1. Household chemicals can damage joints

    Household chemicals cause osteoarthritis

    They're the secret ingredients, the household chemicals that add a touch of modern convenience to everyday life, making products no-stick, stain-resistant, wrinkle-free, waterproof, and more.

    They cost a little more at the register, but the real price of all that convenience isn't money.

    It's years of pain and suffering -- because the polyfluorinated compounds that make it all happen could eat your joints from the inside, with new research, of household chemicals, showing how some of these PFCs can increase the risk of osteoarthritis in women.

    Women with the highest levels of exposure to two PFCs, known as PFOA and PFOS, have nearly double the risk of osteoarthritis of women with the lowest levels of exposure.

    The risk is highest in women between the ages of 20 and 49, and a little lower in women over the age of 50. That's almost certainly because many older women didn't grow up with household chemicals and PFCs absolutely everywhere.

    If you're under 50, however, odds are these household chemicals have been with you every moment of your life -- from birth, until right now.

    You'll find PFCs in your kitchen, bedroom, and bathroom. They're the household chemicals in your furniture, on your walls and floors, and in your clothes. They're even in your food, and all that exposure can add up to a lot more than a higher risk of osteoarthritis.

    In women, they can increase the risk of early menopause by 40 percent -- and early menopause itself is a risk factor for heart disease, stroke, osteoporosis, and more.

    In men, PFOA has been linked to testicular cancer. And in one new study, prenatal exposure to PFOA increased the risk of low sperm counts during adulthood.

    And in men and women alike, PFCs can cause immune system damage, hypothyroidism, birth defects, sexual dysfunction, and more. One study I told you about recently found that PFOA can increase the risk of kidney cancer by 170 percent.

    It's almost impossible to eliminate all sources of PFCs at this point. But you can dramatically reduce your exposure to some of the worst such as PFOA and PFOS by simply sticking to some of the old-fashioned options you grew up with.

    Since one of the most common sources of PFC exposure is from no-stick cookware, you can start by purchasing a good cast-iron skillet. And work with a doctor who can put you through a detoxification program to reduce the levels of PFCs and other toxins in your body no matter where they came from.

  2. 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.

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