Increased Cancer Risk for Children from Chemicals

CURE Childhood Cancer, a non-profit organization dedicated to conquering childhood cancer, advises parents that children are at a substantially greater risk of cancer than adults from a variety of pollutants.

In a press release dated October 3rd, CURE based their remarks on a recent EPA environmental guidelines update.  According to the EPA, babies and toddlers have a 10 times greater cancer risk than adults when exposed to certain gene-damaging chemicals.  EPA has updated the way it decides which pollutants pose cancer risks, which is intended to lead to better and more accurate reviews of carcinogens that might be regulated.

Jane H. Bick, PhD and CURE board member said that parents should be aware of certain household cleaning products and air fresheners, as well as arsenic-laden wooden decks and wood play sets that aren’t sealed regularly.

Dr. Bick advised parents to:

·    Seal the wood at least once a year on outside decks, play sets and other outdoor wooden structures.  Fence off the area under the deck to keep children and pets away from arsenic infested soil.  Nearly all outdoor wooden structures are infused with a pesticide called CCA that is 22% arsenic.  Children may have even higher cancer risks if they are exposed to the wood more than three hours per week or if they eat without washing their hands after playing on the wood.
·    Use fragrance-free fabric softeners and dryer static sheets when doing laundry.  Common ingredients found in fabric softeners and dryer sheets  benzyl acetate, limonene and chloroform are linked to cancer.

“While many childhood cancers can’t be prevented, research suggests that some risks can be minimized by avoiding carcinogenic chemicals,” Dr. Bick said.

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