I remember that call so clearly. I could only stare at the numbers on the microwave in the teacher's lounge as the Doctor told me that the MRI of my Lymph Nodes was clear. The bad news was that there was a suspicious spot on my thyroid that would need to be biopsied. I had felt that my glads seemed large one December day right before my wedding. It's one of those discoveries that made me break out into a cold sweat, but I had convinced myself that I must just be coming down with a cold. Months later I was finally cleared of Lymph Node problems only to discover that there might still be cancer in my 23 year old body.
Many times, the health care professionals I encountered told me how strange it is for a person my age to have this issue. I wondered what could have caused this mysterious spot, but I figured that I would never know. An ultra sound, two fine needle biopsies, and a surgery later, I was told that I did not have cancer, but there were per-cancerous cells in that spot. It is a scare that I did not want to repeat, but since I don't know what caused it, I can do nothing to stop it from happening again to the rest of my thyroid.
Fast forward several years. I have a newborn baby, and I happened to check a book out of the library that a parenting magazine promised would help me to save money on housekeeping. It is called Green Housekeeping by Ellen Sandbeck, and I had no idea about the things that it would tell me. In a section titled, "Some Discouraging Words about Nail Polish and Hair Spray," Sandbeck explained that studies were done in a New England town where cancer rates were elevated, and researchers found the homes in the area to have elevated rates of phthalates (Common phthalates inclued DEHP, DBP, DMP, and DEP). Phthalates are endocrine disruptor which means that they change hormone levels which can lead to cancer and other problems. Wait. My pre-cancerous thyroid is part of the endocrine system... Is there a link? I have no idea, but at that time I was spraying hairspray plus several other styling products, lotions, makeup, shampoo, body gel, the list goes on that likely contained phthalates. Why do I say likely? I have since learned that phthalates are often contained in the fragrance portion of cosmetics, and companies are not required to list these dangerous ingredients. The Environmental Working Group has done much research by testing products to see what's really in them, and the results are clear. Many of the products include cancer-causing agents.
Do you want to know more, are you overwhelmed and exhausted by this news like I was? Do you know that you don't want to put these chemicals anywhere near your body (especially if you are of reproductive age like me) again? Well, there's bad news. Personal care products are not the only place where dangerous chemicals lie. Are you sitting down? Well, you had better get up, because unless you special ordered an all-wool couch, your couch is sprayed with flame retardants. If you don't follow the link, I will just briefly mention that polybrominated diphenyl ethers are the main source of flame retardants used, and they are shown to cause infertility and, you guessed it, thyroid hormone level disruption. I can't say that things are better for me now, because IKEA (where my couch came from) claims that they don't use them, but researcher Heather Stapelton took apart an IKEA couch and tested it only to find another dangerous flame retardant, chlorinated tris. These have been banned from children's pajamas, oh did I forget to mention that flame retardant is sprayed on your children's pajamas? Anyway, chlorinated tris have been banned from pajamas due to carcinogenic properties. Yep, that's in my couch...
The flame retardants used in couches are probably found elsewhere in your home too. Polyurethane foam is made from petrochemicals, and that means it is basically hardened gasoline. It is highly flammable, and California Law requires that it be sprayed with flame retardants (even though, by the way, they are not proven to help in the case of a fire!). The list where flame retardants might be found includes baby changing pads, car seats, nursing pillows, comforters, pillows, chairs, cushions, bumper pads, foam safety guards, and children's pajamas. This list is pretty unsettling to say the least.
I only spoke about two of the plethora of dangerous types of chemicals that fill our home. Toxins have been found in diapers, baby bottles, canned food liners, and even the caps of the home-canning jars. Then there is wood, carpet, vinyl tiles, some plastic toys, and the list goes on, and on, and on. Trying to rid your life of these toxins is exhausting and expensive. I've had many people tell me that they want their homes to be safer, but how could they possibly afford it? I am right there with you, if that's you. I have a toxic couch, vinyl tiles, plastic toys, and even a nursing pillow that contains dangerous chemicals just to name a few. Do you think that companies should be allowed to sell us endocrine disrupting and cancer causing products?
If, like me, you can't afford to replace your furniture and all of your other products that emit chemicals, urge your congress person to stand up for kids and NOT Big Chemical! There is a Safe Chemical Agenda that they can side with, and let's make our voices clear. Today is the Healthy Families Day of Action. Sign here to show your support: http://bit.ly/RbpPIs
Tags: healthy, families, family, safe, chemical, chemicals, act, support, toxic, flame retardants, phthalates, dangerous, home