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Protecting Yourself Against Carcinogens in the Home

The causes of cancer are varied and in some cases undefinable. While particular lifestyle choices or exposure to harmful agents may explain the development of cancer in one person, there may appear to be no connection whatsoever to any attributable cause in another person. In some cases, in fact, a cancer diagnosis may appear to be completely random. The best that we can do with regard to lowering our risk is to concentrate on those things that we can control. It is believed that an improved diet, regular exercise, and limited exposure to known carcinogens can lower our risk for developing certain types of cancer. Carcinogens can be tricky because they surround us on a daily basis in the home and workplace. But just as we can quit smoking to limit exposure to those particular carcinogens, we can also do some work in helping to limit our exposure to potentially harmful substances in the home.

* Replace any lead paint. Older homes may still have lead-based paints used in some of the rooms. The dust/particles from that paint as it chips away can become airborne which we can then inhale. While there is debate about the direct connection between lead exposure and cancer, the Environmental Protection Agency has listed lead as a “probable human carcinogen.” All older homes should be checked for and removed of lead paint.

* Have your home checked for radon. As an odorless, colorless gas, radon is radioactive and can exist in the air, ground, and water in a home. Recognized as a known human carcinogen, radon should be avoided at all costs. Radon testing is recommended in the home; if levels are high, there are qualified contractors that can help lower levels and reduce exposure.

* Remove any remaining asbestos in the home. Asbestos is a known carcinogen and a material found in home insulation. Asbestos fibers can be inhaled and long term exposure has been connected with lung cancer.

* Limit, if not end, use of artificial sweeteners – the use of which has been linked to a variety of health conditions including cancer.

* Limit exposure to cleaning products – many of which include harmful chemicals. Use natural products whenever possible.

There’s only so much that we can do with regard to limiting our exposure to carcinogens; after all, we can’t live in a bubble. But when we know better, we hopefully do better. So it’s best to gather all the information we can and make the best decisions we can for ourselves and our families.

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