Cancer Watch Chemical World - icon 2005, Issue 3

Cancer Watch eye

Environmental Toxins Affect Your Health Significantly

Washington State University (Science magazine) has shown that, sadly, exposure of your parents or even grandparents to environmental toxins may be currently affecting your health.

Dr Michael Skinner of Washington feels that such toxins may have even altered DNA lines. The evidence is irrefutable, he says, calling it a "chemical modification of DNA". (Ed: Dr Vyvyan Howard will be speaking on this at our Cancer Prevention Conference on November 17th - have you got your ticket yet??)

Chromosomal Damage From Plastic Coatings

Nagoya City University Medical School in Japan has been researching bisphenol A (BPA) Levels in pregnant women.

Their findings were very clear. Women with a history of miscarriages had three times as much BPA in their blood as women who’d never had a miscarriage. BPA is used to make plastic coatings on the inside of food and drink cans, and even babies’ bottles.

WWF have called for a ban on the use of BPA, which the Japanese research showed could lead to chromosomal damage.

Chemical Link To Breast Cancer

Scientists in Texas and South Carolina have found that one chemical, 4-Nonyphenol, can trigger breast cancer in mice. 4-Nonyphenol is similar to bispherol A in structure. Both are hormone disrupters. 4-Nonyphenol seems to stimulate oestrodiol production, and then binds to receptor sites on breast cells and stimulates cancer growth.

Male Breast Reduction Operations Increase

The number of men using cosmetic surgery to reduce the size of their breasts has jumped in the UK. (Ed: No, this is not April 1st)

A number of Harley Street surgeons are witnessing the same phenomenon. The cause is being centred on the increase in the level of female hormones in the environment. Hormones in fast food, in drinking water and oestrogen mimics were all named by these surgeons as possible causes.

American Groups Link Teflon To Cancer Risks

The US Environmental Protection Agency has now ruled that exposure to perfluoro-octanoic acid (PFOA), a chemical used to make Teflon non-stick coating, by Dupont, could induce human cancer risk (Dr Mercola).

Even that ruling is too weak for the EPA Scientific Advisory Board who say that it is highly carcinogenic to humans, and risk assessment studies are urgently required. (Liver, breast, pancreatic cancers plus immune system weakness are to be studied).

A Kick In The Teeth For Fluoride

Scientists at the Harvard School of Medicine have shown that boys between ages 10 and 18 have increased risk of bone cancer if they are exposed to fluoridated water before the ages of five and ten.

Apparently there is no such effect with girls. Dr Vyvyan Howard, a senior ’toxicologist’ at Liverpool University, felt the research evidence was "pretty strong".

Are you listening Mr Blair?

US Research On Ibuprofen And Breast Cancer Risk

We have covered the use of salicylin (aspirin - willow bark - aloe vera) to reduce risk of inflammation, which is often a precursor to tumours.

Unfortunately, all such anti-inflammatories (especially the synthetic ones) do not appear to have been created equal. Research at the University of Southern Carolina concludes that ibuprofen, often taken for conditions such as headaches or arthritis, may increase the risk of breast cancer. The study involved 100,000 women aged 20-85 all of whom were cancer-free in 1995, when the research began.

Further research has been recommended.

Phthalates Should Be ’Eradicated’ Says Professor

Professor Shanna Swan, at the University of Rochester has been studying how phthalates, (found in liquids from plastic bottles, like drinking water, shampoos or liquid soaps) give rise to new born boys with "less masculine" characteristics. Study leader Swann says, "we need to eradicate these chemicals," but fears it will be a slow process.

Phthalates are produced as a result of the plasticisers used to make the plastic bottles and the thickness or thinness of the plastic bottle is irrelevant. Previous work at the Athlone Institute of Technology, Ireland has shown the same effects in animals and fish, while Swedish and US research has also confirmed the negative and dangerous effects of phthalates in humans.

Scientists have long studied the effects of these gender bender hormone disrupters but little action has been taken by European governments. A spokesman for WWF has called the industry regulation in these chemical, "woefully inadequate".

A bill has now been tabled in California seeking to ban BPA and phthalates "in toys and childcare products for infants and children under three years of age".

Power Lines Could Cause Leukaemia

In a new study by Gerald Draper (Oxford - BMJ 2005, 330, 1290) and his colleagues, living within 200 metres of high voltage power lines could cause a 70 per cent increased risk of developing leukaemia amongst children.

"The finding is not likely to be explained by magnetic fields but by some other direct consequence of power lines", he says. The study involved 29,083 children in England and Wales between 1962 and 1995 and for each cancer patient, a controlled, matched equivalent was taken. Sander Greenland (UCLA) believes that the study "simply adds to the evidence that the association is real".

According to Heather Dickenson (Newcastle University, UK), the study is the largest case-controlled study of childhood cancers ever conducted in the world.

Triclosan Dangers Accented

A study by Virginia Polytechnic University showed that washing dishes by hand and using a liquid with anti-bacterial properties and the ingredient Triclosan, could cause a reaction with the chlorinated water and produce chloroform, which is easily inhaled and highly toxic.

Triclosan is in many products, from toothpastes to detergents, from deodorants to cosmetics.

Triclosan also "sticks" to the skin and is not easily washed off. Chloroform is a Trihalomethane (TTHM) and a chlorophenol. Chlorophenols have been linked to cancers and there is also extreme concern about their effect on aquatic life after they are washed down the sink.

Aspartame Doubts - This Time It’s Cancer!

A report by Italian researchers in the European Journal of Oncology (2005) shows that 8-week old rats fed a diet of aspartame at the levels most mere mortals consume produced leukaemia and lymphomas in some females and brain tumours in some rats of both sexes.

Aspartame is now in approximately 6500 products: From low-fat yoghurt to sugar-free gum; in diet cola and even some vitamins.

The European Food Safety Authority has ordered a thorough and expert assessment of the aspartame research "as a matter of high priority".

The same authority recently stated that aspartame had been considered safe.

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