The Scent of Cancer
This Reeks of Long-Term Health Problems
February 23rd, 2014 by Holly Cornish
All the efforts to lace our household products with sweet-smelling synthetics are backfiring. As many of us have found out firsthand, perfumes and fragrances top the charts when it come to triggering allergies and irritations.
Maybe you relate to the headaches, watery eyes, and difficulty breathing that come when you get too close to a manufactured scent. Those reactions — while disagreeable enough — are warning signs of a bigger problem — cancer. Keep reading and I’ll show you what I mean. . .
Continued below. . .
Startling new report from Cancer Defeated:
Nobel Prize winning discovery can now
reverse memory loss—even Alzheimer’s!
Recently, the Cancer Defeated team decided to investigate Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. And just as with cancer, we uncovered effective treatments for this health problem that mainstream medicine has overlooked or even deliberately suppressed.
Conventional doctors believe once your memory’s gone it’s gone for good. But they’re totally wrong—there are many solutions to mild memory loss AND severe dementia. We’re especially excited about one new discovery almost no one knows about!
Nobel Prize-winning science has uncovered how to improve your mental power, alertness and memory as you age! And people with so-called “hopeless” dementia and Alzheimer’s are slowing, stopping and often completely reversing memory loss…
The perfume industry’s products are riddled with toxic ingredients. Research increasingly links those toxins to cancer. Just some of the harmful reactions they trigger are allergies, sperm damage, reproductive toxicity, and hormone disruption. Hormone disruption in particular is linked to certain cancers.
Trade secrets more valuable than human health
As of now, there’s no requirement that perfume makers let us know the ingredients in their fragrances. The industry calls this “brand protection.” What’s worse is that the FDA looks the other way. According to them, non-disclosure is fine because consumers are not “adversely affected.” They make this assumption on the grounds that we don’t eat perfumes. Yet these substances can enter the body when we inhale them or rub them on our skin as perfumes, creams, soaps and so forth.
The fragrance industry uses up to 3,000 ingredients in different scent concoctions. Most of those ingredients are synthetic. At least 900 have been identified as toxic, according to the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health.
In 1998, Scientific Instrument Services released one of the first analyses to ever look at toxicity in perfumes. They studied six popular brands. Incredibly, over 800 ingredients were identified in each perfume — ingredients that included an alarming range of volatile organic chemicals. Two of the biggest offending ingredients are phthalate esters and synthetic musks, both toxic man-made chemicals.
It’s as bad as second-hand smoke
This issue isn’t without advocates, of course. In 1999, the California Environmental Health Network filed a Citizen Petition asking the FDA to require warning labels on fragrances. The goal was to point out which perfumes make it to the market without undergoing appropriate safety testing.
Then the 2010 President’s Cancer Panel report suggested that hormone-disrupting chemicals, like those found in perfumes, could be the source of many more cancer cases than previously thought. It’s a fact that messing with our bodily systems puts us at risk for being out of balance and increasing our risk for disease — cancer in particular.
And just two years ago, the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics commissioned tests on top-selling fragrance products. Results showed 14 toxic chemicals, on average, were used in but not listed on the ingredient labels of popular fragrances. In a joint warning statement with the Environmental Working Group, they said, “The majority of chemicals found … have never been assessed for safety by any publically accountable agency, or by the cosmetics industry’s self-policing review panels.”
Worst of all, it’s not just the person wearing perfume who gets exposed to cancer-causing toxins. Fragrance chemicals are volatile and get into the air quickly. When we breathe, fragrance from every scented item used by the people around us enters our lungs.
This means one person’s choice to wear a fragranced product can cause health problems for a lot of unsuspecting people. Most at risk are those with asthma, chemical sensitivities, respiratory illnesses, chronic fatigue, and immunological illnesses.
The leading cancer awareness groups
don’t know how to deal with this
The risks of scents aren’t well known, which is a problem. Even big cancer-awareness organizations like Susan G. Komen for the Cure don’t appear to fully recognize the risks.
Just last fall, Komen launched a well-intentioned marketing campaign, promoting a perfume called “Promise Me” to help raise funds for breast cancer research. But the campaign suffered embarrassment after allegations the fragrance being promoted contained cancer-causing toxins.
The executive director of the group Breast Cancer Action had the perfume scientifically tested after safety concerns were voiced. They found ingredients that were a potential cause of breast cancer.
One of the offending ingredients was galaxolide, a synthetic musk known to accumulate in the body. Trace amounts have been found in the fat, blood, and breast milk of women who wear perfumes. It’s a known hormone disruptor, and some studies show that it may in fact contribute to the development of breast cancer.
When Komen was contacted with this information, the foundation reacted in a strangely contradictory way. Its representatives dismissed the claims, stating their own internal teams had thoroughly reviewed all the current research about perfume ingredients and found no elevated risk. Yet, they also agreed to reformulate the perfume to eradicate concerns about the ingredients.
The original perfume was discontinued, although it remains available still through several popular retailers. A new perfume is expected to be ready for distribution sometime this year.
What to do to protect yourself
Unlike a lot of cancer threats, it’s easy to steer clear of this one. If you want to smell clean and fresh, use soap, preferably fragrance-free or using natural scents. Perfumes are at the top of my list of “avoidable exposures.”
One thing to be wary of: It’s not just perfumes that emit hazardous chemicals. Anything with fragrance is suspect. Thousands of household products contain chemicals not listed on the label, including dryer sheets, scented candles, air fresheners, hair sprays, and shampoos. Manufacturers aren’t required to list the ingredients in fragrance blends, so it’s up to you to protect your health.
By the way, natural scents such as lavender or lily of the valley can cause allergic reactions in some people, but at least they aren’t carcinogenic.
Even if you don’t think fragranced products bother you, it’s a good idea to make sure by giving them up for a few months. Then use them and see if you have a reaction. Bear in mind that a wide range of reactions is possible, ranging from swollen sinuses and headaches to skin rashes and eye irritation.
Here are some tips for getting all the chemical-laced fragrances out of your life:
- Give up perfumes (obviously). Instead, use pure essential oils. Just make sure they’re extracted through a cold-press method and not with solvents.
- Check labels. Fragrances are exempt from labeling regulations, unfortunately, but at least all personal-care products are required to list a general description of ingredients on the label. Avoid anything that has the following: perfume, parfum, linalool, limonene, or fragrance. Blanket terms like “fragrance” and “perfume” conceal a host of petrochemicals and other toxins.
- Go natural when you clean. Use white vinegar and baking soda in place of expensive cleaners and you’ll wipe out a lot of the toxic scents in your house. Better yet, you’ll save money. This is an important step, because air fresheners and other cleaners aren’t required to disclose their inactive ingredients (which are usually toxic).
- Use beeswax candles instead of fragranced candles. Instead of polluting, they’ll actually improve the quality of your air indoors by boosting negative ions.
Chances are, you’ll feel significantly better after taking a hiatus from the airborne toxins in perfumed products.
On a different subject entirely, our last issue had some good news: there are home tests for colon cancer that are nearly as good as colonoscopies. If you missed this important article, check it out below.
The Take-Home Test You
Might Not Mind Taking
The word “colonoscopy” fills many folks with a sense of dread. If you’re in fear of undergoing this invasive procedure, you’ll be encouraged by new study results from the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research in Portland, OR.
The new study concluded that in-home tests requiring patients to collect a single stool sample, then send it to a lab for analysis, will detect about 79 percent of colorectal cancers. I hope these tests will be widely adopted – they’re so much simpler and cheaper than a colonoscopy and could be performed more often. Read on for details. . .
The procedure is called a fecal immunochemical test (FIT). Kaiser Permanente included eight varieties in the 19 studies reviewed.
The researchers found that all eight tests were fairly sensitive and accurate predictors of colon cancer. And this was true even though most FITs only required one stool sample.
The authors were surprised to find that FIT tests requiring two or three stool samples were no more accurate than those requiring only one. Here are some of the study details:
- Researchers examined 19 studies that included between 80 and 27,860 patients.
- Participants’ ages ranged from 45 to 63, and none of them showed any signs of colorectal cancer.
- Patients in 12 studies took the FIT and received a colonoscopy as well; patients in seven studies only had a colonoscopy if their FIT results were positive (i.e. indicated cancer).
- Approximately two years later, researchers followed up with patients who had had a negative FIT to determine whether they had been diagnosed with colorectal cancer.
These results were encouraging when compared with an older type of FIT test known as the fecal occult blood test (FOBT). This at-home test is not very accurate. A single round of testing flags only about 13 percent to 50 percent of cancers.
Plus, the FOBT requires three stool samples in tandem with medication and dietary restrictions prior to the test. The FIT test does NOT require people to stop their medications or restrict their diets.
In a Kaiser press statement, lead study author Jeffrey Lee, MD, MAS concluded “FIT is simple, can be done at home, and can save lives. The American Cancer Society and other professional organizations have recommended FIT as a screening tool for colorectal cancer since 2008, but there are still many people who don’t know about it.”
As far as I know you do need a doctor to prescribe the test and review your results with you. But hopefully in the future you’ll be able to buy a kit, send the sample to the lab and receive the results yourself without having a doctor in the loop.
I’m pleased to help raise awareness about this simple testing solution, especially considering that…
Colorectal cancer is a ferocious killer!
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lists colorectal cancer as Public Enemy #2 when it comes to cancer deaths. Only lung cancer claims more lives each year.
According to National Cancer Institute (NCI) statistics for 2013, about 143,000 people in the United States were diagnosed with this cancer—and nearly 51,000 people died from it.
These cancer cells form in either the longest part of your large intestine (the colon) or in tissues of the large intestine closest to the anus (rectum).
When colorectal cancer spreads, abnormal cells are often found in nearby lymph nodes. From there, the cancer can spread to other lymph nodes or to organs such as the liver.
The treatment methods for colon cancer aren’t pretty…
Surgery may involve simply removing polyps—or part of the colon, too. This can leave the patient needing a colostomy bag to collect wastes from the body.
And you should know that chemotherapy drugs for colorectal cancer can cause the skin on your palms and the bottoms of your feet to become red and painful. It may even peel off!
Radiation treatment also has multiple downsides. It can cause bloody stools…diarrhea… nausea and vomiting… and urgent bowel movements…
Taking a simple, at-home test as a preventive measure starts to sound pretty attractive, right?
So how can you know whether you’re at risk?
NCI lists these factors as possible causes of colon cancer:
- Age over 50: More than 90 percent of people with this disease are diagnosed after age 50. The average age at diagnosis is 72.
- Colorectal polyps: These growths on the inner wall of the colon or rectum are common in people 50 and older. Most polyps are not cancerous but some can develop into cancer. Finding and removing polyps may reduce colorectal cancer risk.
- Family history of colorectal cancer: Close relatives of a person with colorectal cancer are somewhat more likely to develop this disease themselves, especially if the relative had the cancer at a young age. In my view this is more likely because of shared eating habits or toxin exposure rather than genes.
- Personal history of cancer: A person who has already had colorectal cancer may develop colorectal cancer a second time. Also, women with a history of cancer of the ovary, uterus (endometrium), or breast are at a somewhat higher risk of developing colorectal cancer.
- Ulcerative colitis or Crohn disease: These conditions can lead to inflammation of the colon for many years; this can increase risk of developing colorectal cancer.
- Diet: High-fat, low-fiber diets may increase the risk of colorectal cancer.
- Cigarette smoking: May increase the risk of developing polyps and colorectal cancer.
The NCI list omits what I would consider by far the most important cause of colon cancer: a diet low in fiber, low in fresh fruits and vegetables, high in sugar and refined carbohydrates (including alcohol), and high in processed and packaged foods.
NCI advises that people at higher-than-average risk of colorectal cancer should talk with their doctor about whether to have screening tests before age 50 and what tests to have.
So what symptoms are common to colon cancer? Basically you should talk to your doctor if you experience a change in bowel habits. This includes finding blood in your stool or stools that are narrower than usual.
Other symptoms may include diarrhea or constipation, frequent gas pains, bloating or cramps, weight loss for no reason, or a feeling that your bowel does not empty completely.
Now, please note: usually these symptoms are not caused by cancer. But if you suspect there could be trouble—visit your doctor right away for a more accurate diagnosis and treatment plan.