Tag Archives: cancer

Fall is RUINED – Goodbye Pumpkin Spice Latte


If you’ve seen this Food Babe post on Pumpkin Spice Lattes then you are likely as devastated as I am. My go-to fall drink (because how else do you tell the seasons in California if not by the Starbucks beverage options and cup colors!) is filled with all sorts of disgusting things I do not want in my body. Topping off that list is Carmel Coloring, made with ammonia and considered to be cancer-causing.

This Consumer Report’s article provides info on the risks of Carmel Coloring (4-MeI – also found in many sodas), but the basics are that a federal government study found it caused cancer in mice in 2007 and since 2011 it’s been listed as ‘possibly carcinogenic to humans’ by the International Agency for Research on Cancer. Since 2012, California (man I love my state!) has required manufacturers to label the product with a cancer warning if it exposes consumers to more than 29 micrograms of 4-MeI per day. I have definitely had more than one PSL in a day..crap.

So, goodbye Pumpkin Spice Lattes. Until Starbucks makes some serious ingredient changes, my fall will remain PSL- and cancer -free.

Below: Happier times, last fall sipping on my first PSL of the season when I was blissfully ignorant about the toxins entering my body:

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A GGG Halloween

Work gets crazy, blog dies down; story of my life. I missed a post on the government shut down and the risk to food safety since the FDA was only checking meat and fish (not fruit, veggies, dairy products or anything else – remember the spinach and peanut butter salmonella recalls?!). You can instead read a good NY Times article about it if you’re interested.

annies bunniesOn to Halloween. I don’t have kids but have been contemplating what to hand out to the few children in our apartment building who will come knocking on our door (oh man I really hope they come!). After much debate, I settled on Annie’s Organic Bunny Fruit Snacks. One selfish reason is because my husband loves them so we already have them in the house, and if the kids don’t show, he’ll eat them.

The main reason though is that that they are a healthier (and still delicious!) option to candy. At 70 calories per pouch, while they do contain cane sugar, they also are made with real fruit juice, have 100% vitamin C, are gluten free and vegan (so no worries on allergies), and are non-GMO. Most importantly, they have no synthetic colors.

I did a little research on a Halloween candy favorite, candy corn, and was disgusted to learn that there is more than a gram of sugar in EACH piece AND they are filled with Red No. 3. Red No. 3 is a synthetic dye, used to make them orange, which has been given a “high concern” rating by the Environmental Working Group because it’s a carcinogen.

In 1990 the FDA instituted a partial ban on Red No. 3, citing research that high doses have been found to cause cancer in rats, but left it there much to the dismay of consumer protection groups. So while you won’t find it in lipsticks, baking mixes, seasonings or jello, you may still be ingesting it in soft candies, juices, gum, and breakfast cereals. Other candies on the terrifying list: Now & Laters with Red 40 carcinogenic dye, Necco wafers (Red 3 and 40, sweet double dose), and Sour Skittles (Red 40 and Yellow 6).

Annie’s fruit snacks get their color from black carrots, which may lead to… improved eye sight? Check the labels and check yourself before you hand our fistfuls of cancer to the adorable kids dressed as princesses and pirates on your front steps this Halloween!

What’s the deal with those pesky parabens?

If you’re like me you only buy paraben-free lotions, shampoos, deodorants and makeup. If you’re also like me you only kind of know what parabens are and why they are bad for you. So, here’s all you need to know about parabens to sound more educated at your next dinner party: 

parabenParabens are a class of (mostly synthetically produced) chemicals, used as preservatives in the cosmetics and pharma industries. Companies use them because they are cheap, help products last on store shelves, and because they prevent the growth of microbes.

Here’s the controversy: #1 absorption, #2 cancer, #3 hormones.

Well ok #1 isn’t up for debate, parabens can be absorbed through the skin, blood, and digestive system; fact. “If these substances are in your blood, they’re also in your liver and in every other place in your body,” explains Torkjel Sandanger, head researcher of a Norwegian study on parabens.

#2 Parabens have been found in breast cancer tumors; fact. In 2004 researchers in the UK detected parabens in the breast cancer tumors of 19 out of 20 women studied, and discovered that the parabens came from something applied to the skin such as an underarm deodorant or cream. The controversy kicks in because it was a small study and did not prove a causal relationship between parabens and breast cancer. Denmark has banned parabens, the EU flip flops on it every few years (currently allowed in up to 0.4% concentrations), and the FDA says they are no biggie because the Cosmetic Ingredient Review (an INDUSTRY-SPONSORED organization) says they’re no biggie. I’m siding with Denmark on this one.

#3 Parabens have been shown to mimic estrogen (which plays a role in breast cancer and is why your 9 year old has boobs); fact. Parabens bind to estrogen receptors on cells and disrupt hormone function (this effect is linked to increased risk of breast cancer/reproductive toxicity). On this one the FDA says it’s ‘aware that estrogenic activity in the body is associated with certain forms of breast cancer. Although parabens can act similarly to estrogen, they have been shown to have much less estrogenic activity than the body’s naturally occurring estrogen.’ Well great, I’m glad that the chemicals we’re putting into our bodies are LESS estrogenic than what’s already going on.  Really though, I don’t want anything but my natural estrogen floating around in there.

As always make your own decision, but no seriously stop slathering chemicals on your body and for the love of God please get paraben-free, aluminum free deodorant!

Hide your kids, hide your wife.

While the above may be an exaggerated blog title, this is the headline I wake up to:

Major Retailers Sell Carcinogenic Shampoos, Lawsuit Claims

And I thought: no wonder everybody knows someone that has cancer, and about that gem of a news story from 2012. Maybe we should stop putting cancer in our F’ing SHAMPOO.

The culprit ingredient is cocamide diethanolamine (cocamide DEA), used to make foam and bubbles, which was added last year as a known carcinogen to Cali’s Proposition 65 list (chemical disclosure law) based on the assessment by The International Agency for Research on Cancer (part of the World Health Organization and super legit).

The Center for Environmental Health (kickass NGO focused on protecting people from toxic chemicals) bought products around the bay area and had them independently tested, as companies were supposed to remove it by June. Testing found 98 products contained the chemical and offenders included Colgate Palmolive, Paul Mitchell, Lush, and store-brand products purchased at Walmart, Trader Joe’s, Kmart and Babies R Us.

To see the full list of shampoos you, your kids, and your wife should definitely not be lathering on click here.

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