Must Read. Cancer-Causing Chemicals

My cousin sent me an email last night that included one of the links I’m posting below. She said she knew how important things like this were to me because of Knox and Sloane.

She’s right. 

Important to me because of them; Important to me for them. Important to me for your kiddos, too. Important for us all.

Without a doubt, every single one of us has in some shape or form been affected by cancer. Whether it’s someone we know personally, or even a blog we’ve read, it’s more than likely shaken us to our core.

It’s pretty awful.

It’s really awful.

Do you know HOW much more common cancer is than it use to be?

Do you know why?

I have a few guesses and they are starting to have facts that prove to be accurate.

Chemicals. Chemicals in food. Chemicals in packaging. Chemicals in the air.

I remember reading THIS article forever ago. I think it was written in 2008. It states that one in three American’s will be diagnosed with cancer, usually before the age of 65. It also says that modern studies show that only 15% of cancers are inherited genetic defects.

The other 85%? Oh, those are due to chemicals.

Baffling, huh?

I don’t think it’s fair that our government is contributing to this epidemic. People will get sick and medicine will be needed without having to get cancer. I understand they need companies to make medicine and they need (want) people to buy them. That’s politics. Not my favorite thing ever, by any means, but unfortunately, it’s the way our country works in the present.

However, as far as allowing people to poison us? I’m notsomuch down with that.

I think we should be able to fight against it and make a difference.

People can make a difference. You can make a difference.

There is currently a petition you can find HERE, to help stop cancer-causing chemicals from going into food packaging. It will go to the U.S Food and Drug Administration.

Of course this petition is one of thousands, I’m sure, but it has me thinking and hopefully it does you, too.

If you read the petition, you will find it says that, “The FDA just announced that baby bottles and sippy cups can no longer contain bisphenol A (BPA), a controversial hormone-disrupting chemical that studies show is linked with cancer, obesity, heart disease, and other life-threatening diseases.”

Thank you, FDA. One down and a long list to go.

I teamed with Moms Clean Air Force a while back and we did make a difference on the clean air act. It’s insane that it takes an army against a few people, but again, politics. Who knew the air we breathe could be determined.

Everything can.

No, I’ve not ever held the hand of someone dying from cancer, but I know someone that has. I have held my baby as he left this world, and I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. Not this year and not in the next hundred years as this could potentially continue if, by all means, EVERYONE doesn’t fight against it.

Sad, but true.

I’ll get off my horse, but honestly, we should all get on it about this.

I can’t stand the thought of something happening to these two, or their kids…or their kids, etc. or your kids.



  1. says

    The chemical thing was one of the most compelling reasons to do cloth diapers. And it gets worse because the more you learn, the scarier it gets! We do almost 100% homemade household cleaners, spray all of our fruits and veggies with a homemade spray to get any chemicals off, and always make sure the things we buy for the baby are BPA-free. Ugh, it's just so overwhelming sometimes!

  2. says

    This post is so important and worthy of noting. This past year, I have begun to search high and low for ways to limit chemicals in our home. We don't allow fragrances in our home anymore since the ingredient of 'fragrance' is not regulated by the FDA, and I have made it my goal to make everything at home. That includes food, household cleaners, laundry soap, etc. The next goal is to put houseplants around the house to clean the air up a bit and keep the humidifiers going strong.

    Thank you for not taking this lightly….we need to surround ourselves with this knowledge more often.

  3. says

    You are speaking my language. Have you read "Super Natural Home"? It is so frustrating to watch people put all of those horrible chemicals in their bodies, especially something as bad and cancer causing as aspartame… and then people wonder why cancer rates are up so high! Granted, we can't avoid all chemicals, but we can make the best choices we can with the information that's out there. My family thinks I'm a hippie because we eat organic, I make my own laundry detergent and all purpose cleaners, and we use paraben free products and aluminum free deodorant. It's not that difficult once you make the initial switch! We live at Whole Foods. (-:


  4. says

    So glad you posted about this. I actually signed this petition just yesterday! Sometimes it's downright exhausting thinking about all the ways our kids can be affected by chemicals. :(

  5. says

    Could you do a post on things you are doing and items you are using to be more proactive. It is SO overwhelming to me, but something I am interested in!

  6. says

    I'm so glad you shared this. I write about similar topics all the time on my blog (more on the chemicals and ingredients in food) but I don't have near the platform you do. It's so refreshing to see a popular blogger take that seriously and post about important issues such as this. THANK YOU!

  7. says

    Let's step back and think about what we're saying here. You're attacking "chemicals," a nameless, faceless generalization. If you don't smoke and aren't obese, you greatly reduce your risk of cancer MUCH more than you can by eliminating detergents in your house. If you wear sunscreen, you reduce it even more. (The NYTimes editorial you link to says this.) We'd do better to worry more about these causes of cancer than the unproven ones.

    You take your kids to the swimming pool, where they're exposed to a large dose of dangerous chemical called chlorine. You drink tap water at home and restaurants, brush your teeth with toothpaste all treated (thankfully) with "chemicals." You take them out in the sun where they're exposed to UV and ozone, while driving them in a car that emits carbon monoxide. Yet you're concerned about fragrances being unregulated?

    While the use of chemicals has increased in the U.S., life expectancy and odds of survival from cancer have increased as well. That's worth remembering. You also mention "genetic defects." Unless you've had your DNA mapped, you don't know your genetic defects. Your known family history doesn't tell you much about your actual genetic predisposition toward getting anything.

    You're also calling for larger, more intrusive government. Should the FDA ban substances just because a chain email gets people thinking it causes cancer without sound scientific evidence? That's what the National Cancer Institute says is exactly what happened with BPA. If that's the case, vaccines should have also been banned when parents were claiming falsely (disproven again and again) that they cause autism. There's a scientific process here. (If your response is that scientists can't be trusted, then I suppose you'll have to keep your kids home from school as well since they write the textbooks). In any case, do you want to pay higher taxes to better fund the FDA?

    When you have newborn kids, you want to protect them from everything. The truth is that you can't, and things like germs and "chemicals" won't do as much harm to your kid as a bully would (emotional wounds matter) or if your child is obese or gives into peer pressure to smoke. Why major on the minors? You can worry yourself to death.

    Highly-educated chemists at companies are experimenting with new chemical compounds every day. It's what helps get the stain out of your shirt while not ruining it, helps your car run longer on its motor oil, and helps your post-it note stick longer on the fridge. Let's not throw out the baby with the bathwater. I'd love for my toddler to grow up and be a chemist.

    • says

      Hi there!

      Thanks so much for your input! I think everyone has an opinion and all we can go on is based on the information we know and read.

      First of all, the sun will get a stain out of your shirt :) That's what I try to use.

      As for my care about fragrances being unregulated, I didn't mention that, but you are right. We figure those aren't regulated, but we also feel as hough there isn't anything we can do about it. That kind of proves my point.

      I do have actually had my DNA mapped out.

      My kids have not been in a swimming pool yet, nor had tap water, nor do they use toothpaste with harmful chemicals.

      With that being said, they will do all the things listed above, at some point…maybe soon, I'm sure. I can't protect them forever, from everything, but I have a little time to do the best I can and that's what I'm doing. And why can't I protect them from everything? It's not possible. Why? That's the way the world works. I can't control the air the breathe, so that alone proves my point.

      If someone can control what goes in the food we eat, why don't they?

      My hope is that the government will fight harder to keep things clean for it's consumers.

      I wasn't referring to chemicals in general. I was referring to bad ones. I didn't specify which, why? Because I don't know them all by name. Why don't I? Well, that's my point also. They aren't put out there for us, but they are there. The FDA knows there are chemicals in food that keep people coming back for more of it. People should know that. They can fight against it or they can eat it. Me telling people is basically like saying, if you stand in the middle of the highway, you are going to get run over. It's totally their call.

      If the FDA wasn't worried about BPA then they wouldn't provide a list of "What Can Consumers Do?" to help protect themselves.

      I appreciate all of the studies being done to determine whether BPA is safe for children, or not.

      I know there are chemicals out there that the world has to have, but I have no intentions of licking the back of sticky notes. I was simply indicating, there is control over what is intended for human consumption…whether through products or food. I know chemists are out there trying to find alternatives, but I certainly don't think letting the government know that's what we expect is a bad idea.

    • says

      Thanks. I don't feel like you "attacked back" (per your next post). It seemed to me like you were saying 85% of cancer is caused by unknown chemicals when we know that smoking causes a lot more and obesity correlates much more highly with cancer rates than chemicals like BPA. If you're not obese and don't smoke, the odds of you getting cancer are a lot less than one-in-three.

      As U.S. obesity has risen, so has the rate of cancer. Some people spend a lot of time and money worrying about the known unknowns, whereas they would do their child a much more statistically significant benefit by focusing on obesity, not smoking, etc.– the things we know about (per the editorial you linked to).

      The FDA and other agencies ability to regulate each and every product is pretty limited. To make the changes needed to meet the demands of every petition out there would require either much higher costs for products, higher taxes for a much larger agency, or both. That often gets forgotten when we demand the government do more.

      I think it's pretty cool that you have your DNA mapped out. Not many people can say that.

    • says

      Having struggled with my weight personally, I have done a lot of research and read a lot of books. The chemicals in our foods is what causes a lot of the weight gain. That's what no one understands. Our bodies aren't made to handle them so we usually hold on to them. I started eating clean and still allowing myself sweets (without chemicals) and the weight is falling off.

      So my opinion is the chemicals cause the obesity which causes cancer. :) A lot of chemicals allowed in the states are banned in most countries. I would just like to see a better regulation of that.

  8. says

    while i agree there are lots of chemicals around that weren't in the last several decades, i don't agree with some of the stats you are offering up. Saying 85% of cancer cases are due to chemicals isn't accurate. That's failing to acknowledge the cancers that are due to LIFESTYLE choices. These are from either smoking, drinking, obesity, etc. I dont know the exact stats so I won't make them up but I know it's close to or more than half of cancers.
    I DO appreciate helping to make people aware of the chemicals around ESPECIALLY in our food but I think causing scare in people over cancer causing chemicals isnt necessary when most people can't even acknowledge the poison people are putting in their own body, knowingly and willingly every day.

  9. says

    Have you heard of Juice Plus+? It helps bridges the gap between what you eat and what you should eat. Research has been done that it helps improve your DNA and fights against free radicals. They use the same numbers as the 1 in 3 people will have cancer but cancer and other diseases may be caused by chemicals but I think it's more of a lifestyle thing. How do you eat and take care of your self? Do you sleep enough, are you active enough, are you too stressed? I think those are more contributing factors than chemicals per se. I'm a childhood cancer survivor and my doctor told me to change my lifestyle to avoid having cancer in the future. That is what I've done. I workout, take my Juice Plus+ and eat healthy. If you have any questions about Juice Plus and how it can help let me know. I'm a distributor and the product has really changed my life!

  10. says

    All you people against government regulation on chemicals in our food air and water need to wake up ! The government is a business, a monopoly even, when it comes to the meat we purchase in the grocery store and the vegetables and fruits covered in HARMFUL, PROVEN HARMFUL, pesticides. The FDA is controlled by those big meat and agriculture monopoly because they are rich and they are funding the FDA. It is almost nearly impossible to avoid the chemicals that can scramble our brains, sterilize us, and slowly poison us to death. It's not FAIR that the government is doing that and that is WHY petitions are started. Don't you want the best for your babies ??? I don't know about you all but I can't afford only organic foods and chemical free lotions and products 100 percent of the time and it's not fair that those of us who can't afford them are forced to slather chemical filled sunscreen on our baby to prevent one cancer while maybe causing another.

    Thank you Megan for trying to enlighten those who want to hide from the true facts and the true dangers out there

    • says

      Weston's Mommy: I have the same issue. I'm a teacher and it's rough on one's budget to do the "all organic" thing. Here's what I did (and I realize it's a little drastic): Meat-free unless I can afford organic/hormone-free items, limited dairy and organic when I do buy it, buy organic where possible or avoid the foods on this list, and purchase non-organic varieties of foods grown with no pesticides or few pesticides or with a thick peel (bananas, watermelons, cantaloupes, broccoli & cauliflower). Do you have Trader Joe's in your area? So far, it seems there's the least price difference between organic/non-organic there. Things that are relatively cheap include: organic pre-cut apples, organic berries, and organic celery and salad mixes.

  11. says

    My middle child had behavorial and food issues to the point he was being evaluated for autism ( he's 2). After eliminating all red dye from his diet, toothpaste, soap, etc, he is a different child. That additive is banned in many other countries, including Great Britian, because it is known to cause aggression and behavorial problems in children . Our FDA allows it. I think that might speak to your point that we are not able to rely on our governemnt to regulate safety. Thank you for the post. It's important.

  12. says

    Hi Megan,
    I have never commented, but I read your blog often and I really loved this post.

    Our food industry needs a complete and total overhaul. The people most affected by the food additives in this country are the poor. The point was made above that obesity increases your risk of cancer. Well, eating terrible, processed "food" is what makes people obese. Who eats that (mostly)? Poor people who cannot afford fresh, organic veggies and are existing on the GM corn that gets put into JUST EVERYTHING THAT COMES IN A PACKAGE (as filler). It's incredibly simplistic to say that obesity causes cancer without looking at the root cause of obesity.

    I respect you so much for writing this post. I wanted to share with you about a documentary called Forks Over Knives. It is a must-see. I know that you said you are not really a meat person and it is about how a plant-based diet can help to lower the risk of many of the diseases you mention in this post.

    And, in response to JDTapp, YES, yes, yes, yes, yes, I would gladly pay higher taxes for safer food for everyone.

    Thank you for posting this. I look forward to you sharing more posts about this topic.


    • says

      OMG! I just saw this post and commented below about the book that inspired the movie Forks Over Knives, lol. It's based on a world renowned 20 year study and definitely worth reading :). (But the movie is GREAT too!)

  13. says

    So my biggest question is what can we do about it? Like Kara said I am no poor but I can't afford to buy ALL organic and whole foods so what are we supposed to do. I work hard as a teacher and my husband has a great job. But I can't stay at home and do all this?

    • says

      Hi lady! I definitely don't think you have to do all organic and whole foods. I think it's more so processed foods. I think it's ridiculous that less processed foods seem to add up a bit quicker. Brent and I definitely fall trap, too. A lot of the time it's easier to do what's quickest :( I just wish they would make quicker, healthier/safer meals, with more regulated ingredients!

  14. says

    Hi Megan – love love love this post! I've been a reader of your blog for a while but rarely comment (sorry!). I wanted to quickly tell you that I just started reading this book called The China Study that you might be interested in! It talks a lot about how chemicals that we eat/inhale/etc cause the initial stage of cancer growth, but how diet is the biggest indicator of cancer promotion (whether or not the initial cell stage turns into actual tumors/cancer growth). It sounds like it would only be for science nerds but I promise it's not, and since you're really interested in this kind of thing too I thought you might enjoy it as well :).

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