Flame-retardant chemicals promote cancer formation, study suggests

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flame-retardant-chemicals(NaturalHealth365)  An increasing number of flame retardant chemicals in various household products have been linked with cancer.  Multiple studies have found that exposure to these environmental substances may contribute to cancer development, primarily through mechanisms related to oxidative stress.  One such cancer is papillary thyroid cancer (PTC), the most common thyroid cancer type.

Thyroid cancer rates are currently increasing the most rapidly of all kinds of cancer.  Environmental factors such as the increased addition of flame retardant chemicals in common products are believed to be contributing to this problem.  While these additions are supposed to decrease the risk of deadly fires engulfing the home, the trade-off seems to be an increased risk of cancer for those living there.

Study links exposure to flame-retardant chemicals to cancer promotion

The study published in Environmental Science and Pollution Research International found that pollution caused by persistent organic pollutants (POPs), like polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), is a growing concern for scientists.  PBDEs are used in various materials as flame retardants but have harmful qualities, including toxicity, stability, and the ability to build up in living organisms.  This poses a significant risk to human health and wildlife.

Researchers conducted a systematic review of forty studies to understand how exposure to PBDEs in the environment might affect cancer.  They found that exposure to PBDEs is linked to processes that could promote cancer.  However, the exact ways this happens are not entirely clear.

Some studies suggest that PBDEs can cause cancer and transform healthy cells into cancerous ones through different mechanisms.  One of the main ways this seems to occur is by inducing oxidative stress (OS), when cells are under too much stress due to an imbalance in certain chemicals.  This OS can lead to various cancer-promoting processes, including DNA damage, inflammation, and the growth of new blood vessels (angiogenesis).

Insights from a study on household dust

An earlier study delved into the connection between flame retardant levels in household dust and thyroid cancer rates among participants.

The study involved collecting dust samples from the homes of 140 participants, evenly divided between those with cancer and those without.  To ensure a fair comparison, the groups were matched for key factors such as race/ethnicity, age, gender, household income, body mass index, and education level.  All participants had lived in their homes for approximately 11 years, allowing for the assessment of longer-term exposure.

The results revealed a direct correlation between higher exposure to specific flame retardants and the occurrence and severity of papillary thyroid cancer.  This finding sheds light on the rising rates of thyroid cancer observed in recent years.

Previous and ongoing research has indicated that certain classes of flame retardants can disrupt the endocrine system, interfering with thyroid function and balance.  This is partly attributed to their chemical structure, which resembles that of thyroid hormones.

Flame retardant in household items shown to increase thyroid cancer risk up to 14-fold

Participants’ blood samples were collected in order to look at key biomarkers related to flame retardants in the PBDE class.  Those with somewhat high levels of tris(2-chloroethyl) phosphate (TCEP) in their household dust were found to be over four times more likely to have large, aggressive thyroid tumors.

However, those with the highest levels of decabromodiphenyl ether (BDE-209) dust were as much as 14 times more likely to have thyroid cancer.  This was true even in those participants who did not have the gene mutation BRAF V600E, which is linked with papillary thyroid cancer that spreads aggressively.

Reducing exposure to harmful flame retardants

Here are some practical strategies to minimize exposure:

1.  Choose flame-retardant-free products:

When shopping for furniture, mattresses, and other household items, opt for flame-retardant-free products or naturally fire-resistant materials.  Many manufacturers now offer these alternatives, which are safer for both your health and the environment.

2.  Check for certifications:

Look for certifications like OEKO-TEX Standard 100 or Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) when purchasing textiles, such as curtains, bedding, and clothing.  These certifications indicate that the products are free from harmful chemicals, including certain flame retardants.

3.  Properly maintain and ventilate your home:

Regularly clean and vacuum your home to reduce dust accumulation, which can contain flame retardants.  Use a vacuum cleaner equipped with a HEPA filter to trap small particles effectively.  Additionally, ensure proper ventilation to help dissipate indoor air pollutants.

Editor’s note: Discover the best ways to naturally eliminate the threat of thyroid and adrenal health problems … watch the Thyroid and Adrenal Health Docu-Class, presented by NaturalHealth365 Programs today.

Sources for this article include:

NIH.gov
Endocrine.org


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