I think it's safe to say that it's important to reduce your exposure to carcinogens as much as possible! Carcinogens are known agents that can potentially lead to cancer after exposure. There are different levels of exposure that are harmful, some prolonged and extreme, and not all exposure leads to cancer. Either way, cancer is nasty and it's best to stay clear and free of anything environmental that could dangerously alter the way our cells replicate. So here are some practical ways you can reduce your exposure to carcinogens.
1. Eat Organic as Much as Possible
One important way to reduce your exposure to carcinogens is to eat organic foods that may contain high levels of pesticides. Some pesticides, particularly DDT, may cause cancer in humans, so knowing which foods to avoid is ideal. If the food has a soft, absorbent skin, like berries and green veggies, it's best to buy organic. Thick rinds or skin would be OK to buy non organically because of their protective barrier. Non-organically certified meats and dairy also have added hormones and chemicals that could potentially cause endocrine problems, including cancer.
2. Use Fewer Chemicals for Cleaning
Many environmental exposures exist right in your own home. Common cleaning products, such as surface cleaners, grease removers and disinfectants, all contain harsh chemicals that are extremely toxic if ingested. They can also be toxic if inhaled. Read all your labels to know which chemicals are not safe and opt for green cleaning products, including detergents, that are much safer. It's wise to select a dry cleaner that uses green products as well.
3. Avoid Harsh Preservatives
Boxed and processed foods, cosmetics and other beauty products contain preservatives that can lead to cancer. Formaldehyde, a known carcinogen, is still in many beauty products to prolong shelf life and can even be a byproduct of many hair products when exposed to heat. Read your labels and look at the ingredients for formaldehyde, other preservatives and sulfates that are all potentially harmful with continuous exposure. It's also a good idea to avoid boxed food as much as possible. Fresh is always best!
4. Quit Smoking
Smoking is probably one of the worst things you can do to your body. A cigarette contains literally thousands of chemicals that are deadly to the human body. Lung, oral and esophageal cancers are all potential risks for the avid smoker. Even secondhand smoke needs to be avoided as much as possible. Do yourself a favor and quit this bad habit that destroys your health and the health of others around you!
5. Wear Sunblock
UVA/UBV rays are known to alter skin cells and lead to skin cancer. It's important to wear sunblock on a daily basis to avoid the skin damages these rays can cause. Getting a sunburn is damage that cannot be reversed, so remember to protect your precious skin by using sunblock. You should also avoid tanning beds, which contain much higher levels of radiation. Always check for moles and abnormal skin lesions that change over time and make it a priority to get them looked at by a dermatologist.
6. Charred Meats & Veggies
Meat and veggies that have been charred on a grill contain heterocyclic amines and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, which are cancer-causing agents. So remember not to overcook your meats and veggies. It's also best to avoid burnt foods, such as toast and campfire marshmallows for s'mores, just in case.
7. Check for Mold and Other Environmental Toxins
In your home and workplace, there are potential environmental risks that need to be routinely checked for your own safety and the safety of your family. Mold, radon and asbestos in the ceiling need to be monitored, especially for older homes where the risk is higher. If you have kids or pets, make sure your home is free of lead paint in order to avoid accidental ingestion.
Cancer is an ugly thing that we all wish was dead and gone! With all the risks out there, it's enough to make you go crazy with worry. Remember that risks in life can't possibly be avoided altogether, so take heart and do your best to easily avoid environmental risks that are in your control. I know there are many other ways to reduce your exposure risk to carcinogens- care to share them with us?