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PCN’s Weekly Cancer Prevention Tips

WEEK OF November 3 – December 10, 2016



  1. Indoor tanning isn’t healthy and can cause cancer. The US FDA wants them bannedfor minors and for good reason. Ultraviolet radiation from tanning beds is a human carcinogen. Analysis of over 20 studies combined shows that the risk of skin cancer (cutaneous melanoma) is 75% greater when the use of tanning devices starts before age 30.
  2. Sweat! You can sweat by exercise or a sauna, but be sensible and don’t over-do it. Be sure to replace your fluids and salts. Sweating is a great way to excrete cancer-causing substances such as some all-too-pervasive persistent organic pollutants, and toxic metals.

Check back soon! Tips are updated every weekend.
What do you do for a greener, healthier life? Please email us! info@preventcancernow with subject “Cancer Prevention Tip”

  – The PCN Team


Cancer Prevention Tips

    
    
    



IN THE KITCHEN

  1. Eat your veggies. The richer a population’s diet is in vegetables and legumes (peas, beans and lentils) the lower the rate of cancer and many related chronic diseases. Eat these abundantly! The “creative cook” can add puréed veggies to sauces, cakes, cookies…just about anything! Try cauliflower or squash in cheese sauces, carrots or zucchini in cakes, spinach in spaghetti sauces, or extra veggies in soups.
  2. When choosing fruits and vegetables, generally fresh is better than frozen; and frozen is better than dried or canned. If you have the freezer space, quick-freeze on cookie sheets and save the summer harvest!
  3. Avoid genetically engineered (a.k.a. “modified”) organisms (GMOs) and their associated pesticides because they are increasingly suspected of causing cancers and other conditions such as kidney disease. 100% organic foods do not contain GMOs, but unless other foods are labelled you can only guess what is in them. GMOs (particularly corn and soy) are common in processed foods, and labelling initiatives are fought by corporate interests.
  4. Choose organic grains, soy and canola to avoid the weedkiller glyphosate. It’s applied to GMO crops, and used to “dry down” grains before harvest. The International Agency for Research on Cancer found that the weedkiller glyphosate probably causes cancer. Canada does not require labelling of genetically “engineered” foods (so called, to distinguish from genetic modification via breeding), but they are common ingredients in processed products.
  5. Avoid hydrogenated vegetable fats (“trans fats”) as these processed oils have been linked specifically to cancer. The Institute of Medicine has concluded that there is no safe level for consumption of trans fat.
  6. Avoid processed meats. The World Health Organization declared that bacon, sausages and other processed meats are as strong a cancer threat as cigarettes. In your body, the nitrate preservative forms carcinogenic N-nitroso compounds. For example, research shows higher risks of childhood leukemia with intake of hot dogs, and bladder cancer with intake of bacon. Prolonged boiling of hot dogs will leach some of the nitrate.
  7. Opt for healthier condiments with less sugar and artificial ingredients, like salsa instead of ketchup. Learn to relish healthier substitutes like pesto and mustard! Also see Sharon Labchuk’s great recipe for naturally fermented salsa verde.
  8. Don’t eat foods that look even somewhat discolored, as they may be contaminated with moulds and their harmful mycotoxins. For example, aflatoxins are produced by black moulds that grow on foods such as seeds, including grains, legumes and nuts.
  9. Don’t eat charred foods as they contain carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and possibly acrylamide , depending on the food. PAHs are formed during grilling, searing and roasting. Even dark toast is better avoided.
  10. Get enough folic acid. Folate is an important B vitamin that is essential for the healthy development of the nervous system, and helps to reduce the risk of cancers. You need folate every day, because it is not stored in the body. Many fruits, vegetables and nuts contain folate, and it is added to some flours. Top picks include dark green leafy vegetables, dried beans, asparagus, sunflower seeds, and foods made with enriched flour.
  11. Prefer wild over farmed salmon as they contain high levels of toxins that can increase the risk of certain types of cancer in humans.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

  1. Eat plenty of dark greens such as romaine lettuce and spinach, for fiber, folate, and a range of cancer-fighting carotenoids. Be sure to include them in your daily diet along with a rich variety of fruits and vegetables.
  2. Eat purple potatoes. According to new research, compounds found in purple potatoes may help kill colon cancer stem cells and limit the spread of the cancer.
  3. Beans and lentils are your friends. Researchers have found a significantly reduced frequency of breast cancer in women with a higher intake of dried beans or lentils. They found that eating these foods two (or more) times a week resulted in a 24% lower risk. Also, a phytochemical found in beans called diosgenin appears to inhibit cancer cells from multiplying. The popular Indian food, Dahl, is a great way to consume these foods and a wonderful protein choice for vegetarians and meat eaters alike.
  4. Eat mushrooms. Science shows a long history in cancer prevention. Oyster, cremini, shiitake, maitake, reishi, kawaratake, enokitake and other mushrooms contain selenium, lentinian and other phytonutrients such as polyphenols, which modulate the immune system to reduce cancer. Include mushrooms on a regular basis in your diet.
  5. Eat seaweeds such as nori, kombu, wakame, arame, and dulse. They contain molecules that may slow cancer growth, such as breast, prostate, skin and colon cancers.
  6. Use good quality turmeric liberally in your cooking. Curcumin is the principle molecule in turmeric responsible for its powerful anti-inflammatory and anti-tumor effect. In the laboratory, curcumin has been shown to inhibit the growth of a large number of cancers including colon, prostate, lung, liver, stomach, breast, ovarian, brain and leukemia. Add black pepper to turmeric so that it will be better absorbed into the body.
  7. Eat beets for their fiber, folate and a wide range of cancer-fighting carotenoids. Here is a healthy appetizer and dessert and some other tips on eating beets.
  8. Sweet potatoes, yams and orange squashes are a good source of vitamin A, potassium and calcium, along with important flavonoids. They add color to your meal, and can be used in appetizers, soups, side-dishes and desserts. Include them in your diet with other veggies, along with a rich variety of fruits, beans and lentils, grains, nuts and seeds (go easy on the latter as they’re fattening!!).
  9. Foods that have a high sulphur content such as brassicas (e.g. broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale) and alliums (e.g. onions and garlic) support higher levels of glutathione in the body. Glutathione is essential for excretion of toxic metals, and is an important antioxidant or redox regulator for pathways that promote death of early cancer cells.
  10. Soy good! Soy isoflavones block the stimulation of cancer cells by sex hormones. They also intervene by blocking or limiting the growth of tumors to an aggressive malignant stage. Fermented soy is recommended. Buy organic if possible, as most non-organic soy products are genetically modified.
  11. Eat tofu. Made from soybeans, tofu is a great source of protein and can be added to many foods such as sauces, stir-fries, puddings, and shakes. Soy also contains phytoestrogen (a weak estrogenic chemical) that may decrease incidence of some cancers and other chronic diseases, particularly after menopause. Anyone sensitive to sulphites should check the label on the tofu package.
  12. Include foods from Mediterranean and Asian cuisine in your diet, as they use ingredients such as spices and herbs that have anti-inflammatory properties, and can activate immune cell production. Avoid “westernized” recipes – stick with the traditional versions (and ingredients).
  13. Treat yourself to turnips. They are a cruciferous vegetable, containing cancer-fighting indoles and isothiocyanates and other health promoting phytochemicals. Turnips are also particularly high in anti-carcinogenic glucosinolates.
  14. Eat plenty of cabbage, including fermented cabbage. It is a cruciferous vegetable, a family that is often cited as an important for cancer fighting abilities as they contain indoles and isothiocyanates. Fermented vegetables contain important bacteria for intestinal health.
  15. Include arugula in a rich variety of fruits and vegetables in your diet, and chew your food well! Arugula contains glucosinolates, which when chewed, are converted to isothiocyanates. Isothiocyanates have well documented anti-cancer properties.
  16. Eat pumpkin, a member of the Curcubitae (squash/melon/cucumber) family, as it contains high levels of fiber and colourful carotenoids, which may reduce the risk of colon cancer. Pumpkin also contains beta-cryptoxanthin, which may reduce the risk of lung cancer. Include pumpkin in your diet along with a rich variety of fruits and vegetables. Here is a great recipe to get you started!
  17. Asparagus is great! Spring is a time of new beginnings and renewal, so be sure to include fiber rich vegetables such as asparagus in your regular diet to support the body’s detoxification process. Asparagus is a particularly rich source of glutathione, a compound that helps your body eliminate toxic metals and other harmful compounds.
  18. Don’t forget bananas. Most people don’t get enough potassium in their diet, mainly because they don’t eat enough fruits and veggies. A diet rich in potassium is important and bananas rank nearly the highest among all fruits. The next time you get groceries be sure to pick up some bananas (here is a great Breakfast Smoothie recipe to get you started).
  19. Treat yourself to salad from nature, such as dandelion leaves (fresh or blanched), lambs quarters, purslane, wood sorrel (lemony!), pansy flowers and violets (flowers are sweet) – or use “wild” ingredients to dress up your regular salad. Check with books, local experts or online to be sure of plant identification. Pick from cleaner environments – not close to a road or where pesticides were sprayed. Salad dressings with a bit of oil help you to absorb more of the vitamins in these very nutritious greens. Email us to share what your favourite wild food is!
  20. Herbs are your friends! Prevention is a word well known to herbalists. The practice of herbal medicine uses herbs to nourish and strengthen the body and increase vitality. Herbs play a role in cancer prevention in several ways. They can improve immune function and detoxification, and help the body and mind to cope with the everyday stresses of life, including cancer. Other herbs act as direct anti-cancer agents, inhibiting the initiation, promotion and progression of cancer development.
  21. Try the horseradish challenge. This eye-watering condiment not only clears your sinuses, just a teaspoon can help to prevent cancer as it aids detoxification of persistent carcinogenic molecules. In your garden, horseradish has large decorative leaves and very deep roots.

FOOD PREPARATION TIPS

  1. It is best to cook veggies lightly by steaming or sautéing with a bit of high quality fat (e.g. coconut or olive oil, or organic butter). This retains more anti-oxidants and other anti-cancer nutrients in brassicas (e.g. broccoli) than over-boiling. Cooking tomatoes produces a better absorbed form of lycopene. A bit of fat improves absorption of fat-soluble phytonutrients such as lycopene from tomatoes or vitamin A from carrots. You can also enjoy steamed veggies with some fresh avocado to aid absorption.
  2. Moderate your salt intake. Many people eat more salt than is necessary or healthy. Research shows that higher incidence of stomach, esophagus, and bladder cancer among populations with high salt intake is due to salt-preserved foods (e.g. processed meats and pickled foods) and the saltshaker, and is worsened with H. pylori infection. Clearly excessive salt contributes to cancer as well as other chronic diseases, so it is best used with greater restraint. Other seasonings such as vinegar, garlic, herbs and spices are tasty substitutes for salt.
  3. ‘Smoke point’ matters! Do not overheat or repeatedly reheat cooking oils as it can create cancer-causing substances.
  4. Consider cooking or juicing hard or tough vegetables such as carrots or beets, to improve absorption of nutrients. Breaking down the plant cell walls makes the phytonutrients more accessible.
  5. Prepare your rice right! Inorganic arsenic, a known carcinogen, is hyperaccumulated by rice. Thus, rice plants exposed to arsenic in the soil, compost or water may have high levels in the grain. This is fairly common, but there is no way of knowing if your rice is affected. To reduce arsenic, pre-soak rice in ample water and/or cook it in excess water and drain before serving. Unfortunately, this also reduces B-vitamins.
  6. Citrus peels, particularly lemon, contain D-limonene. Limonene regulates enzymes that detoxify carcinogens, and also dissolves cholesterol in gallstones. Higher consumption is linked with lower incidence of skin, mammary, liver and lung cancers. When making lemonade be sure to use organic lemons so you can include the peel (they won’t have pesticides and wax)!
  7. Don’t char foods as it creates carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and possibly acrylamide , depending on the food. PAHs are formed during grilling, searing and roasting. Even dark toast is better avoided. Moist cooking is healthier.
  8. Ditch the non-stick cookware. When heated, the coating emits toxic chemicals into food and the air, especially at higher temperatures and when scratched. Try always to use glass, ceramic, or stainless steel cookware.

STORAGE TIPS

  1. Use non-toxic cookware, made of glass, stainless steel and cast iron (not made with recycled metals). Avoid non-stick coated cookware. Even low levels of fluorinated coating materials can interfere with hormone actions, and promote cancer.
  2. Avoid plastic food storage containers, and never heat food or beverages in plastic containers. Always use glass in the microwave!
  3. Choose food preserved in glass rather than cans. The plastic linings of most cans may leach chemicals that interfere with hormone function. Acidic foods like tomatoes, and fatty foods, may leach more chemicals from linings.
  4. Avoid using hard plastic drink bottles, as they often contain bisphenol A (BPA), an endocrine disrupting chemical that may also cause cancer. Substitutes such as bisphenol-S (BPS) are no better, and estrogenic chemicals are common in plastics. Polypropylene and polyethylene are not estrogenic, although additives may be problematic . If you must use a plastic bottle, avoid ones with the recycling symbol #7 and go for the less risky types – #2, #4, and #5. Your best choice is to use glass or, for a less fragile option, use stainless steel bottles for water.

SNACKING

  1. Avoid microwave popcorn for several reasons, including the fact that the packaging sheds perfluorooctanoic acid, a potential carcinogen that lingers in the body. Denmark has come up with a much safer alternative – ask your favorite Canadian retailers to do the same! Until then, stick with a hot air popper.
  2. Avoid drinks containing artificial sweeteners, as some may be linked to cancers. As well, the body becomes hungry for the anticipated calories, resulting in food cravings, which can lead to poor food choices. Cellular signaling is also upset, leading to obesity and other related chronic diseases. Being obese is linked with higher risk of cancer.
  3. Opt for healthier condiments with less sugar and artificial ingredients, like salsa instead of ketchup. Learn to relish healthier substitutes like pesto and mustard! Also see Sharon Labchuk’s great recipe for naturally fermented salsa verde.
  4. Dark chocolate (more than 70% cocoa) contains a number of antioxidants, proanthocyanidins, and polyphenols. These molecules slow the growth of cancer cells and limit the formation of blood vessels that feed tumor growth (angiogenesis). Twenty grams a day (one fifth of an average bar) is a recommended serving size.

RETURN TO TOPICS



HEALTHY HOME

  1. Avoid second hand smoke, also called environmental tobacco smoke, as it has been proven to cause lung cancer in non-smoking adults. Children and the fetus are particularly vulnerable to the many adverse effects of second hand smoke.
  2. Smoking bans work! The evidence is in and according to a new study smoking bans clearly reduce harm. Avoiding second hand smoke is “no-brainer”. Do you know of a gathering area which could/should be smoke free? We all know that bad habits (like cigarettes, unhealthy food, sitting instead of exercising outside, etc.) are not good for us, but habits can be hard to change. Being mindful can improve your life in many ways, including healthier behaviours.
  3. Go scent-free. Avoid conventional air “fresheners” that dispense potentially toxic chemicals to mask unpleasant odours. Natural absorbents such as baking soda, activated charcoal, or lava rock can reduce odours. Phthalates, added to make odours linger, affect hormone actions, while artificial fragrances contain many harmful chemicals that can contribute to the development of cancer. If you really want a scent, use toilet water or oils with natural scents (rather than perfume). To scent air naturally, boil spices like cinnamon and cloves in water in a shallow pan, or use bowls of natural potpourri.
  4. Use a mixture of olive oil and vinegar as a furniture polish. Many polishes contain toxic chemicals, and may have a skull and crossbones or warning about ventilation on the label.
  5. Dust is a major source of toxins. Leave shoes at the door, mop floors, vacuum (preferably with a high-efficiency particle arrester “HEPA” filter), and dust surfaces with a clean, damp cloth frequently!
  6. Good choices for holiday decorations are numerous and include fragrance-free candles with cotton wicks, or – even better – beeswax. Natural materials are in the spirit of ageless traditions and the changing of the seasons. Make your holiday green with these tips, and email yours for us to share!
  7. For a healthy alternative to commercial polishes, polish brass with a soft cloth dipped in lemon juice or a baking soda/water paste.
  8. Beige is the new black. Use unbleached paper towels, coffee filters, lunch bags, napkins and paper plates, as white paper bleached with chlorine has a residue of dioxin, a known carcinogen. Effluents from pulp bleaching plants can also harm communities where the products are made. Depending upon the process, mercury released during bleach production can also pollute communities for generations. Mercury is blown around the world, building up towards the poles (e.g. accumulating in whales and polar bears).
  9. Avoid common commercial fabric softeners as they contain toxic chemicals that may cause nervous system damage, respiratory problems and cancer. The raw ingredients (made from rendered animal remains) smell unpleasant, so fragrances (over 1000 possible chemicals) and agents to dull the sense of smell are added. Phthalates (endocrine disruptors) are added to make the fragrances last longer. Liquid fabric softeners add toxic chemicals to the waterways, while dryer sheets pollute the air. Instead, skip “softening” clothes altogether, or buy a set of re-usable dryer balls, or add a quarter-cup of vinegar to your wash cycle.
  10. Chemical fragrance stinks. Avoid purchasing goods containing artificial “fragrance”. Thousands of undisclosed chemicals go into cosmetics and consumer goods—and some are pretty nasty.
  11. Use chlorine-free treatments for pool water, such as ozone, salt water, or a water conditioner/hydrogen peroxide blend. Chlorinated water produces toxic by-products.
  12. Fix all moisture, leaks and drips in your home and workplace promptly, and keep the humidity low in the basement. Indoor molds can produce extremely potent toxins (mycotoxins) that are readily absorbed by the intestinal lining, airways, and skin, and can have toxic effects ranging from short-term irritation to immunosuppression and cancer. Any mould in your building should be sealed off until the mouldy material can be safely removed and repairs completed. Safe work practices include isolation of the space, ventilation to the outdoors, personal protection, and thorough cleanup. If you have a large mould problem, it’s a job for a professional.
  13. Opt for smooth, natural flooring – best are hardwood, ceramic tiles and natural washable throw rugs. Composites or synthetic carpeting may off-gas up to 120 volatile chemicals, especially in the first few months after installation. Dyes, binders, flame retardants and stain-resistant treatments in the synthetic carpets are hazardous to your health, and carpets also collect dust with other toxicants and allergens. Hazards are greatest for young children, crawling in the “dust zone.”
  14. Inquire about pest control history if you are looking for an apartment or condominium. Make sure you talk to the landlord or building manager before making a decision–better safe than sorry! Sanitation and non-toxic strategies are the way to go, rather than spraying toxic pesticides. If your current dwelling (or surrounding grounds) has an infestation of pests, explore and advocate for least-toxic strategies for their control and removal.
  15. Know your mothballs. Do not use mothballs containing naphthalene or paradichlorobenzene as they are suspected human carcinogens that may damage the eyes, blood, liver, kidneys, skin, and central nervous system. Instead, place clean clothing in sealed bags for storage. Otherwise, use natural alternatives like cedar balls or panels, and dried marigold, lavender, citronella and pennyroyal. Some people may be sensitive to the chemicals released by natural products.
  16. Location, location, location. If possible, choose to live in a community where you can commute to work or school and can run your errands on foot or by bicycle. While doing so, try to avoid heavily trafficked roads, as air pollution can be an important cause of cancer. Also, ensure that no industries or dumps used to be in your new area, as soil contamination can remain, and “brownfield redevelopment” was not done as carefully historically as it is supposed to be done today.
  17. Plant a tree, or lots of trees! Adopt and care for trees in your neighbourhood. Foliage acts as an air filter and cools the environment. Air pollution including smog that occurs with higher temperatures, causes cancers and other chronic diseases, and deaths.
  18. Varnish and paints may contain harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs) such as aromatic hydrocarbons. Choose a low-VOC or no-VOC water-based product. If you must use solvent-based products, you can limit your exposure to harmful vapours by wearing protective equipment including eyewear, gloves and a fitted mask with carbon canisters. Use the product outdoors or in a well-ventilated room. Avoid products that have a skull and crossbones on the label.
  19. Use white distilled vinegar and water to clean your home, office or automobile. It is a mild disinfectant and cleaning eliminates many odours.
  20. As a safer alternative to harsh conventional cleaners, use white vinegar or baking soda to clean and remove stains from the toilet bowl. Peroxide bleach may be mixed with vinegar for cleaning and disinfection, but avoid contact with eyes, skin or clothes, as peroxide is a potent chemical. (Never mix chlorine or hypochlorite bleach with vinegar!)
  21. A third of your life may be spent in bed, so choose wisely. Most conventional mattresses and pillows contain flame retardants that can interfere with hormone actions. Cotton and wool are naturally flame retardant, so organic mattresses and pillows of these materials should not contain petrochemicals and flame retardants that may contribute to cancers. A less expensive alternative could be high quality washable covers for your mattress and pillow. Aim for non-toxic options for upholstered furniture and cushions too.
  22. Check your home for radon! It’s a naturally occurring carcinogenic gas that can migrate through the foundation to your home’s lower levels, or come in ground water supplies. Residential exposure to radon is estimated to cause 16% of Canadian lung cancers, making it the second highest cause of lung cancer after tobacco smoke. To avoid infiltration, repair cracks and holes in the basement walls and floor, and ventilate the basement with positive pressure. Although it is recommended that houses should be tightly sealed for energy efficiency, adequate and appropriate ventilation is necessary to remove indoor air pollutants, including radon from the basement. A good motto is “seal tight, ventilate right.”
  23. Try a plunger first, instead of using toxic drain cleaners. Alternatively, pour 1/2 cup of baking soda down the drain then add 1/2 cup white vinegar and cover the drain tightly. The resulting chemical reaction can dislodge the debris so that it can be washed down the drain. Do not use either method after trying a commercial drain opener, as the resulting release of toxic chlorine gas can be dangerous.
  24. Minimize your garbage. Do all that you can, as waste disposal (and particularly incineration) leads to numerous environmental impacts that can increase cancer risks. Plastic fragments in waterways and soil, even in municipal compost, accumulate pollutants, and harm small creatures at the base of the food chain, and the pollutants might even move up the food chain to your plate. Remember too, that you paid for all that stuff in the garbage can, and that all the resource extraction, manufacturing and trucking emit greenhouse gases and other toxins! Let’s all aim for least-toxic options and Zero Waste. Ask manufacturers and retailers to reduce, reuse and recycle packaging.
  25. Lead is a probable carcinogen, a potent neurotoxin, and has many other toxic effects. Use protective equipment and careful, safe work practices when refinishing old wooden surfaces painted before the 1980s, and surfaces painted with marine paint, as these may well have a high lead content. Keep children well away, clean up daily, and wash clothes that might contain lead residue separately. A miniscule amount of lead dust can harm a child’s developing brain.
  26. Avoid lead in products. Do not store drinks in crystal decanters, because lead will leach into the beverage. Use alternatives when making “leaded glass.” Carefully handle and recycle old batteries. Use alternatives to lead ammunition. Be aware of lead at work.
  27. Avoid paradichlorobenzene. PDB is a possible carcinogen found in “pucks” for diaper pails and urinals, mothballs and, ironically, “deodorizers.” PDB has a strong odour and may pollute the air in an entire building. Avoid these products, and if you come across it in public places, inform management that they should not be used.
  28. Don’t purchase goods made of PVC plastic (polyvinyl chloride, recycling symbol 3), or packaged in tough, clear packaging. PVC is not easily recycled. It is the most toxic plastic to manufacture, it requires hormone-mimicking plasticizers to be flexible, it contains potentially toxic stabilizers, and forms dioxins (very toxic chemicals) when burned. PVC from China is made using a process that releases mercury – a global pollutant that migrates north and pollutes Canada’s bears, fish and whales.
    • Avoid PVC packaging.
    • Tell store managers and manufacturers (call the number on the product, or via their website) that you want minimal packaging with no PVC. Recycled cardboard may be a good option.
    • Tell your politicians that they should ban this type of packaging.
    • Consider organizing take-back-the-package events at local stores.
      • Learn more about recycling plastic

    RETURN TO TOPICS



    LAWN & GARDEN

    1. Say no to plastic grass. It’s a polyethylene-polypropylene blend fashioned from fossil fuels and the rubber crumb underlay contains numerous toxic chemicals. Too many soccer goalies get cancer.
    2. Spray plants with soap and water, rather than toxic insecticides, to kill aphids and other plant pests. Mix 40 parts water to one part dish liquid. Rinse with water after about 10 minutes to avoid burning the leaves. Note: this will damage blossoms.
    3. Ragweed germinates as soon as the snow disappears, but corn gluten meal stops the initial germination. Sprinkle this natural herbicide in areas where ragweed grew last year, as soon as the snow disappears, to minimize the misery in August. Corn gluten meal is sometimes labelled as a fertilizer.
    4. Control insect pests with least-toxic strategies and products, such as used for organic farming. Hand picking (e.g. asparagus beetles) can save your dinner, and damsel flies will lap up the larvae of those you miss. Ample flowering plants in orchards foster insect pest predators, and after a few years the fruit is almost all perfect. Ants will carry borax home and kill their nest (borax bait stations are commonly available). Diluted dish soap can help with aphids. Diatomaceous earth where insects crawl will scratch them so that they dehydrate (be careful not to breathe this dust!). Essential oils can repel pests. Got a gardening problem? Our expert network will find an answer. Email info@preventcancernow.ca your question, or favourite gardening tip for a chance to win a copy of Cancer: 101 Solutions to a Preventable Epidemic.
    5. Plant your veggies in clean earth, because crops can hyperaccumulate toxic metals. Older porches and walls (1980s and before) that were painted or had painted trim and/or window frames may have shed paint containing lead and other toxic elements. One solution is to plant in containers, using fresh earth.
    6. Organic, biodynamic and other strategies to maintain rich biodiversity in landscapes and gardens work! Don’t use pesticides, because many are linked to cancers. Besides, they harm beneficial as well as “pest” species so in the long run are counter-productive.
    7. Tackle weeds without toxic herbicides. Focus on what you want to grow, as densely growing plants crowd out new weeds. Mulch will suppress weeds and make them easier to pull, while keeping soil moist and not too hot in the summer. Most weeds can be killed by spraying the tops with acetic acid (strong vinegar) combined with a bit of soap (you may have to repeat for weeds that re-sprout) – commercial products are available. Corn gluten meal stops seeds from germinating. Effective tools are available to remove weeds without disturbing beds, and dandelion roots without stooping. For your lawn set the mower high and water seldom and deeply. More tips include low growing Dutch white clover to provide your lawn’s fertilizer needs while reducing weeds (clover even stays green after grass dries in mid-summer). Many cities offer advice, such as Ottawa, Toronto and Halifax (more tips here).
    8. Avoid the use of garden insecticides through companion planting. Growing different types of plants together can lead to healthier crops while providing natural pest control. The Three Sisters is an ancient strategy where the beans feed nitrogen to the corn, and the squash and/or pumpkin vines protect the beans and corn from critters. Broccoli, cabbages and other brassicas, planted among large tomato vines, can foil white cabbage butterflies (which seem to get confused, probably by the strong tomato smell, and don’t find the brassicas hiding below). Email us with your best companion planting tips!
    9. Use a manual lawn mower rather than a gas powered model. You’ll be addressing two cancer-related problems: more exercise for the pusher, and fewer airborne pollutants for the neighborhood! Bonus: you’ll also be reducing greenhouse gases!
    10. Veggie gardens are good for you. If you’re hungering for healthy food, and have too much grass to cut, convert some lawn into an edible landscape! Rather than digging up the grass, you can cover it with black plastic for a few weeks to kill the turf, then plant into the dead layer. Add organic compost to help break down everything (and feed your veggies!). Beat weeds by using mulch. You’ll know that no pesticides were added, and you and your neighbours will marvel at the taste!
    11. Treat yourself to salad from nature, such as dandelion leaves (fresh or blanched), lambs quarters, purslane, wood sorrel (lemony!), pansy flowers and violets (flowers are sweet) – or use “wild” ingredients to dress up your regular salad. Check with books, local experts or online to be sure of the identification. Pick from cleaner environments – not close to a road or where pesticides are sprayed. Salad dressings with a bit of oil help you to absorb more of the vitamins in these very nutritious greens. Email us to share what your favourite spring-time wild food is!
    12. Plant a tree, or lots of trees. Trees cool their surroundings, clean the air, and areas of cities with lots of trees tend to experience less strife. Be prepared to care for your tree(s) for a few years, to get them off to a good start.
    13. Adopt and care for trees in your neighbourhood. They give us oxygen! Foliage acts as an air filter and cools the environment. Air pollution including smog that occurs with higher temperatures, causes cancers and other chronic diseases, and deaths.

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    WORKPLACE

    1. Ensure you never take workplace toxicants home with you. Shower and change clothes at work, and wash work clothes separately. Don’t expose children to chemical residues that could be present in vehicles that are used for work.
    2. Take precautionary measures at work to avoid taking in airborne or other toxicants. This includes working with rubber, plastics, cement, lead, formaldehyde, pesticides, strong drugs, cleaners, etc. Consult management to ensure that safe and healthy practices are in place, and improvements are implemented as they become available. Keep a diary over the years of your exposures. Here is an example.
    3. Chemical fragrance stinks. Avoid purchasing goods containing artificial “fragrance”. Thousands of undisclosed chemicals go into cosmetics and consumer goods—and some are pretty nasty.
    4. Go fragrance-free at work and ditch the perfumes and scented personal care products. The “fragrance” is generally a toxic mixture of many chemicals (some of which have been linked to cancer and neurotoxicity). Phthalates, chemicals to make the scent last longer, have been shown to disrupt the human endocrine (hormonal) system. This can contribute to breast and prostate cancers – the most common cancers in women and men respectively.
    5. Asbestos is the leading cause of work-related lung cancer and death. Asbestos was used in many building components (floors, walls, ceilings, roofs) until the 1980s, and contaminated vermiculite insulation used until the 1990s. It continues to be used in imported brake pads, and some concrete pipes. There is no safe use of asbestos, and breathing of airborne fibres (e.g. when brakes are applied or materials disturbed) can eventually be deadly. Asbestos can be detected if examined under a microscope. Removal is a job for a professional.
    6. Avoid the antibacterial chemicals triclosan and triclocarban. Washing your hands with plain soap is just as effective — and plain soap does NOT promote antibiotic-resistant germs! Triclosan and triclocarban are in many products including antibacterial detergents, soaps, creams, toothpaste, mouthwash, clothing, shopping bags, counter tops and even plastics (e.g. microban®). These hormone-mimicking chemicals can pass through the skin and promote cancers. Sewage plants don’t completely remove these chemicals, and in waterways triclosan forms dioxins (that can also cause cancer). Triclosan is commonly found in Canadians’ urine . Watch for “triclo…” ingredients, and purchase alternative products.
    7. Use white distilled vinegar and water to clean your home and office. It is a mild disinfectant, and cleaning eliminates many odours.

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    HEALTHY LIVING

    1. Prepare for healthy holidays now! Stock the freezer with easy, healthy meals. Everyone gets busy during the holidays – shopping, decorating, seeing friends and family leave little time to cook nutritious food, so take defensive action NOW. Bon appetit!
    2. Drive less and cycle, walk, jog, rollerblade and bus more. This increases physical activity, and reduces transportation-related pollution including carcinogens and greenhouse gases.
    3. Location, location, location. If possible, choose to live in a community where you can commute to work or school and can run your errands on foot or by bicycle. While doing so, try to avoid heavily trafficked roads, as air pollution can be an important cause of cancer. Also, ensure that no industries or dumps used to be in your new area, as soil contamination can remain, and “brownfield redevelopment” was not done as carefully historically as it is supposed to be done today.
    4. Take up an activity such as yoga, meditation, tai chi or qigong! These traditional physical-mental activities can reduce the impact of stress, improve your physiology and stimulate the body’s natural defenses against cancer and other diseases.
    5. Get enough sleep. The International Agency for Research in Cancer (IARC) has deemed lack of sleep a carcinogen. It is believed to be related to lowered levels of melatonin. Sleep and melatonin production is disrupted not only by poor habits; they are also disrupted by light and electromagnetic radiation from wireless devices. Try to minimize shift work and ensure that you sleep well between shifts, to reduce the cancer risk arising from sleep disruption. Supplementation with melatonin is being investigated for cancer reduction in shift workers.
    6. Moderate your salt intake. Many people eat more salt than is necessary or healthy. Research shows that higher incidence of stomach, esophagus, and bladder cancer among populations with high salt intake is due to salt-preserved foods (e.g. processed meats and pickled foods) and the saltshaker, and is worsened with H. pylori infection. Clearly excessive salt contributes to cancer as well as other chronic diseases, so it is best used with greater restraint. Other seasonings such as vinegar, garlic, herbs and spices are tasty substitutes for salt.
    7. As we prepare treats and refreshments for family and friends, use lots of colourful fruits and vegetables, and go easy on the sugar and alcohol.
    8. Avoid processed meats. The World Health Organization declared that bacon, sausages and other processed meats are as strong a cancer threat as cigarettes. In your body, the nitrate preservative forms carcinogenic N-nitroso compounds. For example, research shows higher risks of childhood leukemia with intake of hot dogs, and bladder cancer with intake of bacon. Prolonged boiling of hot dogs will leach some of the nitrate.
    9. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables is a key to cancer prevention. It is optimum but may be impractical to always choose organically grown produce. Decide where to put your money knowing that the following tend to be the most contaminated by pesticides, taking into account pesticide toxicity: Beans (green), Celery, Cucumbers, Kale/Greens, Lettuce, Peas, Peppers (Sweet Bell), Potatoes, Spinach, and Tomatoes. When it’s not possible to purchase organic food, be sure to scrub, peel fruits and vegetables, and remove outer leaves when appropriate. Fragile produce that cannot be scrubbed may be soaked in water, possibly with a bit of vinegar, and then rinsed. Scrubbing and then peeling will help to remove external pesticides and wax, but unfortunately will not remove chemicals already absorbed from the soil or from spraying during the growing period.
    10. Tea is the beverage most commonly enjoyed by centenarians around the world. The polyphenols in tea affect many cellular pathways, to help ward off cancer. Green tea is particularly recommended.
    11. Drink lots of water. Avoid sodas and “fruit punch” that contain high levels of sugar and may contain additives with no nutritional value, but that may be harmful. “Sugar-free” versions with artificial sweeteners are no better.
    12. Enjoy time with friends and family, sing, laugh, roam the outdoors, and spend quiet time for your inner peace.
    13. Exercise! Exercise! Exercise! Adults should get at least 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity 5 or more days a week. Exercise increases strength and reduces stress. Toxicants are excreted in sweat. Exercise increases your insulin receptor sensitivity and lowers levels of insulin and leptin (hormone signaling a feeling of satiety). Exercise also improves the circulation of immune cells and your lymphatic system, which eliminate precancerous cells. Children need vigorous exercise daily.
    14. Practice safe sex using a condom and avoid exposures to bodily fluids, to avoid cancer-causing infectious agents such as hepatitis B and C, HIV, and human papilloma virus. Infectious agents are estimated to be responsible for 22% of cancer deaths in developing countries and 6% in industrialized countries.
    15. Sweat! You can sweat by exercise or a sauna, but be sensible and don’t over-do it. Be sure to replace your fluids and salts. Sweating is a great way to excrete cancer-causing substances such as some all-too-pervasive persistent organic pollutants, and toxic metals.
    16. Don’t smoke, and avoid second hand smoke and third hand smoke left on clothing and indoor surfaces. Smoke contains small particles that penetrate deep into lung tissues, as well as benzene, formaldehyde, arsenic, cadmium, lead, and numerous polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). These chemicals are all carcinogens, with numerous other adverse health effects as well. The foetus and child are most vulnerable.
    17. Avoid living close to or downstream/downwind of dry cleaning facilities that could expose you to perchlorethylene (PERC) fumes. PERC is a probable human carcinogen that may be emitted from facilities or contaminate soil. PERC fumes may also infiltrate foundations and basements of nearby buildings. Choose alternative methods to clean your clothes.
    18. Well-treed areas are normally healthier than “concrete jungles.” The air is cleaner, they are cooler in the summer, and can even have a lower crime rate. Try to live close to, and regularly enjoy, natural areas.
    19. Biking is great exercise, and reduces vehicle emissions that contribute to cancer as well as global warming. To minimize exposure to air pollutants, bicycle commuters can choose routes away from traffic, commute early to avoid rush hour pollution, and/or use a mask containing activated carbon to reduce exposure.
    20. Breastfeed your baby, and support breast-feeding. Human milk is alive and brimming with infection fighting agents. It also helps build healthy immune and nervous systems.
    21. If you must dry clean clothes, choose services with modern non-toxic methods. Otherwise, air out dry-cleaned garments for several hours or days (preferably outdoors) before wearing. This reduces your exposure to the toxic perchloroethylene (tetrachloroethene) used in conventional dry-cleaning.
    22. Indoor tanning isn’t healthy and can cause cancer. The US FDA wants them bannedfor minors and for good reason. Ultraviolet radiation from tanning beds is a human carcinogen. Analysis of over 20 studies combined shows that the risk of skin cancer (cutaneous melanoma) is 75% greater when the use of tanning devices starts before age 30.
    23. Early and prolonged use of oral contraceptives have been linked to an increased risk of breast cancer, as may treatments for in vitro fertilization. Further studies have shown links between long term hormone replacement therapy (HRT) usage and other cancers like ovarian and colon cancer. Hormonal exposures affect cancer risks, including for breast cancer. Thoroughly research your options when choosing contraceptives, reproductive treatments and before using HRT.
    24. Say no to GMO. Avoid genetically engineered (a.k.a. “modified”) organisms (GMOs) and their associated pesticides because they are increasingly suspected of causing cancers and other conditions such as kidney disease. 100% organic foods do not contain GMOs, but unless other foods are labelled you can only guess what is in them. GMOs (particularly corn and soy) are common in processed foods, and labelling initiatives are fought by corporate interests.

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    PERSONAL CARE

    1. Smile :-) Let your natural beauty shine through, or use unfragranced, non-toxic beauty products. If you work in a salon or spa as a hairdresser, stylist, cosmetologist, manicurist or pedicurist this is especially important. Also, ensure that there is adequate ventilation in the workplace.
    2. Non-toxic hair tip: Massage a bit of mayonnaise into your scalp, and comb it through your hair. Wash it out after a half hour or so (you’ll need a couple of suds sessions). It beats dandruff, and leaves your hair gleaming. Email us with your favourite non-toxic, home-brew personal care.
    3. Olive and coconut oils have been shown to be excellent skin moisturizers, so avoid the myriad of unnatural, chemical-laden commercial products. Coconut oil is also great for your hair!
    4. Chemical fragrance stinks. Avoid purchasing goods containing artificial “fragrance”. Thousands of undisclosed chemicals go into cosmetics and consumer goods—and some are pretty nasty.
    5. Avoid deodorants and antiperspirants containing aluminum, fragrances, aerosol propellants and antibacterials such as triclosan (especially for women who shave their underarms, as this facilitates the penetration of harmful substances).PCN has busted the myth-busters! Baking soda is a safer option. Shaving is a good practice to reduce body odour. Bacteria stuck to the skin, and especially to the hair, cause the smell.
    6. Ditch the pricey designer defoliants and skin cleanser containing microbeads, fragrances and other iffy ingredients. A high quality cotton washcloth lasts for years, is inexpensive, reusable and versatile.
    7. New clothes should always be washed before being worn. Contrary to popular belief, even the cleanest, freshest looking new garments aren’t really clean and often contain chemicals including dyes and formaldehyde resin.
    8. Avoid talc and talcum powder. It is closely related to the potent carcinogen asbestos and has been linked to lung cancer. As well, the risk of ovarian cancer is increased with the genital use of talc. Contact local pediatricians and hospitals to find out if they have a policy on the use of talc on infants. If they don’t, take action to educate them.

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    TOXIC PRODUCTS

    1. Avoid toxic cleaning products when natural alternatives exist! Use lemon juice and water for general cleaning, cutting grease and polishing metal.
    2. Beware of “greenwashing” and do your homework before you go shopping! Many “eco” products are available that are low in VOCs (volatile organic compounds) and free of fragrance, chlorine and other toxins. Use these rather than conventional brands whenever possible. Learn more about eco labels (and what they mean) here and visit the ecolabel index here.
    3. Say no to GMO. Avoid genetically engineered (a.k.a. “modified”) organisms (GMOs) and their associated pesticides because they are increasingly suspected of causing cancers and other conditions such as kidney disease. 100% organic foods do not contain GMOs, but unless other foods are labelled you can only guess what is in them. GMOs (particularly corn and soy) are common in processed foods, and labelling initiatives are fought by corporate interests.
    4. Moderate your salt intake. Many people eat more salt than is necessary or healthy. Research shows that higher incidence of stomach, esophagus, and bladder cancer among populations with high salt intake is due to salt-preserved foods (e.g. processed meats and pickled foods) and the saltshaker, and is worsened with H. pylori infection. Clearly excessive salt contributes to cancer as well as other chronic diseases, so it is best used with greater restraint. Other seasonings such as vinegar, garlic, herbs and spices are tasty substitutes for salt.
    5. Avoid processed meats. The World Health Organization declared that bacon, sausages and other processed meats are as strong a cancer threat as cigarettes. In your body, the nitrate preservative forms carcinogenic N-nitroso compounds. For example, research shows higher risks of childhood leukemia with intake of hot dogs, and bladder cancer with intake of bacon. Prolonged boiling of hot dogs will leach some of the nitrate.
    6. Use non-toxic cookware, made of glass, stainless steel and cast iron (not made with recycled metals). Avoid non-stick coated cookware. Even low levels of fluorinated coating materials can interfere with hormone actions, and promote cancer.
    7. Avoid deodorants and antiperspirants containing aluminum, fragrances, aerosol propellants and antibacterials such as triclosan (especially for women who shave their underarms, as this facilitates the penetration of harmful substances).PCN has busted the myth-busters! Baking soda is a safer option. Shaving is a good practice to reduce body odour. Bacteria stuck to the skin, and especially to the hair, cause the smell.
    8. Use 100% organic cotton, linen, wool and hemp. Other fabrics may be doused with pesticides, bleached with chlorine, dyed with toxic heavy metals and aromatic amines, made wrinkle-free with formaldehyde based resins, and made stain resistant with hormone-mimicking fluorinated chemicals.
    9. Paradichlorobenzene (PDB) is a possible carcinogen found in “pucks” for diaper pails and urinals, mothballs and, ironically, “deodorizers.” PDB has a strong odour and may pollute the air in an entire building. Avoid these products, and if you come across them in public places, inform management that they should not be used.
    10. Chemical fragrance stinks. Avoid purchasing goods containing artificial “fragrance”. Thousands of undisclosed chemicals go into cosmetics and consumer goods—and some are pretty nasty.
    11. Go fragrance-free and ditch the perfumes and scented personal care products. The “fragrance” is generally a toxic mixture of many chemicals (some of which have been linked to cancer and neurotoxicity). Phthalates, chemicals to make the scent last longer, have been shown to disrupt the human endocrine (hormonal) system. This can contribute to breast and prostate cancers – the most common cancers in women and men respectively.
    12. Reduce or limit your exposure to toxic elements such as lead, chromium and cadmium in ceramic glazes, stained-glass materials, leaded crystal, and many pigments in oil-based paints. Lead may be in old house paint and plumbing.
    13. Avoid the antibacterial chemicals triclosan and triclocarban. Washing your hands with plain soap is just as effective — and plain soap does NOT promote antibiotic-resistant germs! Triclosan and triclocarban are in many products including antibacterial detergents, soaps, creams, toothpaste, mouthwash, clothing, shopping bags, counter tops and even plastics (e.g. microban®). These hormone-mimicking chemicals can pass through the skin and promote cancers. Sewage plants don’t completely remove these chemicals, and in waterways triclosan forms dioxins (that can also cause cancer). Triclosan is commonly found in Canadians’ urine . Watch for “triclo…” ingredients, and purchase alternative products.
    14. Avoid talc and talcum powder. It is closely related to the potent carcinogen asbestos and has been linked to lung cancer. As well, the risk of ovarian cancer is increased with the genital use of talc. Contact local pediatricians and hospitals to find out if they have a policy on the use of talc on infants. If they don’t, take action to educate them.
    15. Dress smart! Try alternatives to toxic dry-cleaning. If you must dry-clean your clothes, be sure to air out your garments for several hours or days (preferably outdoors) before wearing! This will reduce your exposure to the toxic perchloroethylene (tetrachloroethene) used in conventional dry-cleaning.
    16. Avoid common commercial fabric softeners as they contain toxic chemicals that may cause nervous system damage, respiratory problems and cancer. The raw ingredients (made from rendered animal remains) smell unpleasant, so fragrances (over 1000 possible chemicals) and neurotoxic agents are added to dull the sense of smell. Phthalates (endocrine disruptors) are added to make the fragrances last longer. Liquid fabric softeners contribute toxic chemicals to the waterways, while dryer sheets pollute the air. Instead, skip “softening” clothes altogether, buy a set of re-usable dryer balls, or add a quarter-cup of vinegar to your wash cycle.
    17. New clothes should always be washed before being worn. Contrary to popular belief, even the cleanest, freshest looking new garments aren’t really clean and often contain chemicals including dyes and formaldehyde resin.
    18. Rather than toxic insecticides to get rid of aphids, spray plants thoroughly with soap and water (80 parts water to 1 part liquid dish soap). Be sure to spray both sides of leaves! Rinse with water after about 10 minutes to avoid burning the leaves. Works best on dry days.
    19. Don’t purchase goods made of PVC plastic (polyvinyl chloride, recycling symbol 3), or packaged in tough, clear packaging. PVC is not easily recycled. It is the most toxic plastic to manufacture, it requires hormone-mimicking plasticizers to be flexible, it contains potentially toxic stabilizers, and forms dioxins (very toxic chemicals) when burned. PVC from China is made using a process that releases mercury – a global pollutant that migrates north and pollutes Canada’s bears, fish and whales.
      • Avoid PVC packaging.
      • Tell store managers and manufacturers (call the number on the product, or via their website) that you want minimal packaging with no PVC. Recycled cardboard may be a good option.
      • Tell your politicians that they should ban this type of packaging.
      • Consider organizing take-back-the-package events at local stores.
        • Learn more about recycling plastic

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      RADIATION EXPOSURE

      1. Download the printable brochure from the Environmental Health TrustDoctor’s Advice: Family Safety (printable PDF).
      2. Avoid radiation! Question your doctor and dentist to be sure that X-rays, CT scans and other such tests are absolutely necessary. Thyroid cancer, for example, has been linked to dental radiation particularly during childhood. Modern technologies are available that entail much lower or no radiation exposures, so be an educated patient!
      3. Wireless users should read the fine print! Wireless transmitting devices like cell phones and laptops should not touch your head or sit on your lap! Use landlines and wire/cable connections whenever possible, and keep your phone at a distance by texting more than talking, and using earphones or speakerphone. Only give a child a wireless device if all connections/antennae are turned off.
      4. Children should not use wireless devices. In January 2015, France passed a law banning wifi from daycares and nurseries, and other measures to restrict wifi in schools and advertising of wireless devices. In February 2015, Taiwan also passed a law to protect children and youth.
      5. Ultraviolet radiation from the sun and tanning beds is a human carcinogen. UV radiation rapidly provides with essential vitamin D, but caution should be exercised with exposure to UV radiation. Avoid burning your skin when outdoors, and use the UV index provided by your local weather office as a guide. When the UV index is high, protect yourself using loose, lightly colored clothing and a wide brim hat. Zinc oxide appears to be the safest sunscreen ingredient to block UVA and UVB radiation. Choose a product that makes the skin white, and is free of more hazardous substances such as parabens, nanoparticles, glycols, oxybenzone, and TEA, DEA or MEA (tri-, di-, or monoethaloamines).
      6. Don’t use wireless communications unless there is no alternative. Use wires/cables/fibre for computers at home, work and school. People are raising the issue of cellphone and wireless device safety across the World. You can, too! Learn how to adopt a cellphone wireless safety proclamation in your city!
      7. Don’t carry your phone close to your body. Not in your pocket guys (testicular cancer is increasing among young men and sperm counts are dropping), and not in your bra girls (breast cancers are being diagnosed where phones were habitually carried). When possible, leave your mobile phone on a shelf or table, or in a bag/purse. The further away from your body the better!
      8. Use speakerphone or a headset, or wait until the other person has picked up the call before putting the cell phone to your ear. A significant amount of electromagnetic radiation is emitted before the call has actually connected. Moving the phone back and forth from ear to ear will spread out exposures that can cause tumours of the brain and the acoustic nerve.
      9. Text instead of talking on your cell phone, to keep the device at a distance. For talking, always use speakerphone or earphones, or at least switch back and forth between ears.
      10. At night you should keep your cell phone away from your head unless you have it on ‘airplane’ or ‘offline’ mode, which stops electromagnetic emissions.
      11. Be strategic with your wireless communication devices, using them only when the signal is strong and turning off whenever possible.
      12. Avoid using your cell phone when the signal is weak or during rapid travel, as in a train, bus or car. The phone is constantly searching to connect, during which its power output is maximized.

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      BE THE CHANGE

      1. Plant-based diets can readily and inexpensively provide high quality nutrition Avoid ocean-farmed fish as they contain higher levels of persistent toxins that can increase the risk of certain types of cancer in humans. Sea Choice points out that for many reasons the healthiest options are also the most sustainable. Search for choices here. Fishing guidelines based upon location, species and size are available for various jurisdictions such as Ontario.
      2. Demand non-toxic alternatives from manufacturers that include toxic ingredients on their product labels, by calling their toll free numbers. Not all products have ingredient lists, but if you suspect a harmful ingredient is present, possibly through its odour, make the call!
      3. Beware of “greenwashing” and do your homework before you go shopping! Many “eco” products are available that are low in VOCs (volatile organic compounds) and free of fragrance, chlorine and other toxins. Use these rather than conventional brands whenever possible. Learn more about eco labels (and what they mean) here and visit the ecolabel index here.
      4. Plant a tree, or lots of trees. Adopt and care for trees in your neighbourhood. They give you oxygen! Foliage acts as an air filter and cools the environment. Air pollution including smog that occurs with higher temperatures, causes cancers and other chronic diseases, and deaths. Be prepared to care for newly planted trees for a few years, to get them off to a good start.
      5. Use 100% organic cotton, linen, wool and hemp. Other fabrics may be doused with pesticides, bleached with chlorine, dyed with toxic heavy metals and aromatic amines, made wrinkle-free with formaldehyde based resins, and made stain resistant with hormone-mimicking fluorinated chemicals.
      6. Promote affordable organic foods through personal and community gardens, co-ops, and advocacy.
      7. Remember that tree that you planted or adopted? Take care of it, making sure that it gets enough water deep to the root zone. Protect the trunk from rodents during the winter, and remove protection in the spring.
      8. Modern living shouldn’t require a chemistry dictionary and magnifying glass to read labels. Work with others for least-toxic approaches to pest control, industrial processes and product formulations. In the interim, work for comprehensive, transparent labelling, including genetically engineered (a.k.a. “modified”) organisms (GMOs), country of origin and chemical contents.
      9. Consider green gifts that have a low environmental impact, and always try to avoid plastic packaging. Seek out locally made gifts where possible, or gifts made from natural materials, things you made, or best of all your time and love! All material goods carry an environmental cost for resources, manufacturing, packaging, transportation…all the way to eventual disposal.
      10. Breastfeed your baby, and support breast-feeding. Human milk is alive and brimming with infection fighting agents. It also helps build healthy immune and nervous systems.
      11. People are raising the issue of cellphone and wireless device safety across the World. You can, too! Learn how to adopt a cellphone wireless safety proclamation in your city!

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      • Real pumpkins don’t burn. Opt for a healthier Hallowe’en with creative costumes from the back of the closet, a good ol’ pillowcase for the loot, and natural instead of plastic Hallowe’en decorations. Avoid toxic flame retardants.
      • Try DIY makeup instead of exposing the kids to unknown and potentially harmful ingredients in Halloween kits. Here are some home-made options.
      • Stay physically active over the holidays! Enjoy time with friends and family, sing, roam the outdoors, go skating, snowshoeing or skiing, or where it is too warm you can hike or bike! Turn off your smart phone and unplug!
      • Stock the freezer with healthy meals now! Everyone gets busy during the holidays – shopping, decorating, seeing friends and family leave little time to cook healthy food. Take defensive action NOW by cooking meals intended specifically for the freezer.
      • Good choices for holiday decorations are numerous and include fragrance-free candles with cotton wicks, or – even better – beeswax. Natural materials are in the spirit of ageless traditions and the changing of the seasons. Make your holiday green with these tips, and email us yours!
      • As we prepare holiday treats and refreshments for family and friends, use lots of colourful fruits and vegetables, go easy on the sugar and alcohol, and drink lots of water. The colours in natural foods are powerful anti-cancer nutrients, whereas artificial colours leave the impression of nutrition without the benefits. Some colourants are being discontinued because of harmful effects in children. Avoid sugary sodas and “fruit punch”. “Sugar-free” versions with artificial sweeteners are no better.
      • Skip the store-bought candies and cookies and indulge in only the most special holiday treats, like homemade recipes important to your family and traditions. Don’t completely deprive yourself of yummy stuff over the holidays – you’ll eventually snap and end up overeating!