retailers Association, the American Electronics Association and Great Lakes Chemical vigorously opposed the California PBDE. However, facing restrictions on PBDE use in the European Union, many U.S. manufacturers moved to find alternatives to PBDEs, even in the absence of reasonable American regulation legislation. Computer and electronics companies such as Apple, Dell, IBM, Motorola, Panasonic, Phillips and Sony are already producing some PBDE-free or BFR-free products (inspired by EU legislative intelligence). Ericsson, Intel, Phillips, Sony and Toshiba recently announced a complete ban of PBDEs in advance of the EU regulation by 2006. IKEA and Ericsson have thoughtfully taken additional steps toward moving away from using any halogens (bromine, chlorine, fluorine or iodine) in their products. If America would merely require products containing PBDE to be labeled, intelligent consumers would reward thoughtful manufactures with more business, which would make the corrupt, inept, foot-dragging American politicians and regulatory agencies somewhat less frustrating than they are today.

Fire retardant manufacturers are scrambling to find a replacement for Penta PBDE used in foam furniture padding. The Swedish furniture giant IKEA was forced to phase out brominated fire retardants in all its products, due to European limits on the chemical's use. They accomplished this by changing product design, using naturally less-flammable materials, and employing alternative fire retardants if needed. Hickory Springs of Conover, N.C., a major polyurethane foam producer, is working with Akzo Nobel, a chemical manufacturer, to test a non-halogenated, phosphorous-based fire retardant. Hickory Springs says it was motivated by requests from forward thinking companies such as IKEA, Crate & Barrel and Eddie Bauer for PBDE-free furniture.

No safety studies on most toxic chemicals

Several US states have taken important steps to phase-out a handful of brominated fire retardants. This is the first step toward protecting consumer safety, but it offers incomplete protection as long as manufacturers are not required to test the impact of replacement chemicals on human health, before they go into nationwide use. We can now look back and see that the government ban on PBBs thoughtlessly CREATED the subsequent explosion in use of PBDEs, which ultimately may cause far more damage than PBBs did.


There is very little data on the toxicity of the alternative fire retardants that are currently being developed or are already in use as alternatives to PBDEs. This is largely because of well-documented shortcomings in the America’s toxin laws, inept regulatory agencies and our corrupt politicized legislative process. The chief regulatory statute for commercial chemicals is the weak Toxic Substances Control Act.  TSCA is internationally infamous for its total failure to lend meaningful authority to the Environmental Protection Agency.

The rapidly expanding American PBDE crisis, enormous predictable socio-economic health impact, and uncertainty surrounding replacement chemicals provide another disturbing illustration of the ongoing endless failures of the American regulatory system that allows persistent, bio-accumulative toxins onto the marketplace before they have been adequately tested for safety. Or worse yet, allows documented toxins into widespread use, even after preliminary tests have documented significant risks. With PBDEs, America is again reaping the high costs of inept regulation, in terms of health and productivity, of this industry-favored system, with no concern for the suffering, emotional distress and economic impact on parents, children, future government-subsidized medical costs, and the reduced average intelligence of multiple generations born since 1980.

Under the current system, the EPA barely reviews new chemicals through a process that does NOT require health and safety test data, which actually discourages voluntary testing. Companies submit only basic biased estimated short-term toxicity data for fewer than half of all applications for new chemicals, and the government approves 80 percent of these with no use limits and no requests for tests to justify their profit-motivated, optimistic speculation.

Eight of 10 new chemicals win approval in less than three weeks, at an average rate of seven a day. How many hundreds of new PCB, PBB and PBDE-like toxins are already in the products we now use? What long-term impacts are already unavoidable? How long until we discover the underlying cause-and-effect.

In the early days of underground mining, workers died when they suddenly encountered poisonous gases. Those who survived learned to carry a canary with them into the mines. These small birds are more sensitive to mine gases than are humans. If the canary died, miners knew to leave the toxic environment quickly. Today, our own human children are the only canaries that we have for sensing the toxic environment that modern humans have foolishly created with no regard for multiple future generations. Even AFTER more-intelligent international governments have already studied environmental toxins and legislated against those produced by unnecessary industrial chemicals, American politicians continue to be corrupted by the small number of greedy firms who greatly profit by poisoning our people.

Perhaps worse, the weak American controls on new chemicals still turn a blind eye on our old ones. When TSCA was enacted in 1976, more than 63,000 chemicals already in use were "grandfathered" - granted blanket approval for continued use in consumer and industrial products with absolutely no requirement for further study. Most brominated fire retardants fell into this loophole and won implicit approval for widespread use in consumer products with no required health and safety testing. In 1998, the EPA and the non-profit organization Environmental Defense reviewed all of the toxicity and environmental fate studies publicly available and found no information - not even one single test - for forty three percent of the 2,600 chemicals that are produced in the highest volumes in the U.S. Chemical manufacturers are unlikely to hand over any internal information that might be damning for their chemical products, nor do they have much incentive to fill any significant scientific data gaps that they may identify during product development and use.

We do not have to expose our children to toxins to protect them from fire

There is no question that fire safety is important and that making products fire-resistant can save lives. Chemical fire retardants have become ubiquitous over the last few decades, but a wide variety of alternative fire safety strategies exist. Using less-flammable materials or changing the product design so that it is inherently more fire resistant, are chemical-free solutions. Using less toxic chemicals as fire retardants is another option.

Need For Bio-Monitoring

The current system for bio-monitoring and related epidemiological studies in the U.S. is completely inadequate for identifying and tracking the multitude of chemicals Americans are accumulating and carrying in our bodies. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has conducted two bio-monitoring studies that examined up to 116 environmental chemicals in the blood and urine of 2,500 people. But this is just a tiny subset of the thousands of chemicals we are exposed to every day in varying amounts in diverse locations. The news about these chemicals will always have a lag-time of several years or decades when investigating news of emerging contaminants of concern such as PBDEs, etc. Furthermore, the CDC study measured only four chemicals in children younger than six years old and did not look at any contaminants in breast milk, both of which are important for estimating chemical exposures to these most sensitive subpopulations.

In an age where chemical industries are releasing millions of tons of chemicals into our environment, and chemical manufacturers gain permission to put more than 2,000 new chemicals into the biosphere each year, America desperately needs the quantitative feedback of a much better bio-monitoring system. Such minimal information would serve as an early warning system for chemicals that are building up in our bodies. We could track trends in chemical levels over time, link them more accurately to cause-and-effect health trends, and most importantly, justify prompt regulatory action when necessary. (But then who would expect such information technology improvements to emerge in a country that cannot even implement a fair way to count votes, much less eliminate special-interest-group politician corruption – a nation where the FAA still can’t talk to the FBI, CIA, DOD, or executive branch? In fact, most bureaucratic government departments in the EPA, etc. can’t even communicate with other parts of the same organization!)

PBDE Recommendations

EWG's tests of mothers' milk are the latest evidence that Americans are being exposed to potentially harmful levels of serious toxins like PBDE fire retardants. The bad news is that trivial efforts by both American government and private industry in the U.S. lag far behind Europe, which has already phased out some of these toxins, and is thoughtfully studying the health impact of others.


The good news is that European studies show that levels of fire retardants in the human body begin to decline if exposure is reduced. This means that prompt action by government agencies and the companies that make these chemicals can make an important difference. To a lesser extent, personal actions can also reduce your exposure.

What should the American government do?

·         The U.S. EPA should phase out all PBDEs and other toxic fire retardants as quickly as possible. California has already moved to ban some PBDEs in 2008, and Massachusetts is considering a similar law. In the interim, all products containing PBDEs should be labeled so that consumers have the option of choosing products without them.

·         EPA must screen all new and existing chemicals for their health effects. In particular, potential replacement fire retardants must be adequately tested to ensure that they are not persistent, bio-accumulative or toxic. Testing must include the outcomes most relevant to children's health. Changes in product design that decrease the need for chemical fire retardants should be encouraged over simply switching to a different, less studied chemical.

·         The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention should expand the fledgling national bio-monitoring program to include a greater number of chemicals and people. The study provides critical data in identifying chemicals that are accumulating in our bodies and in the environment; tracking trends in exposure; providing data needed to more fully understand human health risks; and helping EPA and other agencies effectively transition businesses to safer, less persistent chemicals than those in current common use.

·         Congress should increase funding for urgently needed additional research on toxic fire retardants, including their health effects, how they get into the human body, and current levels of accumulation in people, animals and the environment.

What should private industry do?

In the absence of government regulation, U.S. manufacturers and users of chemical fire retardants should voluntarily follow, support and comply with the European ban (which will inevitably reach slow-moving America). Chemical companies should work to minimize the toxicity of existing fire retardants and thoroughly test replacement chemicals for safety now, to reduce future product liability and eventual mandated conversion expense. Companies who use fire retardants in their products should follow the lead of some computer makers and others, who are redesigning their products so that harmful fire retardants are not needed. Retailers should follow the example of IKEA and other companies in demanding that their suppliers avoid the use of toxic chemical fire retardants that are banned in more prudent countries.

What should parents and other concerned consumers do?

Our homes and offices are already filled with brominated fire retardants in products including foam-padded furniture, computer and television screens, and the padding underneath our mattresses and carpets. The 2003 EWG breast milk study, and others, have shown that exposure to brominated fire retardants is unavoidable. EWG detected them in the body of every participant, regardless of their occupation, diet, or lifestyle.


Even if these toxic fire retardants were phased out immediately, our exposure to them would continue for decades through the water we drink, foods we eat, products already in our houses and where we work. In the absence of intelligent government safeguards to ban persistent toxins from household products, or label products containing the most toxic forms of fire retardants, parents should consider the following options:

·         Avoid degraded or crumbing foam padding that might contain fire retardants. Replace or cover couches, stuffed chairs, automobile seats that have exposed foam. Reupholster padded furniture in homes where children or pregnant women live.

·         Be careful when removing and replacing the foam padding beneath your carpet. Remove old carpet padding from your home and clean up well when finished.

·         Buy products with natural fibers (cotton and wool), which are naturally more fire resistant.


Many other persistent pollutants, some of which have been banned for decades, still contaminate the environment and end up in the food we eat, the water we drink, and the air we breathe. Recently, EWG has reported on the presence of toxic chemicals in a wide range of consumer products including foam-padded furniture, food wrappers and wintertime lettuce. In the case of toxic fire retardants, chemical companies have fought proposals that they label their products to give consumers information about the chemicals in consumer products.


Yet exposures to many persistent pollutants CAN be reduced through a varied diet that contains fewer meat and high fat dairy products (which accumulate PBDEs. Other chemical exposures, like toxic substances in household cleaners, can be avoided altogether. It is especially important for children, pregnant or breast feeding mothers or women considering pregnancy to avoid chemical exposures. Some simple tips for reducing exposures to, or impacts of, industrial chemicals are:

·         Breastfeed your child! Breastfeeding offers significant health benefits to both mother and infant. In addition, breast milk contains beneficial compounds such as Omega-3 fatty acids that are not found in infant formula and support optimal infant development, particularly for body systems most affected by PCBs, lead, and other toxic chemicals.

·         Eat fewer processed foods, which often contain chemical additives.

·         Eat organic produce. It's free of pesticides and preservative chemicals.

·         Don't microwave food in plastic containers. Use glass or ceramics.

·         Run your tap water through a home filter before drinking. Filters can reduce levels of common tap water pollutants.

·         Eat fewer meat and high fat dairy products, which contain higher levels of some pollutants.

·         Reduce the number of cosmetics and other personal care products you use, which can contain harmful chemicals and can be sold with no safety testing.

·         Avoid artificial fragrances.

·         Don't use stain repellants on clothing, bedding or upholstery.

·         Reduce the number of household cleaners you use. Try soap and water first.

·         Avoid using gasoline-powered yard tools — use manual or electric tools instead.

·         Avoid breathing gasoline fumes when you're filling your car.

·         Eat seafood known to be low in PCB and mercury contamination, including wild Alaska salmon and canned salmon. Avoid canned tuna — it contains mercury.


How much toxic poison should you be exposed to?


- How many times should you pull the trigger in a game of Russian roulette?


Increased time-and-amount of carcinogen exposure normally increases your risk of activating cancer-generating processes. Carcinogen-exposure-related risks may be added to other known cancer risk factors, such as: inherited genetic tendencies, skin type, body fat, lifestyle choices, nutrition, exercise, etc. Some lifestyle choices, such as good nutrition (antioxidants, etc.), exercise, mental activity and attitude, may help mitigate some of the carcinogen-exposure risk factors (but cannot eliminate all risk of cancer).


Understanding your personal risk factors, lifestyle behavior modifications, and early detection of new cancer can often diminish the potential impact of otherwise uncontrolled cancer growth. Medical research scientists have been working for many decades to discover cancer treatments. In some cases, the expensive treatments themselves have caused great pain, suffering, emotional distress, accelerated aging and even doctor-induced (iatrogenic) death. It is far better to reduce the risk, and thus prevent, cancer, than to try to cure “metastasized” (wide spread) growing cancer after it is established.


One significant problem in carcinogen exposure education is that there is normally a long cause-and-effect time lag between carcinogen exposure and the first detection of the growth of a new cancer. For example, a single severe sunburn as a child can trigger skin cancer decades later. Alcohol consumption can take decades to trigger breast cancer and many other diseases. Some people can smoke for decades before they are ravaged by lung cancer and respiratory ailments.


For these reasons, education about the negative impact of carcinogen exposure (and other health lifestyle choices) should be taught by health professionals and by caring parents to their children at an early age, and then practiced consistently for our entire lifetime. One analogy is that avoiding excess sunlight may be as important for some as wearing a seat belt. If parents allow their children to ride in a car without a seat belt, or get a severe sunburn, the parents are doing a great disservice and increasing long term health risks for the ones that they love. The solution begins with the acquisition of essential knowledge.


How Pervasive Are Known Carcinogens?


The above material discusses some significant environmental cancer causing agents. The following paragraphs introduce “styrene,” which is a less significant carcinogen, BUT styrene is pervasive – we are exposed to styrene almost everywhere we go. For some people, the cumulative damage of long-term low-level exposure may add up to deadly cancer.


Joyful Aging introduces this topic to show how very uninformed most Americans are about the chemicals in our everyday man-made environment, which constantly cause many health problems that are difficult to trace back to their original source. Joyful Aging does not recommend that you attempt to completely avoid pervasive styrene (that may be nearly impossible to do in America), but we are suggesting that you at least be aware that the chemicals that we are exposed to everyday, may play at least a minor role in the cause-and-effect of many modern medical problems.


If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, styrene may be one of many different possible sources. If you are attempting to get pregnant, carrying a child, nursing or raising a child, you may wish to become better informed about possible heath impacts.


What is styrene?

Styrene is primarily a synthetic chemical. Billions of pounds are produced each year to make products such as many food containers, plastic packaging, carpet backing, home-and-office insulation, rubber, fiberglass, pipes and automobile parts. Most of these products contain styrene linked together in a long chain (polystyrene), along with unlinked styrene. Styrene enters the environment during its manufacture, use, and disposal of billions of pounds. Pervasive styrene is in our air, water, food and soil. Most of us breathe it, drink it, eat it and touch it everyday.


Styrene is a colorless liquid that evaporates easily and has a pleasant, sweet smell. It often contains other chemicals, which may give it a sharp “plastic” smell. Styrene is a corrosive chemical that reacts vigorously with compounds having a labile hydrogen (including water) in the presence of catalysts such as acids, bases and certain salts.


How are we exposed to styrene?


How does styrene affect our health?

People who breathe high levels of styrene, are likely to experience nervous system effects such as depression, concentration problems, muscle weakness, tiredness, and nausea, which can be difficult to explain, since styrene has not have an offensive smell. High levels of styrene vapor can cause eye, nose, and throat irritation. If you suspect that you are being exposed to high levels of styrene, consider an alternative lifestyle. Avoid hot food and drinks served in styrene (e.g., Styrofoamtm), ESPECIALLY acidic products: lemon, citric acid, carbonic acid (fizzy drinks), meats, tomato, etc.


Urine and blood tests are available for level of styrene exposure. Test results drop rapidly after the styrene exposure source is removed, suggesting a rapid reduction in subsequent styrene- related health risks, cancer, etc.


Animal studies show that ingestion of high levels of styrene over several weeks causes measurable damage to the liver, kidneys, brain, and lungs. Damage to the liver greatly accelerates aging and causes serious medical problems throughout the body (leading to an untimely death). When animals breathed styrene vapors in short-term studies, the lining of the nose was quickly damaged. Styrene applied to the skin of rabbits, causes obvious irritation.


There has been little funding available for public health studies on the human health impact of long-term exposure to styrene. The myopic assumption seems to be: “Styrene is everywhere, therefore it must not me harmful.”


There is little information on human health impact from eating, drinking, breathing or touching styrene. In animal studies, short-term exposure to styrene resulted in reproductive and developmental effects, but this alarming information failed to motivate human studies about how extensively styrene exposure affects human reproduction and fetal development. Would YOU like to participate is such a study?


How likely is styrene to cause cancer? The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has determined that styrene is probably carcinogenic to humans. Most humans are very bad at understanding cause-and-effect that takes place over decades. How many people who have liver, kidney, brain or lung problems have considered the scientific fact that styrene has been unambiguously shown in clinical laboratory test to do similar damage in multiple animal studies? This certainly is NOT understood by hundred of millions of Americans who buy and use mountains of styrene products.


Human tissues prefer to be alkaline as a defense against many diseases. Things that make tissues acidic increase the risk of cancer.


Workers exposed to styrene vapors excrete large amounts of mandelic acid and phenylglyoxylic acid in their urine. DNA and albumin adducts were found in the blood of plastics workers exposed to styrene (Fustinoni et al. 1998). Damage to DNA is precisely what initiates the growth of cancer. Covalent binding of styrene to DNA was observed in the stomachs of rats given styrene orally (Cantoreggi and Lutz 1993). This is what happens to at least a small degree when you consume products packaged or served in styrene. The risk factors increase with quantity and duration of exposure.


There has been little funding for studies on the carcinogenicity of styrene in humans, but more extensive studies in animals that breathe or eat styrene show that it increases the risk of multiple types of cancer, through a variety of poorly understood mechanisms.


Epidemiological scientific studies of workers have shown that breathing styrene is statistically linked to leukemia (cancer of blood-producing tissues).


Has the federal government made recommendations to protect us from styrene exposure? The U.S. Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) has limited workers' exposure to an average of 100 parts per million per 8-hour workday, 40-hour workweek, but industrial exposure monitoring is less than perfect and leukemia continues to be well above average for styrene workers. This suggests that OSHA’s 100 ppm is far too high - It should be much lower. Anyone with leukemia must conder the possibility that styrene exposure may have played at least a partial role in their deadly disease.


The EPA determined that 0.1 part of styrene per million is the maximum that may be present in public drinking water, but monitoring is limited and violations to mandated water quality standards do occur frequently. The EPA also requires that styrene spills or accidental releases into the environment must be reported, but accidents often go unreported (for obvious CYA reasons). Mysterious increases in water supply styrene do happen where the criminal polluters are never caught.


The following U.S. government documents point out that styrene, and hundreds of other common environment toxins, are listed as a known or suspected carcinogens. The controversial problem is that the uninformed public is not being educated about the cancer risk research that has already been done. Posting this information on government Internet web sites does NOT result in improvements in lifestyle or environmental conditions.


What company has the motivation to advertise that the packaging on their common food products may cause cancer? What company would spend the money to do a long-term study to determine if their product causes cumulative health damage?


Is Modern Genetically Engineered Cow’s Milk “Good For You” ?


Modern cow’s milk has been linked to human breast cancer, prostate cancer, juvenile diabetes, and a wide variety of other food allergies, intestinal problems, and devastating diseases. Unpolluted human milk from a healthy mother is the perfect food for most human infants. Milk from free ranging, unmedicated, unpolluted, healthy cows is a perfect food for young calves, but NOT for humans.


Human milk contains essential Human Growth Hormone (HGH). Cow’s milk contains Bovine Growth Hormone (BGH), which is essential for calves, but unhealthy for all humans.


If a newborn human infant is fed fresh cow’s milk, the BGH can kill the human cells that produce insulin, resulting in deadly juvenile diabetes. In calves, BGH accelerates weight gain, and causes cattle to mature sexually, so they can reproduce at a young age. When human adults consume BGH, it is statistically linked to an increased risk of breast caner (in males and females) and prostate cancer in males. Excess growth hormone (of any type) can cause cancer and other deadly diseases in adults. Milk was designed for infants. In some very healthy cultures, adults never consume any type of milk. There are many other excellent sources of necessary nutrients, like calcium, etc.


The unhealthy American practice of periodically injecting cattle with excess BGH has dramatically effects on the unhealthy animals and the food products from them. One documented example is mastitis which causes cows to dump large amounts of pus in their milk.


American recombinant-DNA genetically-engineered Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH) has been wisely been banned in Europe and Canada, but inept, corrupt, U.S. government agencies still allow it.

rBGH is promoted heavily to the gullible American cattle industry by Monsanto (the unscrupulous company that also created Agent Orange and neurotoxic Aspartame). rBGH is known to cause many serious health problems in the cattle that receive it, AND in the food products (meat and milk) produced by them.


Monsanto Pushes Hormones on School Kids in Their Milk


Unambiguously Documented Pervasive U.S. Sources Of Cancer


Americans blindly continue to expose themselves to many well-documented cancer-causing agents every day. They ignore publicly documented high cancer risk factors.


Who can say which source may have caused the cancer that killed someone you loved, or is making you suffer a slow painful death? If cancer occurs in your family, it may be linked in part to genetics, but it is much more likely that environmental carcinogens played a much larger role in carcinogenesis than the DNA inherited by most people.


Familial cancer is often linked to lifestyle habit training by uninformed parents (smoking and alcohol consumption are two of the most significant obvious examples; pervasive styrene exposure for example is a more subtle cancer causing agent).


Your mother may have exposed you to carcinogens in her womb, or through her breast milk, rather than from her chromosomes or those from your father. Many cancers that are common in multiple members of a family could probably jave been avoided by well-informed lifestyle changes.


Changes in voluntary lifestyle choices can undoubtedly reduce the risk of many forms of cancer, by reducing exposure to these sometimes-difficult-to-understand carcinogens. Government agencies do NOT require product manufactures to test and document the level of these well-known carcinogens in their products. Vendors must label the content of a few important nutrients, but NOT the things that are we know can kill you and your family. The government documents the following list of known carcinogens, but NOT their presence in the food we feed our children. This is OUTRAGEOUS STUPIDITY by corrupt public officials.


Even our American water supplies and the air we breathe are contaminated to varying degrees in various locations. Our only option is to study what information is available, and wisely make the best lifestyle choices we can - all things considered.


The following U.S. HHS report is cryptic and difficult to apply. It mentions chemical names, but fails to tell you what products you are now purchasing that contain these pervasive carcinogens. For example, see our material on Bread, for an introduction to Acrylamides (on the following government list of environmental carcinogens).


Many of these insidious cancer-causing toxins are far worse than pervasive styrene. It is beyond Joyful Aging’s resources to document them all in an understandable way, but we have tried to explain the basics in this material. We sincerely hope that you will benefit significantly from our incomplete contribution. Please let us know if we can help you in your personal search for more information.


U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Public Health Service - National Toxicology Program


10th Report on Carcinogens

Carcinogen - Anything that initiates cancer-producing processes,
(or reduces the body’s natural cancer defense mechanisms).


Table of Contents

I. Introduction

II. Carcinogens Listed in the Tenth Report

A. Known to be Human Carcinogens
B. Reasonably Anticipated to be Human Carcinogens

III. Substance Profiles

Adriamycin® (Doxorubicin Hydrochloride)
Alcoholic Beverage Consumption
o-Anisidine Hydrochloride
Arsenic Compounds, Inorganic
Benzidine and Dyes Metabolized to Benzidine
          Dyes Metabolized to Benzidine
Beryllium and Beryllium Compounds
2,2-bis(Bromoethyl)-1,3-propanediol (Technical Grade)
1,4-Butanediol Dimethylsulfonate (Myleran®)
Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA)
Cadmium and Cadmium Compounds
Carbon Tetrachloride
Ceramic Fibers (Respirable Size)
Chlorendic Acid
Chlorinated Paraffins (C12, 60% Chlorine)
1-(2-Chloroethyl)-3-(4-methylcyclohexyl)-1-nitrosourea (MeCCNU)
bis(Chloroethyl) nitrosourea
bis(Chloromethyl) Ether and Technical-Grade Chloromethyl Methyl Ether
p-Chloro-o-toluidine and p-Chloro-o-toluidine Hydrochloride
Chromium Hexavalent Compounds
C.I. Basic Red 9 Monohydrochloride
Coal Tars and Coal Tar Pitches
Coke Oven Emissions
Cyclosporin A
Danthron (1,8-Dihydroxyanthraquinone)
2,4-Diaminoanisole Sulfate
1,2-Dibromoethane (Ethylene Dibromide)
tris(2,3-Dibromopropyl) Phosphate
3,3´-Dichlorobenzidine and 3,3´-Dichlorobenzidine Dihydrochloride
Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane; (DDT)
1,2-Dichloroethane (Ethylene Dichloride)
Dichloromethane (Methylene Chloride)
1,3-Dichloropropene (Technical Grade)
Diesel Exhaust Particulates
Diethyl Sulfate
Diglycidyl Resorcinol Ether
3,3´-Dimethoxybenzidine and Dyes Metabolized to 3,3´-Dimethoxybenzidine
          Dyes Metabolized to 3,3´-Dimethoxybenzidine
3,3´-Dimethylbenzidine and Dyes Metabolized to 3,3´-Dimethylbenzidine
          Dyes Metabolized to 3,3´-Dimethylbenzidine
Dimethylcarbamoyl Chloride
Dimethyl Sulfate
Dimethylvinyl Chloride
Disperse Blue 1
Estrogens, Steroidal
Ethylene Oxide
Ethylene Thiourea
di(2-Ethylhexyl) Phthalate
Ethyl Methanesulfonate
Formaldehyde (Gas)
Glasswool (Respirable Size)
Hydrazine and Hydrazine Sulfate
Iron Dextran Complex
Kepone® (Chlordecone)
Lead Acetate and Lead Phosphate
Lindane and Other Hexachlorocyclohexane Isomers
Methoxsalen with Ultraviolet A Therapy (PUVA)
2-Methylaziridine (Propylenimine)
4,4´-Methylenedianiline and its Dihydrochloride Salt
Methyl Methanesulfonate
Michler's Ketone (4,4'-(Dimethylamino)benzophenone)
Mineral Oils (Untreated and Mildly Treated)
Mustard Gas
Nickel Compounds and Metallic Nickel
          Nickel Compounds
          Metallic Nickel
Nitrilotriacetic Acid
Nitroarenes (selected)
Nitrofen (2,4-Dichlorophenyl-p-nitrophenyl ether)
Nitrogen Mustard Hydrochloride
Ochratoxin A
Phenacetin and Analgesic Mixtures Containing Phenacetin
          Analgesic Mixtures Containing Phenacetin
Phenazopyridine Hydrochloride
Phenoxybenzamine Hydrochloride
Polybrominated Biphenyls (PBBs)
Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs)
Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons, 15 Listings
Procarbazine Hydrochloride
1,3-Propane Sultone
Propylene Oxide
Selenium Sulfide
Silica, Crystalline (Respirable Size)
Strong Inorganic Acid Mists Containing Sulfuric Acid
2,3,7,8-Tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD); "Dioxin"
Tetrachloroethylene (Perchloroethylene)
Thorium Dioxide
Tobacco Related Exposures
          Environmental Tobacco Smoke
          Smokeless Tobacco
          Tobacco Smoking
Toluene Diisocyanate
o-Toluidine and o-Toluidine Hydrochloride
Ultraviolet Radiation Related Exposures
          Broad-Spectrum Ultraviolet (UV) Radiation
          Solar Radiation
          Sunlamps or Sunbeds, Exposure to
          Ultraviolet A Radiation
          Ultraviolet B Radiation
          Ultraviolet C Radiation
Vinyl Bromide
Vinyl Chloride
4-Vinyl-1-cyclohexene Diepoxide
Vinyl Fluoride
Wood Dust

IV. Tables

Table 1.Chemicals Nominated to the NTP for In-Depth Toxicological Evaluation or Carcinogenesis Testing in Fiscal Years 1988-2001

Table 2.CDC/NIOSH Response to Inquiries about Carcinogens Listed in the Tenth Report on Carcinogens

  V. Report on Carcinogens Listing/Delisting Procedures


A. Manufacturing Processes, Occupations, and Exposure Circumstances Classified by IARC as Category 1, Carcinogenic to Humans

B. Agents, Substances, Mixtures, or Exposure Circumstances Delisted from the Report on Carcinogens

C. Agents, Substances, Mixtures, or Exposure Circumstances Reviewed but not Recommended for Listing in the Report on Carcinogens

D. List of Participants

E. Glossary

F. Acronyms and Abbreviations

G. Units of Measurement

H. CAS Registry Number Index


See Cancer-Preventing, Antiaging Antioxidants


See How You Cook Can Increase The Risk Of Cancer


See DHHS – 228 Cancer Causing Agents


See American Cancer Society Guide to Nutrition and Exercise


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