1. Baby shampoo loaded with dangerous chemicals

    Too little, too late on formaldehyde in baby shampoo

    It's one of those crazy headlines you don't even know how to react to: Johnson & Johnson has agreed to remove formaldehyde-releasing chemicals and other potentially dangerous ingredients from its famous baby soaps and shampoos by the end of next year.

    I mean, what the heck are those chemicals doing in baby products in the first place? And now that they've agreed to remove them -- eventually -- are we supposed to pat them on the back for it?

    Heck, no! If you're caring for a child or grandchild, you want safe products in your home NOW -- not next year sometime.

    The company, of course, says tiny amounts of poison are safe, they're committed to safety, yada yada yada.

    In my opinion, there are NO safe levels of exposure to dangerous chemicals like the known carcinogen formaldehyde and 1,4 dioxane -- another ingredient found in the company's baby products that has been linked to cancer -- and it's mystifying why J&J feels the need to use them in the first place since other companies get by without them.

    Then again, maybe it's not so mystifying when you look at the company's track record for children's products. Children's Tylenol anyone?

    The drug was part of a massive recall of some 43 popular children's meds made by McNeil Pharmaceuticals, a division of -- you guessed it! -- Johnson & Johnson. The drugs were found to be contaminated with metal bits and...according to some of the unfortunate people who bought the packages...a strange moldy smell. One of the plants where they were made was so filthy that it had to be temporarily shut down.

    So you'll have to forgive me for not buying it when J&J talks about its commitment to children's safety.

  2. Toxins found in bottled water

    I've been pretty outspoken about the nation's water obsession. This strange and incredibly enduring fad is one of the true triumphs of marketing - after all, the bottled water biz is a multimillion-dollar operation. And all because there's this perception (actually, it's a misperception) that drinking lots of water is really good for you.

    I wonder how those marketing geniuses will spin this next bit of information. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) just found that the contents of bottled water brands were "no different than that of tap water." In fact, the same sorts of nastiness that seep into the public water supply - namely trace elements of fertilizer, prescription medication, and a bevy of chemicals - can end up in your bottled water as well.

    So much for the images of fresh, clean mountain streams the bottled water industry loves to promote. While these are not outright claims of purity, they do imply that the product is drawn from or, at the very least, filtered to a purity standard that exceeds tap water. This is hardly the case.

    The actual purity of bottled water is one of the industry's more closely guarded secrets. In fact, the EWG's report points out that the bottled water industry refused to release any of their internal data that would support the claims (or implied claims) that their product is superior. Sounds fishy to me.

    The EWG's study found as many as 38 pollutants in 10 of the most popular brands of bottled water. In all, the EWG discovered carcinogens in bottled water from five states (California, Delaware, Maryland, North Carolina, Virginia) and Washington, D.C. The worst offenders were the waters put out by big chain retailers Walmart and Giant. The carcinogens discovered were at levels that significantly exceeded the bottled water industry's own self-imposed standards. I'm sure you can imagine that regulating bottled water isn't exactly high on that government agency's list of things to do. And let's be honest - even if it were, I doubt it would make a lick of difference.

    There's two things at work against bottled water. First of all, many bottled waters aren't drawn from "artesian wells," a fancy term for "from the ground." In fact, the source of many bottled waters is the public water supply. But here's where it gets dicey: bottled water isn't subject to federal regulations the way the public water supply is. (Not that the regulations on the public water supply should make you feel any better, given the toxins that are put there on purpose.) The best way to guarantee you're getting safe, toxin-free water is to purchase a reverse osmosis filter and install it at your house.

  3. Are we bathing our babies in carcinogens?

    According to a study by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics (CSC), there are toxic chemicals in some of the most recognized and used brand-name baby products - including lotions and shampoos.
  4. Toxins found in bottled water

    The Environmental Working Group (EWG) just found that the contents of bottled water brands were "no different than that of tap water."
  5. Don't quit your day job: Nightshift linked to cancer

    A new study has re-affirmed the old medical suspicion that night work can shorten your life.
  6. Cancer fighting benefits of garlic consumption

    Study results show both garlic and tea have cancer-fighting benefits.
  7. PETA grilled on its "chicken little" cancer clucking

    The credible-sounding group claims that samples of grilled chicken from each of these restaurants tested positive for a chemical called PhIPm, one of a group of cancer-causing compounds called HCAs.

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