They say a man’s home is his castle. But what if that castle is making you sick?
Take a look around your own kingdom. Chances are you own a few everyday items that could be raising your cancer risk.
Following are two common culprits many of us have in our homes. Both could be silently raising your cancer risk.
Could your couch REALLY give you cancer?
Any of the furniture in your home which has a softer side could be quietly contributing to your cancer risk. That includes your couch, bed and even that rickety old padded foot stool you’ve been meaning to get rid of. (Or is that just me?)
It’s not the furniture itself that’s the problem, of course. It’s what the manufacturers doused it in before selling it to you.
If any of the cushioned furniture in your house was manufactured before the last couple of years there’s a good chance it’s been sprayed or dipped in Tris (1,3-dichloro-2-propyl) phosphate, or TDCIPP.
This flame retardant was once so widely used that virtually none of us have escaped exposure to it. And that’s a real problem because experts say this creepy chemical may cause cancer.
Animal studies have found the flame retardant can cause tumors in a number of different organs. And it’s been labeled a “probable carcinogen.”
Over half the sofas tested could raise cancer risk
A study by Duke University found TDCIPP in over half the couches they tested. And it was by far the most commonly found flame retardant in the samples they received, according to the study published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology.
The folks who sent in their sofa cushion samples for the Duke study all bought their couches between February 2014 and June 2016. And it’s a safe bet that many folks still have furniture in their homes of that vintage.
But even if your sofas and beds were purchased more recently, you may still not be off the hook. Because while TDCIPP is now restricted (or banned in certain circumstances) in a number of states, it’s still being used to this day.
The good news is that after 2013 it became much easier to find furniture made without TDCIPP. Check the labels of any new pieces you buy. And if you have an older sofa, consider replacing the cushions with newer ones that are definitely TDCIPP-free.
But your sofa isn’t the only household culprit driving up your cancer risk.
Your shower curtain could be a problem too
Many of us do our best thinking in the shower. But it turns out we could also be exposing ourselves to a potential carcinogen at the same time.
Your shower, curtain is likely made with PVC vinyl, which contains phthalates. Manufacturers use these common chemicals in plastics to soften and bind them.
It’s not just your shower curtain you need to worry about, either. Phthalates are lurking in a surprising number of other household objects including food packaging, soaps, perfumes, air fresheners, cosmetics, flooring, toys and medical devices.
Like TDCIPP, you’ll find these creepy chemicals in the blood of essentially every person alive today. And research has already found connections between them and heart disease, type-2 diabetes and high blood pressure.
Phthalates effect your endocrine system which is responsible for the hormones that drive many of the systems in your body. That includes metabolism, sexual development, sexual function, and even body growth.
But experts think their effects don’t end there. In fact, scientists suspect phthalates can raise your cancer risk too. Studies have uncovered links to breast cancer. And endocrine disrupting chemicals are associated with testicular and prostate cancers as well.
Cutting back on phthalates and cancer risk
It’s impossible to remove phthalates from your life completely. But with a few changes, you can slash your exposure.
Cut back on processed and packaged food. Fresh is far tastier anyway. And switch to glass and stainless steel food containers and bottles.
You won’t find phthalates listed on the labels of air and body freshening products or cosmetics. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t in there.
Words such as “fragrance” and “parfum” on a label can be a clue. To be safe look for scented products that are clearly marked “phthalate-free” on their labels.
Toss any plastic toys, teethers or baby bottles made before 2008. And consider investing in a good water filtration system which could remove some of the phthalates from your drinking water.
If your home is your castle, defend it against these two marauding invaders. Reduce your exposure to TDCIPP and phthalates and you’ll slash your cancer risk at the same time.
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