Can you get cancer from the shirt on your back? – Cancer Defeated

Can you get cancer from the shirt on your back?

By Lee Euler / January 12, 2014

The last time I looked into the dangers of chemicals in clothing was in Issue #169 (and there’s more in Issue #111). Now Greenpeace International has published a new report revealing evidence of high levels of toxic phthalates and cancer-causing amines in a sampling of clothing items purchased from around the world.

Unfortunately, there was little improvement since their previous investigation. Worse, they found the presence of many new types of potentially hazardous industrial chemicals. Keep reading for the latest. . .

Continued below…

Hidden Constipation Syndrome –
Have You Got It?

A recent study reports that more than half of patients – 62 percent – have colons plugged up with layers of filthy, decayed fecal matter. . .

. . .even though 80 percent had bowel movements every day without straining!

Colon autopsies show it and now studies have proven it. Even if you have a regular, daily bowel movement, you may possibly have pounds of hardened, toxic, bacteria-laden waste matter stuck in your intestines!

Breakthrough study results from the prestigious Department of Organ Surgery and Gastroenterological Clinic in Elsinore, Denmark, reveal that millions of people unknowingly have these large “fecal reservoirs” – which back up your entire colon and rectum.

And no synthetic laxatives or enemas can get this toxic, rotting mess out of you!

Click here for a FREE REPORT on how you
can get rid of this deadly threat to your health and well being.


This study was different from the last one, which only looked at NPEs in textiles. NPEs, or nonylphenol ethoxylates, are man-made chemicals that breakdown into NPs, which are known, cancer-causing hormone disruptors.

In the new study, Greenpeace focused on searching out hazardous chemicals within a broad range of fashionable clothing. They scoured not only materials incorporated within the products but also residues that remained from the manufacturing process.

The results aren’t good, as any presence of NPEs, phthalates, or azo dyes, which can release cancer-causing amines, is intolerable—and all were found in the study. Phthalates in particular are well-known for being toxic to the reproductive system.

But at least there are a few things you can do to protect yourself.

Consumer warnings with no backbone

China is a good example of why toxic clothing is such a big problem. Greenpeace recently confirmed that two of the largest Chinese production bases for—of all things—children’s clothing, contains hazardous chemicals loaded with health risks.

Beijing authorities haven’t done a thing to control their toxic residue habit. They don’t have any chemical management regulations to curb the poisons, and we’re getting the brunt of it since most of those clothes are exported to Europe and North America. In fact, China is the world’s largest exporter of clothing, and kid clothes are one of the fastest growing segments. The two production facilities where toxic elements were found are responsible for about 40 percent of production of kid clothes.


China does have a “quality control watchdog,” called the Defective Product Administrative Center of China’s General Administration of Quality Supervision (a fancy name for an ineffective department). And though they agree that these kid’s clothes can be dangerous, the only step they’ve taken is to send parents a consumer warning to “buy light-color kids’ clothes, without fluorescent brighteners or pigment printing.” According to Greenpeace, China is about 20 years behind the European Union in terms of regulating textile chemicals.

To be fair, China isn’t alone in its lack of regulation. Other developing and emerging countries share the same careless attitude and practices, including many located in South and Central America, Asia, and Africa.

Whether or not you buy these polluted clothes directly doesn’t matter. That’s because large quantities of pesticides used in the production of fibers like cotton, along with toxic chemicals used in textile production, get washed into our waterways. This is fatal for fish and sets off a domino effect that could topple our entire ecological system.

We’re dealing with an ecologically-illiterate culture that puts poisons in the waterways and circulates them right back into our homes.

The whole lifecycle of clothing is affected

Keep in mind, chemicals involved in the manufacture of clothing manufacturing aren’t the only problem. You also need to pay attention to everything you put on and in those clothes, from laundry detergent to fabric softener to PFC-laced waterproofing agents. For more information on laundry products, check out Issue #133.

There’s also the issue of skin absorption. Toxic textiles that come into contact with human skin can be absorbed by your body in trace amounts. Over time, these toxins accumulate and can cause cancer.

I take all this seriously, because I have chemical sensitivities. I don’t have to wait three decades to get cancer. This junk makes me sick right here and now, with symptoms ranging from headaches and body pain to skin rashes and sinus problems.

How did we get into this fix? You can point the finger at a number of things. Most of the effects of toxic chemicals are very long range in nature. It may take decades for cancer to show up, and by that time the connection between cause and effect is hard to establish. Our society has simply closed its eyes to these long term consequences.

The bad practices start with companies looking for the cheapest manufacturing options. Add to that lax regulation and slowpoke regulation, and you end up with massive toxic dumps into our waterways.

And it’s not just the factories that are polluting our waterways. We do it too, when we buy these polluted clothes and wash them, unwittingly releasing hazardous chemicals into our domestic waste water systems. (By the way, that’s not something that only happens the first time you wash a new garment. Clothes with plastisol print can release phthalates throughout the life of the clothing item.)

Sadly, wastewater treatment plants don’t deal well with NPEs. This essentially speeds up their breakdown into toxic, hormone-disrupting NPs in our public waterways.

“Bluesign” and other ways to

guard your chemical safety

Because of all this, more people are crying out for comprehensive chemical safety reform across the globe rather than efforts that just single out a harmful chemical here and there. Sure, effective regulation and brand accountability would be nice, but who knows how long that’ll take? At least there are things you can do NOW to impact your own health:

  • Buy second-hand clothing when possible, or repurpose and reuse older items. It’s the current “fast fashion” habit of readily changing out garments from our own closets that’s contributing to the heightened chemical manufacturing process. Plus, older clothes are less likely to be laced with chemicals.
  • Don’t buy from brands that contain known pollutants. Stay informed about the worst offenders (there’s a list in this press release), or look for the bluesign® symbol. Bluesign is a Swiss effort to guarantee chemical safety by singling out products within the textile industry that have minimal environmental impact. The goal is to eliminate toxic substances from the manufacturing process, both to help control environmental waste and to give consumers safer products. To find bluesign-approved products, you can look for the blue label on clothing or check out which brands meet the criteria by visiting the bluesign site.
  • If you buy new clothes, buy those manufactured in the EU or the U.S., and look for organically sourced products.
  • Use natural laundry detergents and fabric softeners that lessen the chemical weight of your clothing.

Even though it’s a monstrous, global problem, remember that taking small steps—like those listed above—can make all the difference in setting you up for a happy, long, healthy life.

In our last issue we talked about a happier subject – the #1 drink for preventing cancer. (It’s delicious and inexpensive.) If you missed the article, you can read it now just below.

The #1 Anticancer Beverage

of All Time?
(Drink More…)

Four centuries ago, the Chinese began brewing the leaves of this plant and drinking it as a hot beverage.

Today, it is the world’s most popular beverage besides water. Hundreds of millions of people drink it. However, it’s never been as popular in America as in the rest of the world – despite its many benefits.

Just for starters, it’s been shown to slow the growth of at least 11 different kinds of canceri. And there’s more…

Continued below…

Hidden Constipation Syndrome –
Have You Got It?

A recent study reports that more than half of patients – 62 percent – have colons plugged up with layers of filthy, decayed fecal matter. . .

. . .even though 80 percent had bowel movements every day without straining!

Colon autopsies show it and now studies have proven it. Even if you have a regular, daily bowel movement, you may possibly have pounds of hardened, toxic, bacteria-laden waste matter stuck in your intestines!

Breakthrough study results from the prestigious Department of Organ Surgery and Gastroenterological Clinic in Elsinore, Denmark, reveal that millions of people unknowingly have these large “fecal reservoirs” – which back up your entire colon and rectum.

And no synthetic laxatives or enemas can get this toxic, rotting mess out of you!

Click here for a FREE REPORT on how you
can get rid of this deadly threat to your health and well being.


This drink is effective against cancers of the esophagus, stomach, colon, bladder, prostate, ovaries, uterus, and breast. And it also reduces lung cancer risk — even in smokers – as well as non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and leukemia.ii

And that’s why I rank green tea as the #1 anticancer beverage.

You might think drinking a few cups of tea per day insignificant. But let me assure you, you’d be wrong.

Cancers of the digestive tract, for example, are up to 68% lower in tea drinkers.iii And this may be why major tea-drinking countries have lower cancer rates than America.

The healthiest tea of all…

How tea is processed can make a substantial difference in its nutrient and anticancer value. Black tea accounts for 78 percent of the world’s tea consumption – almost four cups out of every five. Green tea makes up almost all the rest, with oolong comprising only 2% of tea consumption.

Green tea is the least processed tea, richer in antioxidants and beneficial polyphenols than black. Black tea tends to have oxidized catechins and compounds. In this context, oxidation is a bad thing; it destroys nutrients. Black tea is referred to as “fermented” while green tea is unfermented and oolong is semi-fermented.


What makes green tea such a potent

anticancer drink?

Green tea boasts an exceptional blend of anti-inflammatories and antioxidants.

It also has the uncanny ability to boost your liver function… and detoxify poisons and carcinogens. Green tea enables your immune system to search for and destroy cancer cells, and gives your DNA repair team a helping hand.iv

Researchers think most of green tea’s health benefits come from its polyphenols – recently coined “lifespan essentials”. Polyphenols are plant antioxidants that work in complex ways, above and beyond “normal” antioxidants.

One of the best polyphenols is epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), which is known to inhibit the growth of breast cancer, and slashes the risk of breast cancer spreading to the lungs.

A Japanese rat study found that 93.8 percent of the rats with mammary tumors given green tea survived – compared to only 33 percent of the non-tea group. The green tea group also had smaller tumors.

A large clinical study in China found that prostate cancer risk decreased with increasing frequency, duration, and quantity of green tea consumption. In plain English, the more green tea you drink, the more often you drink it and the more years you drink it, the less likely you are to fall prey to this disease.

A 2012 study showed PSA levels were lower in men drinking six cups of green tea per day, compared to non-tea drinkers. Scientists believe green tea neutralizes inflammation linked to prostate cancer growth.

One large clinical study found that green tea drinkers are less likely to develop pancreatic cancer. Women who are heavy tea drinkers are half as likely to develop pancreatic cancer. And among men, heavy green tea drinkers are 37% less likely to develop this dreaded and almost-always-fatal type of cancer. But it’s not clear from this study whether green tea is solely responsible for lowering pancreatic cancer risk.

Separately, the National Cancer Institute discovered that green tea’s polyphenols decrease tumor growth and may protect you from ultraviolet light exposure.

Can you cleanse your genes with green tea?

Nature created an ingenious way to reduce your risk of cancer, linked to how your DNA works.

Like a radio or TV, the genes in DNA can be turned on or off. When they’re turned on, they express themselves and give commands. But when they’re “off”, they’re silenced.

Now, those genetic instructions are important for preventing cancer growth.

You see, your “off” button is triggered by something called a methyl group. When attached to your genes, it’s called DNA methylation. This “switch” can become stuck in the off position. But you can clean your genes of those methyl groups and turn them back “on” with the magic of certain plants.

And one of the plants with the most outstanding methyl-plucking talents is green tea.

Should you drink green tea during chemotherapy?

If you’re undergoing chemotherapy, green tea may help the treatment be more effective and yet protect you from its dangerous side effects at the same time.

Two Japanese researchers published several studies showing that green tea and some of its components increase the concentration of chemotherapeutic agents. For example, it increased Adriamycin’s effect 2.1 to 2.9 times, while decreasing the drug’s effect on normal tissue.v

It boosted the effectiveness of Tamoxifen while protecting from liver damage. EGCG improves the cancer-killing effects of Taxol. And green tea can cause resistant cells to be more sensitive to

Green tea during chemo helps tumors shrink more than usual, and protects some of the organs chemo is most likely to damage.

But that’s not all…

Green tea’s health benefits

go way beyond cancer

One of the wonders of plant foods is that they confer such a wide range of benefits, for one health condition after another — unlike a pharmaceutical drug that targets one single system.

So it should come as no surprise that green tea also can protect from or reverse other health issues besides cancer:


  • Decreases heart attack and stroke risk by lowering cholesterol levels and blood pressure, and slowing hardening of the arteries. Researchers estimate that heart attack risk decreases by 11% with the consumption of 3 cups of tea per day.vii
  • Kills certain bacteria, especially in the bladder. Tea drinkers have a 40% lower incidence of urinary tract infections.
  • Aids digestion by increasing helpful bacteria (probiotics) in your intestines, and decreasing harmful ones.
  • Speeds metabolism and helps you lose weight.
  • Reduces all-cause mortality, as shown by a 2006 study published in Journal of the American Medical Association.viii
  • Significantly lowers risk of death – especially from heart disease — for those who drink at least 5 cups of green tea daily compared to those who drink less than one cup a day, according to an 11-year study of 40,000-plus Japanese participants ages 40 to 79.ix
  • Helps regulate blood sugar and glucose levels. And may help prevent onset of Type 1 diabetes and slow its progression.
  • Helps reduce inflammation linked to inflammatory bowel disease and may help prevent colon cancer.
  • When taken in a supplement, may help keep colds and flu at bay, according to a 2007 controlled study that compared green tea users to a group on placebo. x

How to get a bigger boost from green tea

Green tea is a nutritional powerhouse on its own. But it may be even better when combined with certain other nutrients. Consider pairing your green tea with the following for benefits far greater than the sum of the parts.

  • Add citrus, which stabilizes catechins in your gut and increases absorption into your bloodstream. xi
  • Enjoy it with capsaicin – the compound that gives chili peppers their pizzazz – for increased feelings of fullness and weight loss. xii
  • Green tea and watermelon, tomatoes, and pink grapefruit (think lycopene) can help men dodge prostate cancer. xiii
  • Eat medicinal mushrooms (or take mushroom supplements) while sipping your tea for added cancer protection. xiv
  • Green tea triples turmeric’s anticancer effects. And turmeric enhances green tea’s anticancer capabilities by a factor of eight.xv Wow!

How to choose and prepare green tea

It’s important to buy organically grown tea. Several non-organic brands were analyzed and found to contain traces of DDT. Obviously, a drink intended to reduce your cancer risk should not contain toxins that increase your risk.

Create your best-tasting, most nutritious tea by steeping your tea bag in hot water for three minutes. Tea connoisseurs say green tea becomes too bitter when brewed longer. The recommended brewing time is shorter than the four minutes needed to bring black tea to its peak of flavor.

Forget about bottled green tea. A 2010 study presented at the American Chemical Society showed some 16-oz. bottled teas contain fewer polyphenols than 8 oz. of brewed tea.

For maximum cancer protection, drink eight to ten cups per day. Please note: the caffeine in the tea appears to be important to its anticancer effects.

To be honest, I couldn’t drink eight cups (or even three) per day. I’d be up all night. But most people are much less sensitive to caffeine than I am. If drinking that much tea isn’t your cup of tea, you can take it in supplement form at the rate of two 250-mg tablets per day.

In general, green tea contains much less caffeine than black tea, and a mere fraction of what’s found in a typical cup of coffee. So you may be able to tolerate the high levels of intake that are said to yield the most benefits.

Caution: Some people should not take green tea

Are you a good candidate for green tea? While green tea is generally well tolerated, it may be contra-indicated for certain people. Is it right for you? Check this list, or talk with your doctor:

  • Those with heart problems, high blood pressure, kidney or liver problems, stomach ulcers, and psychological disorders (especially anxiety) should avoid green tea.
  • Pregnant and nursing women should avoid it.
  • Those with anemia, diabetes, glaucoma, or osteoporosis should consult their health care provider before drinking it.

It’s important to remember than not everyone tolerates every natural plant equally well. If you have any of these conditions, please do some further research and/or talk with your health care provider before jumping in.

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Kindest regards,

Lee Euler, Publisher




“Bluesign Consumer.” Bluesign site, retrieved 20 December 2013.
“Fashion: do we care more about animal rights than the environment?” By Amy DuFault, The Guardian: 18 Wednesday December 2013.
“Granger’s and Haglöfs tackle PFC chemical fears with new treatments.” By Bob Smith, Grough: 22 December 2013.
“Greenpeace: China-made kids’ clothes carry toxic risk.” By Calum MacLeod, USA Today: 17 December 2013.
“Greenpeace exposes hazardous chemicals in high street fashion.” Press Release, 20 November 2012.
“Greenpeace Exposes Toxic Chemicals in Zara, Other Fast-Fashion Brands.” By Jasmin Malik Chua, ecouterre, 21 November 2012.
“Moulton: The time has come for chemical safety reform.” By Melinda Moulton, 19 December 2013.
“Toxic Threads: The Big Fashion Stitch-Up.” Published by GreenPeace International, 2012.
About the author

Lee Euler

Hi I'm Lee Euler, I’ve spent over a decade investigating every possible way a person can beat cancer. In fact, our commitment to defeating cancer has made us the world’s #1 publisher of information about Alternative Cancer Treatments -- with over 20 books and 700 newsletters on the subject. If you haven't heard about all your cancer options, or if you want to make sure you don’t miss even one answer to this terrible disease, then join our newsletter. When you do, I'll keep you informed each week about the hundreds of alternative cancer treatments that people are using to cure cancer all over the world.

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