Study Shows Americans’ Bodies Are Filled With Carcinogens

It’s no secret that many of the everyday conveniences we take for granted contain chemicals linked to cancer: Household products ranging from plastic containers to shampoo and soap have been implicated. And that’s not even including contaminants in drinking water or pesticide exposure from simply walking through your local park.

Yet somehow, despite the mounting research showing that Americans are being exposed to suspected or known carcinogens from numerous sources throughout the day, no one has ever done a study to determine just how many of these chemicals can be detected in the average human body. Until now.

A new study from the Environmental Working Group has exhaustively reviewed the existing scientific literature and found that Americans may have up to 420 different carcinogenic chemicals present in their bodies in amounts that exceed EPA safety standards. This held true across a diverse array of populations. Research has even measured carcinogens in human umbilical cord blood, showing that infants are exposed to them before they’ve ever left the womb.

What’s truly frightening about this research is that it’s not looking at people who might be exposed to these chemicals through occupational exposure — instead, it examined the presence of these chemicals in average people, whose only exposure to these chemicals was through normal, everyday life. In some cases, these chemicals were present in household products, but in others, the exposure likely came from the water, soil or air itself, making it essentially unavoidable.

Before you panic, it’s important to realize that this doesn’t mean that cancer is inevitable for everyone exposed to these carcinogens. While it raises the risk of cancer development, for many of these substances, that risk is often still marginal — perhaps as low as 1 in 10,000, in the case of acrylamide or low doses of arsenic.

However, scientists still don’t entirely understand what happens when the body is overloaded with multiple carcinogens that may multiply one another’s effects, and this could be especially pronounced in someone who has been exposed to hundreds of dangerous chemicals.

So what can you do to protect yourself? While you can make an effort to shop for safe cosmetics, avoid plastics where possible (even those without BPA), eat organic and cut red meat and fried foods from your diet, the truth is that isn’t enough. Not when our food, water and air is often filled with other carcinogens.

What the researchers from EWG recommend is a change to federal laws, with much stricter regulations on suspected and known carcinogens. The authors of the study point out that the EPA and FDA simply don’t have the ability to ban or limit carcinogens in many everyday products, and in many cases don’t have the resources to research the safety of potential carcinogens to begin with.

If there’s one thing this study underscores, it’s this: Billions of dollars go to cancer research each and every year. However, unless we do more to study the root environmental causes and limit our exposure to these toxic chemicals, we are never going to make real progress on reducing the number of people who develop cancer in the first place.

70 comments

Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus3 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Muff-Anne York-Haley

This is so not good!

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Elaine W.
Past Member 3 years ago

I am in favor of regulations to at least inform of dangers to health. I vote Blue.

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Melania Padilla
Melania P3 years ago

Not surprised

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YVONNE R.
YVONNE R.3 years ago

It will also help when the US finally stops Monsanto distributing his poison all over the world. Glyfosaat is a horrible product and Monsanto keeps pushing it on farmers to use it. Companies like that should be forced to stop there sick policy. Also monoculture on gigantic proportions is NOT the way to produce food.
By organic and only from a real organic farm near the place you are living. Stop eating that allready made stuff. It is so easy to make your own meal in a few minutes with good ingredients. Stop eating meat or if you really have to eat it, eat it only once or twice a week. Think about what you put in your body.
I even make my own shampoo from natural ingredients for 8 years and it is great and much cheaper and healthier.
And people in the US should learn how real food tastes without all that sugar added. I was in the US and I really thought the food was horribly sweet. I was glad to be back in Europe to eat real food, without tons of sugar in it. Even the pizza's where almost uneatable because it tasted so horrible sweet.
Always read the ingredients of a product if you want to buy something ready made. Maybe if you read what's in it, you do not even want to buy it anymore.

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Chloe M.
Chloe M3 years ago

Well, this is depressing.

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Gina H.
Gina H3 years ago

It would also help to have companies like OSRAM Sylvania, Maine Yankee, Superior Paper, the US Navy, et. al, clean up the toxic waste sites they've left every where that keep leaching poisons into the land, water and air. I pay for town water that's not even drinkable from the tap because the chlorine is so strong in it! This is water that is supposedly treated and filtered to be safe for use! Air pollution travels along the air currents all over as well from places where coal plants provide fuel for energy. We deal with this in Maine on a daily basis so don't fool yourselves into thinking because there's a physical distance from heavy industry that you're safe. Then there are the numerous products out there as this article points out. You are right Quanta Kiran that we need to get our act together.

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Ruth G.
Ruth G3 years ago

HAVING MORE STRINGENT ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTIONS & LAWS PROTECTING THE PUBLIC LIKE THE EUROPEAN UNION WOULD GO A LONG WAY TO HELP!

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Quanta Kiran
Quanta Kiran3 years ago

noted. we need to get our act together.

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Sara G.
Sara G3 years ago

With all of the pollutants we throw into the air and the ground why are we surprised about that?

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