"Corporate Chemicals are Killing You!"

This link floated into my monkeysphere today: The top 12 cancer causing products in the average home. Included:

Among many other cancer causing products commonly found in the home, this dirty dozen list has made it to the Hall of Shame. The Cancer Prevention Coalition (CPC) and Ralph Nader have released a “Dirty Dozen” list of consumer products used in most American homes, and manufactured by giant U.S. corporations.

The “Dirty Dozen” products contain a wide-range of carcinogenic and other toxic ingredients and contaminants to which most of us are exposed daily.

I would be surprised if anyone reading this doesn't have at least one item on that list in your house (I'm guilty of brushing my teeth with toothpaste). My issue is threefold:

1) In most of these cases, the cancerous chemicals are unlabeled, meaning I have to take it on the faith of Smartklean's scientists that they're in here.

2) While I am no chemist, I am familiar with a few of the items on their list, and some of their claims are either pretty misleading or just patently false. Saccharine, for example, *can* cause cancer. In rats. If you give them an astonishingly high amount every day. In other words, it's just about as deadly as water (and MUCH less deadly than sugar). Flouride, which this list has as a "potential carcinogen" isn't. The ignorant fear of flouride is some weird holdover where people were scared about the government putting "stuff they didn't understand" in the water supply. The worst thing flouride does is slightly stain the teeth of young children. The best thing it does is protect your teeth which only have about a 35 year lifespan.

The point is -- if a non chemist can easily point to two obvious examples of falsehood in the article, it really weakens the rest of the article. If someone says that "flouride is bad" and I know it isn't, and then also says "Talc is bad," I'm more apt to not believe her.

3) This blog is hosted by a web site that sells alternatives to some of the products mentioned. How convenient. Now, I'm not saying that a corporation selling alternatives to chemical products is by definition going to lie about the danger of its competitors, I will approach it with a cautious eye.

How do people here react to these lists? Does the paranoia they inspire help or hurt what may otherwise be a legitimate point? Am I making a mistake by ignoring their warning and using Lysol to clean up counters?

And this Straight Dope link floated to me via Google.

One more thing. Amway listed a ceramic washing disk in a 1997 catalog, but decided not to sell the thing after tests showed it had "no measurable impact on overall cleaning." Figured you'd want to know.

Also, in your point number two, you acknowledge that their descriptions of chemical toxicity are misleading or wrong. If someone tells you one thing that's misleading or wrong, that's maybe a mistake. But multiple errors, in support of selling a product? Why would you even go so far as to ask whether they have a case? They've already lied to you!

Robear wrote:

And this Straight Dope link floated to me via Google.

that article wrote:

The real surprise is that Tide didn't perform much better than plain water. I'm not saying you need laundry balls or disks. But the soap makers' dirty little secret, you should pardon the expression, is that you might not need conventional detergent either.

Interesting. this makes me want to test out not using detergent in my next washes.

...

Think my wife'll go for that? =)

I remember when laundry balls were big, in the early-mid-90's. The theory was that agitator machines were better than people realized; they'd never tried them without soap. I can vouch for the fact that scrubbing linen and hemp clothes in a river on a rock is pretty damned effective; hard to believe modern washing machines are not as good, and not as hard on the fabrics, either.

I think though that most laundry cleaners will contain some kind of enzymes to help dissolve some stains and, shall we say, undesirable substances. Unless they use older chemicals designed for similar purposes. That would give you a more thorough cleaning of things like sweat and urine than just regular water and agitation, even though you might not notice it in one load.

I would suppose it is in the usage. Sulfuric acid can cause intense burning, which is why I do not cut into AA batteries with a band saw.

Personally, I would go to the American Cancer Society first.

Look at talcum powder
http://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancerc...

http://www.cancer.org/Cancer/CancerC...

Then you get to other issues. What does cancer causing really mean? The sad truth is that if you live your 80+ years on this earth, you will likely develop some form of cancer. It is the second leading cause of death in the US. Last I saw it was 40-50 percent projection that an American will develop cancer at some point in their life. Cancer is one way in which our bodies will ultimately fail us in the end.

Is it important to safeguard against the risk factors, and to prevent cancer when possible. But I think this means we need genetic screenings, children need the HPV vaccine, put on sunscreen, etc.

but...but... Tuscan Whole Milk, 1 Gallon, 128 fl oz is so well regarded!!

KingGorilla wrote:

I would suppose it is in the usage. Sulfuric acid can cause intense burning, which is why I do not cut into AA batteries with a band saw.

Personally, I would go to the American Cancer Society first.

Look at talcum powder
http://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancerc...

http://www.cancer.org/Cancer/CancerC...

Thanks for the links, KG. What I find happening is almost a resurgence of the noble savage mentality among some of the more left leaning anarchists -- that is, not only are the corporations out to poison us all, but they're in cahoots with the FDA and the other government bodies trying to protect the public. While I think that may not be entirely false, I don't think creating false crises about home products is really a smart way to combat that. Neither is moving to undeveloped nations where the life expectancy is 42 and children die of malaria and starvation more than brain tumors and declaring it paradise.

The FDA is very corrupt, thoroughly in Monsanto's pockets. Don't think they're there to protect you anymore. The only thing they protect these days is their pocketbooks.

Malor wrote:

The FDA is very corrupt, thoroughly in Monsanto's pockets. Don't think they're there to protect you anymore. The only thing they protect these days is their pocketbooks.

Agreed. And on a slight tangent does High Fructose Corn Syrup = Sugar? Relabeling HFCS as 'Corn Sugar' is the latest campaign by big agribusiness.

Malor wrote:

The FDA is very corrupt, thoroughly in Monsanto's pockets. Don't think they're there to protect you anymore. The only thing they protect these days is their pocketbooks.

As someone who deals with the FDA and FDA regulations every day, this is very wrong. They are fairly inefficient, but they can bring the unholy wrath of the gods down on someone who pisses them off. A good housecleaning and some better funding would work wonders.

I guess it's all a case of risk and reward. Call my cyncial, but I've always assumed that everything in my house is carcinogenic. Washing my clothes with nuts, deodorising my stinky pits with crystals and eating nothing but cress has always been deterrent enough for me to overlook it.

deodorising my stinky pits with crystals

Interestingly, I knew a lady who did that. Seemed to work well for her. She never smelled bad.

FatConan wrote:

I guess it's all a case of risk and reward. Call my cyncial, but I've always assumed that everything in my house is carcinogenic. Washing my clothes with nuts, deodorising my stinky pits with crystals and eating nothing but cress has always been deterrent enough for me to overlook it.

As someone pointed out to me, almost everything on this planet is carcinogenic, including crystals and nuts. The problem is one of semantics: "carcinogen" just means it increases the risk of developing cancer. It does not guarantee that you will get cancer.

So really it's one of managing risks. Saccharan, for example, might raise my risk of cancer if I eat pure, powdered saccharan for years. But that level of risk is preferable to the risk drinking gallons of soda filled with HFCS.

The crystals are just big hunks of potassium alum (see here for geeky particulars). It's a astringent that closes the pores and has an anti-bacterial effect on top of that. It does work just fine.

If you don't want to rub a wet rock under your arms every morning, they also sell a solution that sprays on and works fine too.

momgamer wrote:

If you don't want to rub a wet rock under your arms every morning, they also sell a solution that sprays on and works fine too.

I TOTALLY misread that the first time.

As someone who deals with the FDA and FDA regulations every day, this is very wrong.

Your perception is because you don't work for a big enough company to give former FDA commissioners extraordinarily lucrative jobs after they leave government.

momgamer wrote:

The crystals are just big hunks of potassium alum (see here for geeky particulars). It's a astringent that closes the pores and has an anti-bacterial effect on top of that. It does work just fine.

If you don't want to rub a wet rock under your arms every morning, they also sell a solution that sprays on and works fine too.

I stand corrected. Interestingly, I doubt a mixture of potassium and aluminium salts is entirely without its health risks.

Your perception is because you don't work for a big enough company to give former FDA commissioners extraordinarily lucrative jobs after they leave government.

And you're so confident that the case of a company in the early 90's putting 2 people into the FDA indicates the entire organization is totally corrupt today? I've got first-hand experience with FDA HQ as well, on a near-daily basis for over 11 years, and I've only seen neutrality and opposition to industry pressure.

What's tremendously ironic that most FDA staffers are as vociferously against industry lobbying and influence as you are, but you're willing to condemn them all because of what you've read about a one program two decades ago, and in the face of first-hand accounts to boot. Maybe, just maybe, you need to adjust your threshold for what is acceptable evidence.

I know that their approval of aspartame f*cked my life up completely. After hearing about the falsified studies (cutting brain tumors out of rats), and their continued refusal to take it off the market, that's all I need to know.

Malor wrote:

I know that their approval of aspartame f*cked my life up completely. After hearing about the falsified studies (cutting brain tumors out of rats), and their continued refusal to take it off the market, that's all I need to know.

Yeah, because the FDA is solely responsible for the existence of aspartame...

wikipedia[/url]]Aspartame has been found to be safe for human consumption by more than ninety countries worldwide

Oh.

MacBrave wrote:

Agreed. And on a slight tangent does High Fructose Corn Syrup = Sugar? Relabeling HFCS as 'Corn Sugar' is the latest campaign by big agribusiness.

Yeah that's completely fine, sugar is a very, very broad term. It's a little bit misleading, because it's trying to to make you think "oh it's just sugar sugar, but from corn" and that's not true at all, as they are chemically different.

Common sugar is Sucrose (basically 50-50 glucose/fructose) but High Fructose Corn Syrup adjusts that ratio in it's mixture. (Sucrose, glucose, and fructose are all "sugars" and there are many more).

So even though I dislike HFCS in general, and it's meant to be a bit misleading, I have to agree that "Corn Sugar" is as valid a name as any other.