chemicals

  1. Common chemical PFOA linked to cancer

    'Everywhere' chemical in cancer link

    Love popcorn? Whatever you do, don't make yours in the microwave -- because nuked popcorn contains a chemical you won't find listed in the ingredients.

    And it can wreck your health.

    It's not the popcorn itself or even the fake buttery spread -- although, let's face it, those are bad enough.

    It's C-8P, or perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), a chemical used to manufacture the heat-resistant fluoropolymers used in microwave popcorn packaging, fast food burger wrappers, nonstick cookware, and more.

    It's practically everywhere, really -- and now, a team of independent scientists says this stuff could give you cancer.

    And how we found out about this disease link is an absolute tragedy.

    Years ago, the groundwater in a region of West Virginia was contaminated with PFOA from a chemical plant that makes the stuff. But the people didn't know it. Not at first anyway -- so for years, they were getting low-but-constant levels of it from their drinking water.

    Now, they're paying the price: Scientists brought in to monitor the community say they've established a "probable link" between PFOA exposure and both kidney and testicular cancer.

    In fact, high levels of PFOA increased the risk of kidney cancer by 170 percent, according to the panel.

    Last year, the same panel found a link between the chemical and preeclampsia (high blood pressure during pregnancy) -- and there could be more revelations to come as the panel gets ready to release a series of reports on possible links between PFOA and heart disease, thyroid problems, neurological issues in children, and more.

    I'll keep you posted.

    In the meantime, work on avoiding these chemicals as much as you can, and not just PFOA. This stuff is part of an entire class of dangerous chemicals called PFCs, and they're used to make things waterproof, wrinkle-free, stain-resistant, heat-resistant, and non-stick.

    And along with cancer, they've been linked to hypothyroidism, immune system problems, reproductive disorders, and more.

    What makes this so much worse is that these chemicals stay in the body for a very long time. The half-life of PFOA -- the amount of time it takes for half of the original amount to leave the body -- is 4.4 years.

    Another PFC, PFOS, has a half-life of nine years.

    Clearly, a little bit goes a very long way.

    Since they're in everything, they're not easy to avoid -- so let me get you started: You can pop ordinary popcorn kernels in your microwave using nothing more than a plain brown paper lunch bag.

    You don't even need oil.

    It's cheap, easy, and every bit as fast. Not to mention chemical-free... and no fake buttery spread.

  2. Foods that will ruin your mood

    When I get a patient facing depression, one of the first things I do -- before I run a single test -- is ask what they've been eating.

    And most of the time, the answer to that question tells me everything I need to know -- because people who eat garbage usually end up with a mood down in the dumps.

    This food-mood connection has been proven time and again. And now, a new study out of Europe on nearly 9,000 people finds that a steady junk-food habit can boost your risk of depression by up to 51 percent.

    The two specific categories with the strongest links to depression were fast food like burgers and pizza and processed pastries such as donuts and croissants.

    It didn't take much, either, because the researchers say patients with even a moderate junk habit had a higher risk of depression than those who ate better foods.

    The only flaw here is that the consumption levels were tracked using a food frequency questionnaire -- a fairly weak form of research that relies on people to recall not only what they ate, but how much and how often they ate it.

    And, as you might imagine, people have a tendency to lie on those things to make it seem like they have better habits than they really do.

    Still, there's something to this -- because it's been proven by stronger studies, and it's not hard to see why. Junk food is completely lacking in the nutrients your body needs to function... especially your brain.

    What's more, empty carbs can cause your sugar levels to fluctuate wildly -- elevating your mood briefly, and then bringing it crashing back down.

    And let's not forget that many people have hidden or undiagnosed food sensitivities that cause or worsen depression and other mood disorders -- and the ingredients and chemicals used in junk food are often the culprit.

    Junk in the diet also creates body fat -- and excess body fat can cause your hormones to go haywire. And yes, hormonal imbalances are also a major cause of depression.

    I've found that any number of supposedly mental disorders can be cured, or at least dramatically improved, through better diet -- including depression, anxiety, and ADHD.

    From food to drink -- I've got something brewing next that you definitely want to see. Keep reading!

  3. Plastics chemicals linked to developmental problems

    It's easy to protect your children from what you can see -- but it's a much bigger challenge to keep them safe from what you can't.
  4. Apples top pesticide list

    I know it feels like summer has only just begun, but fall is right around the corner -- and that means apple season is almost here. Don't be fooled by the apples you'll find in the supermarket year 'round -- most of them are actually months old... and you won't believe the tricks they use to keep them fresh.

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