Everyday Items Linked to Cancer

Research is constantly learning more about the human body and what affects it, both positively and negatively. Our bodies are naturally designed to deal with exposure to certain levels of unhealthy substances through our detoxification pathways. When we start adding repeated, consistent exposure to toxins from multiple sources daily, it can be too much for our bodies to handle and can lead to serious health issues like cancer.

Here are five everyday items that have been linked to an increased risk of cancer and what you can do to reduce this risk.

Fresh Paint

We all know that fresh paint smell, but did you know it can cause cancer? The aromatic chemicals released from fresh paint, plastic shower curtains, flooring, and new cabinetry are known as volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and include chemicals like formaldehyde, naphthalene, and chloroform. Their ability to cause cancer are well-documented but often overlooked. To reduce your risk, choose paints that are low- or no-VOC.

Shampoo & Conditioner

Cancer-causing cocamide DEA is often used a foaming agent or emulsifier in shampoos and conditioners. It is coconut oil refined with diethanolamine, and there is currently no safe level of exposure to this chemical. Even organic products can contain this carcinogen. To avoid exposure, read labels and avoid products that contain cocamide DEA, MEA, or TEA (they are all related).


Our skin is our largest organ and one of our most absorbent ones, too.We’ve long been told that excessive exposure to the sun is a risk of developing skin cancer. But what about the sunscreen we use that soaks right into our skin? Ingredients like oxybenzone, retinyl palmitate (synthetic vitamin A), and artificial fragrances have all been shown to increase one’s risk of developing cancer. Moderate levels of sun exposure, keeping your skin covered with a hat and light clothing, and using zinc- or titanium-based sunscreen options can all help reduce your risk of cancer from both the sun and sunscreen.


Parabens are synthetic preservatives used in a variety of cosmetic products, including make-up, that have been linked to hormone disruption and cancer. Measurable amounts of these chemicals have been found in malignant cancer tissue and in urine samples, indicating that significant cumulative exposure through topical applications. To protect yourself, choose make-up and personal care products that are paraben-free, which can include many popular drug store brands.

Laundry Detergent

Many laundry detergents contain the carcinogenic petrochemical 1,4-dioxane.Since it is a byproduct of manufacturing, 1,4-dioxane is not required to be listed as an ingredient on labels. Studies have found that long-term exposure to this chemical increases risk of liver and kidney damage and cancer. It can also increase the cancer-causing properties of other carcinogenic chemicals. When our clothes come into contact with our skin, our skin can absorb this chemical that is left behind from washing. Choose a laundry detergent free of 1,4-dioxane, such as Dreft powdered, Sun Burst, Clorox Green Works, ECOS, Life Tree, Method, or Seventh Generation.

With big corporations out to make a quick buck and more interested in their bottom line over our health, it is important to be an informed consumer for the sake of your own health. Making small changes can help reduce your exposure to carcinogens and help protect your health long-term.

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