9 Health Risks That Aren’t Worth Taking
by Joseph Mercola: 6
Ways To Shrink Your Belly (and 5 Don't Include Exercise!)
Many habits and products accepted as “the norm” actually
present an unnecessary risk to your health
Holding a cell phone up to your ear, using a vinyl
shower curtain, microwaving your food in plastic,
and running a humidifier too often are all examples
Other health risks you may not expect are antibacterial
soaps and toothpastes, full-body X-ray scanners at
the airport, flea and tick collars for your dog, canned
liquid infant formula and more; simple tips are included
to minimize your risks and optimize your health
a quick look at health risks that just aren't worth it,
you can review our featured article that has a list of products
or habits you'd be better off avoiding than taking a chance
of these habits are not only completely accepted
by our society and typically viewed as risk free, but are
extremely common as well. There's a good chance
you're probably engaging in at least one of the risks on
this list, but after reading the truth about it, you may
decide it's just not worth it.
You Taking These Unnecessary Health Risks?
Holding a Cell Phone to Your Ear
As the use
of cell phones and other wireless technologies have exponentially
exploded over the past couple of decades, concerns about the health
effects of such technology have increased as well. Today, we're
at a point of no turning back, as cell phone subscriptions are
now estimated at 5 billion globally that's the majority
of people on the planet!
body of researchers have spoken out against the technology,
warning that it may have serious biological side effects,
not the least of which is an increased risk of brain tumors.
Last year, the World Health Organization (WHO)/International
Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) issued a report admitting
cell phones might indeed cause cancer, classifying radiofrequency
electromagnetic fields as "possibly carcinogenic to humans"
classification came in part in response to research showing
wireless telephone use increases the risk for brain cancer.
analysis from Sweden, published in Neurology & Neurophysiology,ii
projected a very large increase in brain cancer incidence
resulting from widespread mobile phone use beginning in
approximately 15 years. The projections are based on well-established
effects of this radiation on DNA. Specifically, that mobile
phone use decreases the efficiency of the repair of mutated
DNA and increases the rate of DNA mutations.
this year, Health Canada proposed adopting a precautionary
principle approach and issued guidelines for limited cell
phone use. Many other countries have already done so to
some degree, including Russia, the UK, Israel, Belgium,
Germany, India, Finland and France.
the evidence points to the fact that current safety standards
are completely inadequate. Our rapidly expanding wireless
technologies must be properly evaluated, but on an individual
level we simply cannot afford to wait. While some countries
are beginning to invoke the precautionary principle, each
and every individual can take it upon themselves to do the
same, rather than wait for an official statement.
can find my complete guidelines on how
to limit your wireless exposure here.
Choosing a Shower Curtain Made Out of PVC
know the smell that seeps out when you take a brand new
plastic or vinyl shower curtain out of its package? That's
due to the polyvinyl chloride (PVC) it's made out of. This
is a significant source of exposure to chemicals known as
phthalates, which are used as plasticizers in everything
from vinyl flooring to detergents, hoses, raincoats, adhesives,
air fresheners, and toys and even in some soaps,
lotions and nail polish.
are one of the groups of "gender-bending" chemicals causing
of all species to become more female. These chemicals
have disrupted the endocrine systems of wildlife, causing
testicular cancer, genital deformations, low sperm counts
and infertility in a number of species, including polar
bears, deer, whales and otters, just to name a few. Scientists
believe phthalates are responsible for a similar pattern
in humans as well, and they have been linked to:
ovulatory cycles and polycystic ovary disease (PCOS)
dysgenesis syndrome": A syndrome involving cryptorchidism
(undescended testicles), hypospadias (birth defect in
which opening of urethra is on the underside of the
penis instead of at the end), and oligospermia (low
sperm count), and testicular cancer
with sexual differentiation in utero
or delayed puberty
cancer and uterine fibroids
conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
(CDC) discovered high levels of phthalates in all 289
adult Americans tested, and the levels of some phthalates
in women of childbearing age exceeded the government's safe
levels set to protect against birth defects, leading scientists
to conclude phthalate exposures are "much higher and more
common than previously suspected."iii
is why it makes sense to choose a fabric shower curtain
(or install glass doors) in lieu of a vinyl one – as well
as take these other precautions to reduce
your phthalate exposure as much as possible. They are
a bit more expensive but it would make sense to get a glass
shower door installed to+ replace them. You can typically
do this for under $500.
Microwaving in Plastic
contain a slew of hormone-mimicking, endocrine-disrupting
chemicals, like bisphenol-A (BPA), which is linked to cancer,
premature puberty, heart disease and more. Even under normal
conditions, such as drinking out of a plastic bottle, they
can leach into your food and beverages. But heating
them accelerates the process, releasing a larger amount
of the dangerous chemicals into whatever you're warming
just because it is BPA-free doesn't mean it isn't loaded
with other gender bending BPA-like chemicals. GreenMedInfo
wrote a nice recent review on this recently, revealing that
many manufacturers the globe over have been switching to
the equally toxic bisphenol known as Bisphenol S (BPS) in
order to evade impending regulatory oversight, as well as
to ride the "BPA-free" marketing gravy train by misleading
the consumer into thinking their products are bisphenol
free, which they are not.iv
BPA-free plastics leach endocrine-disrupting
chemicals, so don't let this label give you a false
sense of security. Anytime you're microwaving anything,
use a glass or ceramic container (and don't cover it in
plastic wrap, either). Better yet, ditch
your microwave entirely and use an oven or toaster oven
when you need to reheat your food.
Flea and Tick Collars
only are flea
and tick collars toxic to your pet, but did you know
that you're also exposed to the pesticides when you play
with your dog or cat?
are particularly at risk, and may be exposed to pesticide
residues at levels up to 1,000 times higher than the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency's acceptable levels, posing
a risk of cancer and damage to the neurological system.v
The residues can remain on your pets' fur for weeks, posing
an unacceptable risk, particularly when there are many
natural options available.
Running Your Humidifier
wrong with running a humidifier? Assuming it's used occasionally
and kept clean, not a thing. But many people are less than
diligent about cleaning them out, and this paves the way
for bacteria to develop. The moist, warm environment of
a humidifier is a breeding ground for bacteria and fungi,
which travel out of the unit via a "toxic mist" that you
later breathe in.
has shown that breathing in dirty mist from humidifiers
can lead to lung problems, including infection, and humidifier
use is actually associated with an increased risk
of developing asthma in children.vi
Keep in mind, also, that too much moisture in your air increases
the development of mold, which is a toxin you don't want
to be breathing in on a daily basis.
you choose to use a humidifier, do so sparingly, making
sure humidity levels do not get too high. A hygrometer,
which you can find at most hardware stores, can measure
the amount of moisture in your home's air so you can adjust
your humidifier use accordingly. Some humidifiers also have
a hygrometer built in.
need to make sure you clean it often, at least once every three
days using hydrogen peroxide to remove any film or mineral deposits.
The water in the reservoir should be changed daily, and be sure
the area around it (tabletops, windows, carpeting, curtains, etc.)
are kept dry.
many people would actually benefit from running a dehumidifier
in the summer to remove excess humidity especially in the
basement where high
humidity levels can cause mold to grow.
Antibacterial Soap and Fluoride Toothpaste
helping keep your immune system optimized, washing your
hands is your number one protection against the acquisition
and spread of infectious disease. But you do not need to
use antimicrobial soap to get the job done. Studies have
shown that people who use antibacterial soaps and cleansers
develop a cough, runny nose, sore throat, fever, vomiting,
diarrhea and other symptoms just as often as people who
use regular soaps.vii
of the reason for this is because most of these symptoms
are actually caused by viruses, which antibacterial
soaps can't kill.
But even for symptoms like vomiting and diarrhea, which
may be caused by bacteria, those who used regular soaps
still had no greater risk than those who used antibacterial
products. So, the rational conclusion is antibacterial soaps
are completely unnecessary for the purpose of washing
systematic review published in the journal Clinical
Infectious Diseases viii
confirmed that antibacterial soap containing triclosan
did not provide any additional benefit compared with
a non-antibacterial soap. Triclosan, the active ingredient
in most antibacterial soap and even in some toothpastes,
not only kills bacteria, it also has been shown to kill
human cells ix
and act as an endocrine disrupter. Contributing to the creation
of hardier, more resistant bacterial strains.
these products also contributes to the creation of hardier,
more resistant bacterial strains and, as if that wasn't
enough, when triclosan mixes with the chlorine in your tap
water, chloroform is formed, which the EPA has
classified as a probable human carcinogen.
please, avoid using antibacterial soaps and other products
containing these hazardous ingredients. They're just harming
you, the environment, and adding to a significant public
health problem. They also cost more. Instead, just use a
gentle, chemical-free soap and a natural, fluoride-free
toothpaste. Local health food stores typically carry a variety
of natural soaps and other toiletries that will do the trick
without harsh chemicals.
X-Ray Airport Scanners
European Commission has banned X-ray body scanners that
use "backscatter" radiation technology from airports, "in
order to not risk jeopardizing citizens' health and safety"
– but they are still in use in the United States. Backscatter
X-ray scanners expose your body to ionizing radiation,
which causes cumulative DNA damage that can lead to cancer.
Because the scanners' X-ray beams are concentrated on your
skin, not distributed throughout the volume of your entire
body, there is concern that the dose to your skin could
be dangerously high.
written by five professorsx
revealed that there has not actually been any verifiable scientific
testing of the safety of airport scanners and that the
levels of radiation being used are likely much higher than the
public has been led to believe.
scientists believe that the high-quality images produced
cannot possibly be obtained with the low levels of radiation
described, and that the actual level may be 45 times
higher than what the manufacturer is claiming.
as a very frequent air traveler, I ALWAYS opt-out of the
x-ray scanner. Thankfully, I recently received TSA Certified
Pre status so I don't have to take off my shoes, belt or
computer out of my case and can go through the old scanner,
but this is only when I fly American Airlines for now, but
should transfer to other airlines in the future.
even if the radiation dose is minute (and that's a big IF),
I'm not willing to risk my health by exposing my entire
body to any avoidable dose on a regular basis. If you're
exposed to other forms of radiation through CT scans, mammograms
and other medical procedures and you're also exposed
to radiation when you travel by air your exposure
could easily reach dangerous levels, and this is why it
makes sense to avoid unnecessary radiation exposures as
much as possible.
also take 8 mg of astaxanthin
every day, which is believed to radically limit damage
from ionizing radiation.
the idea of cleaning out your intestines using a colonic
or another method sounds on the surface like it might be
a good idea, you actually need a good growth of bacteria
in your gut to ease digestion and voiding of waste. If you
eat a healthy diet, which includes plenty of raw and fermented
vegetables, your colon should be very healthy, and will
problem with colon cleanses is that the procedure itself
can cause complications, including infection from bacteria
that is introduced into the colon, or accidental punctures
made during the procedure, which would require surgery to
fix and can be very serious.
I highly recommend using fermented
vegetables and other fermented foods, which are a rich
source of beneficial bacteria, therapeutically to heal and
restore health in your gut. Experts recommend eating about
a quarter to half a cup (2 to 4 oz) of fermented vegetables
or other cultured food, such as raw yoghurt, with one to
three meals per day. I personally consume about 8 ounces
nearly every day, as I believe they are one of the healthiest
superfoods for your gut available.
many colon hydrotherapists would disagree with the position
above and clearly some people benefit from this process,
but I do think allowing your body to optimize the process
is better than doing it artificially for most.
Ready-Made Canned Infant Formula – Especially Soy Infant
well-intentioned moms unknowingly add to their baby's toxic
load by feeding them contaminated, chemical-laden infant
formulas (in plastic bottles) during their first months
of life. The pre-mixed liquid formulas are typically packaged
in cans that are lined with BPA, and this is actually one
of the foods most likely to be contaminated with this developmental
of the greatest concern surrounds early-life
exposure to BPA, which can lead to chromosomal errors
in the developing fetus, triggering spontaneous miscarriages
and genetic damage. Exposure to only 0.23 parts per billion
of BPA is enough to disrupt
the effect of estrogen in your baby's developing brain.
also important to avoid giving your child soy infant formula,
as the high concentrations of manganese it contains can
lead to brain damage in infants and altered behaviors in
adolescents. Researchers have found that soybean plants
lift up manganese in the soil and concentrate it, so that
its use in soy-based infant formula can result in as many
as 200 times the level found in natural breast milk. Experts
believe that such high concentrations could pose a threat
to the immature metabolic systems of babies up to 6 months
other significant issue is the estrogen in soy. A soy-fed
baby receives the equivalent of five birth control pills'
worth of estrogen every day! These babies' isoflavone levels
were found to be from 13,000 to 22,000 times higher than
in non-soy fed infants.
of the best gifts you can give your child is to start out
their life with a sound nutritional foundation, and the
best way to do this is by breastfeeding.
any amount of breastfeeding is better than none at all,
it is clearly to your advantage, and best for your baby's
health, to breastfeed exclusively meaning no other
food or water is supplemented for at least the first
6 months. Then, at the age of 6 or 9 months, you can begin
to supplement with solid foods (while still continuing to
breastfeed as well). If for some reason you're not able
to breastfeed, or you have adopted your baby, your next
best option is to make a healthy infant formula using raw
milk. You can find homemade
formula recipes here.
Shine May 29, 2012
2012 Dr. Joseph Mercola
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