Steer Clear of These Cancer-Causing Substances
You've probably heard that lifestyle choices, such as smoking and diet, can contribute to cancer. But there are other factors outside the body that also raise your risk and some of these aren't as well known.
These substances, known as carcinogens, can exist in items you use or encounter every day. But by increasing your awareness and learning how to avoid them, you can lower your risk.
Here are two of the top cancer-causing substances you may find in your home and tips on how to avoid them:
Everyone breathes in this gas on a daily basis, typically in small amounts. Outdoor levels of radon pose no known risks. But inside homes, offices, schools and other buildings, radon can accumulate at dangerous levels.
Inhaling high levels boosts the risk for lung cancer and is currently the second leading cause of lung cancer in the U.S, after smoking. It can seep into your home through cracks in the floors, walls or foundation and collect.
You can avert this potential danger by having your home professionally tested for radon. Or you can do it yourself with radon test kits, which are available in hardware stores.
The EPA offers many helpful resources on radon reduction, including A Citizen's Guide to Radon.
Research has found a link between lead exposure and stomach and lung cancers. Beginning in 1986, lead solder was banned from being used in water pipes.
If your plumbing was installed prior to 1986, run cold water for 1 to 2 minutes before using it for drinking or cooking. Or have your water professionally tested. You can contact your state lead program for information about water testing in your area.
Finally, only drink or cook with water that comes out of the tap cold. Water that comes out of the tap at high temperatures can have higher levels of lead, and boiling will not reduce this.
Sources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Environmental Protection Agency, Krames Staywell, National Cancer Institute