Cancer, such a taboo word in today’s world that nobody wants to even hear about it! However, being informed is being empowered. Cancer can be eradicated from society if we take steps to prevent it and learn about it. But there are many rumors out there, telling half truths and whole lies. Many ordinary household items are coming under scrutiny for no reason. Here we take a look at some of these so-called carcinogenic everyday items.
Lab studies have suggested that saccharin, the replacement for the earlier proven and banned cancer causing sweetener – cyclamate, causes tumors in rats. Since this was proved, saccharin wasn’t banned, but all products containing saccharin were required to carry a cancer warning on their packaging. However, both cyclamate and saccharin were only proven to cause cancer in rats, not in humans, according to the National Cancer Institute.
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Studies in the 70’s had claimed that ethanol in mouthwash causes oral cancer. However, the evidence against mouthwash is weak, according to the American Dental Association. ‘Mouthwash is safe when used as directed by a dentist’ claims the ADA. The prescribed use is once to twice a day at most, without swallowing.
These cholesterol lowering drugs have been shown to increase the risk of cancer among participants who took higher doses. However, this study, which was conducted in 2007, was overpowered by a study conducted in 2008, which proved that it wasn’t the medicine that was causing the risk of cancer but the cholesterol levels. A separate review of research involving roughly 170,000 participants found no link between statins and cancer.
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On the Larry King show in 1993, a man spoke about how he was suing his wife’s mobile company claiming that his wife was diagnosed with brain cancer and the cause was her mobile phone. This broadcast caused a public uproar and this was followed by millions of dollars being poured into research work related to mobile phones and cancer. However, the largest study till date, which was conducted in 2010, could neither confirm nor dismiss a connection between cell phones and cancer. The results were very unclear considering the fact that participants in the study must have suggested incorrect details.
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Deodorant and antiperspirant
About 10 years ago, an e-mail warned women about the connection between antiperspirants and breast cancer. It claimed that both deodorants and antiperspirants mimic the effects of the hormone estrogen which, in high amounts, can cause breast cancer. However, there was no scientific backing to this claim. A 2002 study of hundreds of women with and without breast cancer, found no sign that antiperspirants or deodorants upped cancer risk.
In 1995, a husband and wife team (Sydney Ross Singer and Soma Grismaijer) of medical anthropologists wrote a book that proposes a link between bras and breast cancer. They claimed that bras promote the buildup of cancer-causing toxins in the breast. However, experts stress that a link between bras and breast cancer has never been proven. Considerable evidence points to other variables affecting a woman’s risk of breast cancer, such as weight, age, and family history.
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In 2008 researchers from the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer claimed that they found a pattern of bladder cancer in male hairdressers and barbers. However, it’s unclear whether the chemicals used in current dyes cause cancer, according to the National Cancer Institute.
So if you’ve heard many of the smart alecs giving you gyaan about carcinogenic material in everyday items, tell them to do their research first! Here, in fact, is a list of household items that are proven to cause cancer – nonstick cookware, cosmetics, plastic, VOC paint and radon.