When it comes to preventing cancer, losing weight, exercising, and not smoking are only part of the equation. Here’s how to improve your chances of avoiding cancer with four small lifestyle changes:
Avoid fabric protectors, nonstick cookware, and plastic microwave containers. They all contain a chemical linked to birth defects, brain disorders, immune system problems and cancer. So, if your nonstick pans are scratched – throw them out. Microwave food in glass containers. Waterproof your shoes outside and let them dry before you bring them inside. And avoid the stain and water-resistant treatment on couches, chairs and carpets – because anyone who sits on them is pressing their body into chemically saturated cloth.
Switch dry cleaners. Traditional dry cleaners use a solvent called perch that the EPA classified as a “probable” carcinogen. So, find a shop that offers a healthier method called wet cleaning, which uses biodegradable soaps and computer-controlled washers to remove dirt and stains without adding harmful chemicals.
Check the labels on your antibacterial gels and soaps. You’re looking for a chemical called triclosan. It has such a strong link to cancer that it’s been banned in Canada and Japan. But there are plenty of antibacterial products without triclosan. And studies show that plain soap is better at removing germs than antibacterial products.
Steer clear of pesticides. Plenty of pesticides have been linked to cancer. And a lot of them have been outlawed in the U.S., but they’re still on products imported from other countries. The basic rule of thumb: If the food can’t be peeled by hand – like an orange or banana – experts suggest going organic. If you’d like to go further, check out the pesticide product guide at EWG.org.