‘All Cleaning Agents Cause Cancer’ … and Other Myths!

WELLNESS--When I mention to friends and patients about the dangers of a specific food or cleaning agent they are using I often hear the comment that “everything causes Cancer.” This is simply not true and below I’m going to give you some pointers on how to take the purification of your home and body to the next level.


Indoor Air Contaminants

The Environmental Working Group points out the dangers of chemical filled household cleaners. Many cleaning products contain 1,4 dioxane and preservatives that end up releasing low levels of formaldehydes which has been proven to cause cancer in rats. You may remember the lawsuit that was filed against proctor and gamble over the 1,4 dioxane that was in Tides Free and Clear brand. It turned out it was loaded with dioxane and was anything but free and clear. Among much pressure from the public as well as the lawsuit they cut that particular chemical to 25 parts per million from 76. The important thing to notice here is words like “free and clear” used for marketing purposes are often just words. We need to read labels and research the products we are bringing into our homes. 

There are products out there that don’t have as many harsh chemicals. Companies like Melaleuca have excellent options for cleaning supplies and some hair and body products as well. You can also find the less toxic products at many of your local grocery stores. 

Processed Foods

Everyone knows processed foods are bad for us. The problem with processed foods isn’t only in the fact that they are lacking nutrition, but also the added chemicals that come with them. A few decades ago we mostly knew where our food came from, but today with the global market being what it is, the new normal is food coming from all over the world before it makes it to our plates. In the 1950’s there were about 300 additives that went into our processed foods, but today there are an estimated 10,000 different chemicals used in processed foods. These chemicals are used for a variety of reasons including preservatives and taste enhancement mostly. The FDA has tested an estimated 10% of them. 

A good rule of thumb is the box is loaded with ingredients that are all multisyllabic and impossible to pronounce, it is probably not good for you. Here is a short list of some of the worst compounds we want to look out for in our foods: 

Partially hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup, MSG which is monosodium glutimate, sodium nitrate, sodium benzoate and potassium bromate to name a few. 

Personal Care Products

Many people don’t realize that the personal care products they are buying over the counter may have dangerous and toxic chemicals in them. Sadly, the FDA can’t or wont help prevent dangerous chemicals from getting into our personal care products. It is estimated that through their personal care products woman are exposed to up to 168 different chemicals a day. Things like tampons may be even more dangerous with chemicals like dioxin and chlorine disinfectants included in the production. Combine these dangerous chemicals with genetically modified cotton and pesticides and there’s no telling what potential damage they might be doing. 

While men are exposed to fewer chemicals at an estimated 85 chemicals a day, this number is still dangerously high. There are about 13000 chemicals used in cosmetics, and the FDA has actually tested only about 10% of them. The responsibility is often put in the hands of consumers and unfortunately many consumers don’t have the knowledge or patience to learn which chemicals to avoid. Reuters mentions how chemicals are running rampant in our skin care and personal care products. 

Use the same judgement when buying personal care products as you do when buying food and cleaning supplies. Watch out for the following chemicals: DEA (Diethanolamine), MEA (Monoethanolamine), TEA (Triethanolamine), Phthalates and Parabens, FD&C Color Pigments, Fragrance, Imidazolidinyl Urea and DMDM HydantoinQuaternium-15Isopropyl Alcohol to name a few. 

Buying food and products that are not loaded with dangerous chemicals may be more costly at the moment, but the more people that continue to convert their homes by using natural products, the more likely it is that the prices for those products will go down. For now, we must look for other areas where we can save money, and spend the extra dollars on organic non-GMO foods and toxic-chemical free cleaning and body products.


(Christian Cristiano is an acupuncturist in LA, TV host of Wellness for Realists and writes on wellness regularly for CityWatch. Christian can be reached at 323.935.3420. twitter: @CristianoWFR)