cleaning products

Chemical Cleaners Can Double Cancer Risk, Yale Study Finds

In All Health Watch, Cancer, Featured Article, General Health, Health Warning

 The incidence of thyroid cancer is skyrocketing in the U.S. It’s growing faster than any other cancer.

Thyroid cancer rates have more than doubled in the U.S. since the mid-90s. Between 1995 and 2014, the number of cases went from six per 100,000 people to 14.2, according to the National Institutes of Health. More than 55,000 Americans a year are diagnosed with it.1 2

Now, a new study by Yale University researchers may reveal a primary cause of thyroid cancer. They found that exposure to common chemical cleaning products can double your odds of getting the disease.

Scientists examined data from 462 adults diagnosed with thyroid cancer and compared their chemical exposure to people without the disease.

They asked the participants to report their use of cleaning products. Subjects were asked detailed questions about their jobs to determine if they were exposed to cleaning chemicals while working.

Using occupational chemical databases, the researchers calculated the participants’ potential exposure.

They found that exposure to chemicals called biocides was linked to a 65% higher risk of thyroid cancer. Risk more than doubled (218%) for people whose jobs required them work with these chemicals.3

Biocides are chemicals commonly used in sanitizers, disinfectants, sterilizers, deodorizers, and other cleaning products. Women are three times more likely than men to get thyroid cancer. And, often, they are the ones who use these cleaning products the most.4 5

The researchers at Yale theorize biocides alter thyroid hormones, which can cause cells to become malignant. The biocide chemical triclosan has previously been shown to decrease two thyroid hormones involved in growth and metabolism.6

Dr. Yawei Zhang is an environmental health researcher at Yale University. He was lead study author. His advice is that “people should take caution” when using “biocides in the work place or at home by wearing protective clothes or mask and washing hands afterwards.”

The study recently was published online in the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

Switch to Natural Cleaning Products

You could follow Dr. Zhang’s advice and try to protect yourself when using chemical cleaning products. But why risk it?

It makes more sense to switch to natural products that carry no cancer danger.

Look for products with the Green Seal or EcoLogo labels. These designations mean the products use nontoxic ingredients that will not threaten your health and are environmentally friendly.

GreenSeal Certified
Two Cleaners You Can Make Yourself

You can also make your own natural cleaning products. Here are two recipes that are easy and effective:

Glass Cleaner

  • 2 cups water
  • ½ cup white or cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup rubbing alcohol

Combine ingredients and store in a spray bottle. Spray on a paper towel or soft cloth, then wipe glass.

Bathroom Mildew Cleaner

  • ½ cup hydrogen peroxide (3%)
  • 1 cup water

Pour into spray bottle. Spray onto bathroom mold and wait one hour. Rinse.

One more thing… The nonprofit Environmental Working Group rates the safety of thousands of cleaning products. For a complete list of the safest (and most dangerous) cleaning products, go here.

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