Again, I've posted on the importance of buying paraben-free, pthalate-free and fragrance-free shampoos, cosmetics and lotions. Here's some more evidence (this time from the American Medical Association (the AMA)!) for my reasoning. PLEASE invest in these products and contact your elected officials to endorse acts such as the Safe Chemical Act that was introduced in Congress last year. We MUST clean up our products (and food and air and water, etc) if we ever hope to curb the cancer epidemic! For easy product selection, explore the cosmetics database on the website of the Environmental Working Group at http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/.
And have a FANTASTIC weekend!
Time (1/13, Blue) reports in "Healthland" that "researchers have found that paraben traces are present in the tissue of almost all breast cancer patients, whether or not they use antiperspirants." The researchers found that "even patients who'd never used underarm products had paraben traces in their breast tissue." But "that's not surprising, say the authors, since parabens are found in shampoos, make-up, moisturizers, pharmaceuticals and even some food products," in addition to some antiperspirants.
HealthDay (1/13, Doheny) reports, "In the study, published online in January in the Journal of Applied Toxicology," investigators "report that one or more kinds of parabens were found in 158 of the 160 samples taken from the tissue collected from...40 women." The researchers "found 96 samples contained all five of the most common paraben esters (forms)."
WebMD (1/13, Mann) reports, "Paraben levels did not seem to play a role in the cancer's location or whether or not the cancer was fueled by estrogen."
Source: American Medical Association Morning Rounds newsletter, Friday, January 13, 2012.
From the Mount Sinai Children's Environmental Health Center website:
"New data show that, despite previous efforts to curb their use, toxic chemicals have a major impact on health care costs and childhood morbidity.
NEW YORK, NY – May 4, 2011 /Press Release/ –– In three new studies published in the May issue of the journal Health Affairs, Mount Sinai School of Medicine researchers reveal the staggering economic impact of toxic chemicals and air pollutants in the environment, and propose new legislation to mandate testing of new chemicals and also those already on the market.
Leonardo Trasande, MD, Associate Professor of Preventive Medicine and Pediatrics at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, analyzed the costs of conditions – including lead poisoning, childhood cancer, asthma, autism, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) – associated with exposure to toxic chemicals. Dr. Trasande and his team calculated the annual cost for direct medical care and the indirect costs, such as parents’ lost work days, and lost economic productivity caring for their children, of these diseases in children.
The researchers found the annual cost in the United States to be an estimated $76.6 billion, representing 3.5 percent of all U.S. health care costs in 2008. The breakdown includes: lead poisoning ($50.9 billion), autism ($7.9 billion), intellectual disability ($5.4 billion), exposure to mercury pollution ($5.1 billion), ADHD ($5 billion), asthma ($2.2 billion), and childhood cancer ($95 million).
"Our findings show that, despite previous efforts to curb their use, toxic chemicals have a major impact on health care costs and childhood morbidity," said Dr. Trasande. "New policy mandates are necessary to reduce the burden of disease associated with environmental toxins. The prevalence of chronic childhood conditions and costs associated with them may continue to rise if this issue is not addressed."
Dr. Trasande also reviewed an earlier study of 1997 data, which was conducted by Philip J. Landrigan, MD, and documented $54.9 billion in annual costs forchildhood diseases associated with environmental toxins in the United States. Reviewing this prior analysis, Dr. Trasande found that while exposure to lead and costs associated with asthma had diminished, new chemicals and new environmentally-induced diseases, like ADHD, have increased the overall burden of disease. Dr. Landrigan is currently Dean for Global Health, and Professor and Chair of Preventive Medicine, and Professor of Pediatrics, at Mount Sinai School of Medicine.
In a related article also in the current issue of Health Affairs, Dr. Landrigan and Lynn R. Goldman, MD, Dean of the School of Public Health at George Washington University, propose a three-pronged approach to reduce the burden of disease and rein in the effects of toxic chemicals in the environment:
In a separate article in Health Affairs, Perry Sheffield, MD, Assistant Professor of Preventive Medicine at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, evaluated the little-studied correlation between air pollution and infectious respiratory illness in children, and the resultant health care costs.
Dr. Sheffield and her team analyzed hospitalization data between 1999 and 2007 for children aged one month to one year who had bronchiolitis – a type of viral lung infection with symptoms similar to asthma – and monitored the air quality surrounding in the hospitals where the patients were treated. They found a statistically significant association between levels of fine particulate matter pollutant surrounding the hospitals, and total charges and costs for infant bronchiolitis hospitalizations.
Her team revealed that as the amount of air pollutants increased, infant bronchiolitis hospitalization costs increased by an average of $127 per patient. As a result, they concluded that reducing the average level of fine particulate pollutant by just seven percent below the current annual standard could save $15 million annually in U.S. health care costs.
"While more research is required to understand the full effect of air pollutants on infectious disease severity and health care costs, our findings are indicative of the tremendous impact new legislation on air quality control standards could have on the health of our children," said Dr. Sheffield.
To access these three articles in Health Affairs, please visit http://www.healthaffairs.org."
Here's the latest from Medscape (a very trusted medical resource for patients and practitioners alike):
"May 31, 2011 — The World Health Organization (WHO) announced today that radiation from cell phones can possibly cause cancer. According to the WHO's International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), radiofrequency electromagnetic fields have been classified as possibly carcinogenic to humans (group 2B) on the basis of an increased risk for glioma that some studies have associated with the use of wireless phones.
This announcement was based on an extensive review of studies on cell phone safety by a working group of 31 scientists from 14 countries, who have been meeting regularly to evaluate the potential carcinogenic hazards from exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic fields. They reviewed exposure data, studies of cancer in humans and experimental animal models, and other relevant data.
More specifically, the IARC Monograph Working Group discussed and evaluated literature that included several exposure categories involving radiofrequency electromagnetic fields:
Inconsistent Data and Opinions
Cellular telephones have become an integral part of everyday life, and the number of users is estimated at 5 billion globally. However, as previously reported by Medscape Medical News, there has been growing concern over possible health risks associated with the use of cell phones. In particular, some data have suggested that their use, especially over the long term, represent a "significant" risk for brain tumors.
But study results have been inconsistent, although some European countries have taken precautionary measures aimed specifically at children.
Some of the strongest evidence supporting a link between brain tumors and cell phone use comes from a series of Swedish studies, led by Lennart Hardell, MD, PhD, from the Department of Oncology, Orebro Medical Center. These studies showed that risk increased with the number of cumulative hours of use, higher radiated power, and length of cell phone use. They also reported that younger users had a higher risk. (Int J Oncol. 2006;28:509-518;Int Arch Occup Environ Health. 2006;79:630-639; Arch Environ Health. 2004;59:132-137; Pathophysiology.2009;16:113-122).
The issue of cell phone safety was to have been settled once and for all by the huge 13-nation industry-funded Interphone study. But to date, the industry-funded Interphone studies found no increased risk for brain tumors from cell phone use, with only 4 exceptions. The findings contradicted the Swedish studies, which were independent of industry funding.
Consistent with the literature, there is no consensus among physicians and scientists about the severity of risk, or if one even exists. One issue in attempting to evaluate the potential connection between brain tumors and cell phone use is the relatively short period of time that these devices have been heavily used in a large population and the long latency period for many tumors.
The National Cancer Institute, for example, has stated that although a consistent link has not been establishedbetween cell phone use and cancer, "scientists feel that additional research is needed before firm conclusions can be drawn." In a similar fashion, the American Cancer Society points out that even though the weight of the evidence has shown no association between cell phone use and brain cancer, information on the potential health effects of very long-term use, or use in children, is simply not available.
Evidence Strong Enough
The WHO established the International Electromagnetic Fields (EMF) Project in 1996, in response to public and governmental concern, with the goal of evaluating the possibility of adverse health effects from electromagnetic fields. In a press release issued last year, the WHO stated that it would conduct a formal health risk assessment of radiofrequency fields exposure by 2012, but in the interim, the IARC would review the carcinogenic potential of mobile phones this year.
Jonathan Samet, MD, chairman of the working group, notes that "the evidence, while still accumulating, is strong enough to support a conclusion and the 2B classification.
"The conclusion means that there could be some risk, and therefore we need to keep a close watch for a link between cell phones and cancer risk," he said in a news release.
A full report summarizing the main conclusions and evaluations of the IARC Working Group is slated to be published online soon in The Lancet Oncology and in print in its July 1 issue."
Note that the large 13-country study that published that they found no changes in cancer risk (except on 4 occasions) with cell phone use was INDUSTRY-SPONSORED! Complete bias!
Overall - be wary: use headsets (not Bluetooth), try to minimize use of cell phones and other wireless phones (includes at home) and turn your signal OFF before handing your phone over to your baby or young child!
Maybe the ol' land line ain't so bad after all...?
Dr. Maltz earned a Medical Degree and Master in Public Health from the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) in Galveston, TX. She completed a combined Internal and Preventive Medicine Residency at UTMB in June, 2011. She then completed a 2-year Integrative Medicine Fellowship at Stamford Hospital in Stamford, CT, during which she simultaneously underwent an intensive 1000-hour curriculum created by The University of Arizona Integrative Medicine Program founded by Dr. Andrew Weil.