Monday, July 25, 2011

Pammy's Ride to Support the Efforts of the Breast Cancer Fund

This is an appeal. Hopefully you found my last blog entry on reducing your cancer risk helpful and informative. The Breast Cancer Fund does an amazing job of researching, exposing, and working to eliminate the environmental causes of breast cancer.

Their work is especially important to friends of mine who are cancer survivors, like my Team LUNA Chix teammate Pam, who was diagnosed 12 years ago with stage 3 breast cancer. She underwent a year of chemotherapy and radiation and lost all her hair, but never her spirit or determination. 
You probably know someone a lot like Pam that you admire, respect, take courage from, and love. You might have lost someone to cancer and spent some time angry that more could not have been done sooner.
We, Team LUNA Chix and the Breast Cancer Fund, are here to tell you that people are working to do more, sooner. 
Focusing on prevention, we are working to educate the public, effect legislative change (for things like getting BPA out of children's sippy cups), and spread the word that you are not without resources and the ability to reduce your and your family's risk. 
The ability of the Breast Cancer Fund to continue ongoing research and bring data like The State of the Evidence, scientifically linking breast cancer to chemical and radiation exposure, is dependent on contributions from people who support their efforts. 
Pam felt the moral imperative to act, and asked the team to ride Pammy's Ride with her, a 26.2-mile bike ride to raise funds and awareness for the Breast Cancer Fund. The marathon distance represents the enormous challenge facing cancer patients that requires exceptional endurance and spirit. It also represents the anticipated news of victory at the end of the struggle, just like Pheidippides news to the Athenians after his 26-mile run from Marathon in 490 BC, that the Greeks had been triumphant!
Team LUNA Chix will be riding Pammy's Ride on Sunday, August 7, 2011.  Together we can conquer this epidemic! 
Please take a quick moment to contribute to the Breast Cancer Fund and help further their efforts. Your donation is tax-deductible, and no amount is too small. 
Thank you for reading all this, and for any donation you can make. Full ride report coming Aug 14!

Here are some helpful links about the Breast Cancer Fund: 

Breast Cancer Fund 
Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Cosmetic Database. - Catalog of over 65,000 products rated according to the chemicals they contain.
By becoming aware of the chemicals you come into contact with and making healthy choices, you can improve your health and reduce your cancer risk. 

Currently, one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer. Yet only one in ten of them will have a hereditary history of cancer. The Breast Cancer Fund (BCF) is dedicated to identifying and eliminating the environmental causes of breast cancer. By educating people about the risk factors and harmful substances that may be found in cosmetics, lotions, sunscreens, food, and the chemicals we use in our everyday lives, we can stop this disease before it happens.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Reduce Your Breast Cancer Risk

Hey Gang,
OK, brace yourself. This is a mom-rant.

(Big breath)
Ya know, if some sunscreen or lotion company (that should probably remain nameless) tells me in large letters on the package that the lotion is “For Babies” or “Tiny Sensitive Faces,” is there any reason why I should not expect this product to be free of potentially harmful chemicals, nano-particles, parabens, and stuff I can’t pronounce? Do I really need a degree in chemistry to ensure my daughter is not going to go into puberty a year earlier than she normally would have, had she not been slathered with gallons of these things from the time she was a few months old??
Evidently, I do need a degree in chemistry, because there is no governing body that regulates what chemicals go into baby shampoo or baby sunscreen—the company just has to tell you it’s in there. Thanks for that ingredient list there Slick, because I was really looking for the… 3-(4-methylbenzylidene)-camphor (4-MBC) to keep from getting a sunburn. Only, I had no idea it might cause learning disabilities, severe attention deficit disorder, cognitive and brain development problems, deformations of the body (including limbs); sexual development problems, feminizing of males or masculine effects on females.

(Big sigh)
You’ve got to be kidding me.

OK, rant off, motherly advice on.

It’s summer. You need sunscreen and bug spray and deodorant. There are un-regulated chemicals in all of these things. To check what’s in there, what it’s potentially doing to you, and see how your product stacks up, go to the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Cosmetic Database. They have cataloged over 65,000 products and rated them according to the chemicals they contain.

Things I stopped using:
—any sunscreen that doesn’t say on the label “No PABA”
—any lotion that contains parabens
—insect repellent containing DEET
—shampoo that isn’t sulfate-free (side effect of that is I have less grey in my hair now than 5 years ago when I was coloring it to hide the grey. I stopped coloring it, because… now there’s not enough grey.)
—deodorant with aluminum

So what DO I use?
There are a lot of good brands out there. Some of my personal favorites are:
California Baby - excellent lotions, bubblebaths and sunscreens. Available at Target!
Burt’s Bees - sometimes a little thick, but good lotions.
Say Yes to Blueberries - lots of skin care products, and also available at Target!
Enjoy Haircare products - there’s probably something that has a better EWG rating, but I’m happy so far
Tom’s of Maine deodorant

Most advocates for more healthful products are very reluctant to endorse other companies, which I have found very frustrating in my search for something that I SHOULD use that is effective. Well, these are my personal products, and not necessarily an endorsement of one product over another. When in doubt, do a check with the EWG database, and stay away from fragrance, and most things you can’t pronounce.

Since I got involved with Team LUNA Chix, I’ve really been educated by the work we do with the Breast Cancer Fund concerning the environmental causes of breast cancer (and other disorders) and what I personally can do to take back control of my and my family’s health. When I first started reading about it, and getting familiar with the mission of the Breast Cancer Fund, I was completely overwhelmed with the amount of information I had to digest and the seeming mountain of things I had to change. But I’ve found that, just like physical training, re-training my mind to consider all the ways my body processes chemicals is not an overnight task. You do what you can when you can.

Finally, I am not an alarmist. I really don’t think they’re out to get me. But I have seen the state of the evidence. And that evidence points to breast cancer and other cancers on the rise dramatically in the past 40 years. It points to girls going into puberty on average a year earlier than they did 40 years ago. It points to a lot of chemicals we didn’t have when I was growing up, but that are everywhere now. There’s a reason we are ailing, and I believe there’s something we can do about it. It may be a drop in the bucket here and there, but at one drop per second, I can fill your gallon bucket in less than a day.