The President's Cancer Panel made quite a stir this week when it released a report (pdf) on environmental cancer risk. It said what many health researchers, doctors and advocates have been saying for a long time -- that we face increased health risks from exposure to chemicals, only a fraction of which have been tested. It also advocated buying organic food without using the word (it said food grown without pesticides instead).
Though it got little attention, here is what the panel recommended to avoid exposure to toxic chemicals:
- Choose foods, house and garden products, play spaces, toys, medicines and medical tests that will minimize children's exposure to toxics.
- Reduce exposure to occupational chemicals by removing shoes before entering the home and washing clothes separate from other family laundry.
- Filter home tap or well water to reduce exposure to known carcinogens and endocrine-disrupting chemicals. Use filtered tap water rather than commercial bottled water.
- Store and carry water in stainless steel, glass or BPA- and phthalate-free containers.
- Microwave food and beverages in ceramic or glass -- not plastic -- containers.
- Choose food grown without pesticides or chemical fertilizers and wash conventionally grown produce to remove residues.
- Eat meat produced without antibiotics and added growth hormones.
- Avoid or minimize consumption of processed, charred, and well-done meats.
- Wear a headset when using a cell phone and keep calls brief.
- Check home radon levels.
- Reduce or eliminate exposure to second-hand smoke.
- Discuss the need for tests or procedures that involve radiation exposure with your doctor.
- Create a record of all imaging or nuclear medicine tests received and if known, the estimated radiation dose for each test.
- Avoid overexposure to UV-rays by wearing protective clothing and sunscreens and avoiding the sun when it's most intense.
- Become an advocate by strongly supporting environmental cancer research and measures to remove toxins from the environment.