thyroid problems

  1. Cosmetic chemical linked to diabetes risk

    Your perfume is giving you diabetes

    Most people don't need any help getting diabetes -- it's a condition you can get easily enough on your own.

    But you could be getting a big boost anyway, and not from your diet alone.

    Phthalates are chemicals found all over the home. But since they're especially common in cosmetics and perfumes, women get some of the highest levels of exposure -- and they face some of the highest risks as a result.

    Now, a new study of 2,350 women finds that those with the highest levels of two common phthalates -- mono-benzyl phthalate and mono-isobutyl phthalate -- have almost double the risk of diabetes when compared to women with the lowest levels.

    But you don't need high levels of exposure to face high risks.

    Women who simply have above-average levels of another phthalate, called mono-(3-carboxypropyl) phthalate, have a 60 percent higher risk of diabetes than those with lower levels.

    And women with moderately high levels of mono-n-butyl phthalate and di-2-ethylhexyl phthalate have a 70 percent increase in risk, according to the data in Environmental Health Perspectives.

    Don't waste your time trying to remember all those chemical names. Just remember that phthalates as a class are known endocrine disrupters linked to a long and growing list of serious health problems. So far, studies have linked them to cancer, weight gain, thyroid problems, and more.

    And since they mimic estrogen inside the body, they can feminize men, cause breast growth in boys, and early puberty in girls.

    They've also been linked to asthma, and another new study makes the connection again in children, finding that kids with the highest levels of these chemicals have higher levels of inflammation in the airways.

    Clearly, it's important to keep these chemicals away from everyone in your family -- especially the youngest members of your household.

    But it's getting harder than ever to accomplish that.

    Like I said earlier, they're all over your home -- in your cosmetics, shampoo, and even your flooring. Until recently, they were in children's toys. And one recent study even found high levels of them in new backpacks and lunchboxes featuring popular children's characters.

    Cutting your exposure is going to take some doing -- but I'd say it's worth the effort.

    One easy place for women to start: Replace chemical perfumes with essential oils.

  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.

  3. Hidden risks of heart scans

    Diagnostic heart scans such as CT angiograms can lead to cancer, kidney damage, false positives and overtreatment -- and they don't even improve outcomes in healthy patients.

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