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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Seafood Watch on Your Cell Phone

Fish and seafood are good for us, but several species contain toxic contaminants and certain harvesting methods threaten wild populations.

So take some help from the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch Program and make choices that are good for you and good for the environment.

Seafood Watch ranks seafood species according to sustainability based on where and how they were caught. It also alerts readers to dwindling populations and health advisories regarding toxic contaminants issued by the Environmental Defense Fund.

Browse their newly updated online database for the latest information on which species to eat and which ones to avoid. You can also print a pocket guide specific to your location or get the Seafood Watch app for your iPhone or Android so you can search while you shop and read restaurant menus.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Least Toxic Personal Products













My patients are always asking for recommendations regarding personal care products, and I'm always on the lookout for companies committed to eliminating toxic chemicals from what they make.

(According to research by the Environmental Working Group,
22% of all personal care products contain a carcinogen called 1,4-Dioxane and more than half of all sunscreens contain a potential hormone disruptor called oxybenzone.)

Here are my top picks for safe and effective products including
bar soap, sunscreen, moisturizer, lipstick and nail polish (just in time for sandal season). I use these products myself and I have no financial ties to the companies.

Soap

During my research on the Skin Deep Cosmetics Safety Database,
I found that Kiss My Face makes a Pure Olive Oil Soap with only 3 ingredients: saponified olive oil, water and salt. Compared to other soaps, it has a stickier texture but cleans well and lasts longer. I've also found it to be less drying. I would recommend this for anyone, but it's especially good for those with sensitive skin or dermatitis.











Sunscreen

The Environmental Working Group's Sunscreen Guide gives several good options, but the top products aren't always easy to find in stores. I like these two because they are well-absorbed, non-greasy, non-toxic, and available from Amazon.




Badger All Natural Sunscreen, SPF 30, Unscented









 


California Baby Sunscreen Lotion No Fragrance, SPF 30+ 






Moisturizer

In the spring, summer and fall I always wear a daytime moisturizer with an SPF of at least 30 (in the winter I use SPF 15). Suntegrity Skincare SPF 30 can be applied anywhere, but I use it on my face. It is nontoxic and works well, but be sure to rub it in completely. Although it goes on white, it's invisible once absorbed as long as you don't use too much.











Lipstick

Because we inevitably swallow some of any product we apply to our lips, it's especially important for these products to be non-toxic. GloMinerals gets good marks on Skin Deep and is available from Amazon. The lipstick is long lasting but I wouldn't use it on dry lips.











Nail Polish

I'm happy with both of these non-toxic polishes: Acquarella and Keeki Pure and Simple. I never bother with a base coat or top coat, and 2 coats look good for at least a week.




Acquarella Nail Polish






Keeki Pure and Simple Nail Polish




Keeki Pure and Simple Nail Polish Remover

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Reduce Your Exposure to BPA and Phthalates

Replacing packaged foods with fresh foods can significantly reduce levels of bisphenol A (BPA) and phthalates in our bodies, according to a recent study published in Environmental Health Perspectives, the peer-reviewed journal from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.

BPA has been associated with increased risk for cardiovascular disease, reproductive dysfunction and miscarriage, metabolic dysfunction and diabetes, neurological and behavioral disorders, and breast and prostate cancer.

Phthalates act as endocrine disruptors, affecting several hormonal systems in the body, and can increase the proliferation of cancer cells. Research has demonstrated that phthalates also induce changes in the gene expression of normal, healthy cells, affecting immune responses, cell cycle regulation and antioxidant status. Because phthalates can cross the placenta, exposure is especially dangerous for pregnant women and their unborn babies.

These environmental toxins are commonly found in the linings of metal food cans and in plastic food and beverage containers.

The recent study was a joint effort of the Breast Cancer Fund and Silent Spring Institute. Researchers delivered fresh foods to 20 participants in 5 families for 3 days, during which they agreed to avoid packaged foods and drinks, and meals outside the home. Researchers also collected evening urine samples before, during, and after the switch, and measured metabolites from BPA and a phthalate called bis(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate or DEHP.

After only 3 days of replacing packaged foods with fresh foods, levels of BPA and DEHP dropped significantly. DEHP metabolites were reduced by 53% to 56% on average and those from BPA were reduced by an average of 66%.

It's always a good thing to eat fresh food and reduce our exposure to environmental toxins like BPA and phthalates, but food manufacturers must do their part too. Companies in Japan have already eliminated BPA from food cans. Now consumers must urge companies in the US to follow suit.

The Breast Cancer Fund makes it easy to send messages to General Mills, Del Monte, and Campbell Soup Company. Follow this link to fill in your contact information and choose the suggested text or write your own.

It's important to note that although avoiding packaged foods and drinks will reduce our exposure to BPA and phthalates, we can be exposed in other ways. These environmental toxins have been detected in drinking water and air pollution. They are also found in clothing, personal care products, pesticides, electronics, table cloths, shower curtains and other plastic items.

Reference:

Rudel RA et al. Food Packaging and Bisphenol A and Bis(2-Ethylhexyl) Phthalate Exposure: Findings from a Dietary Intervention. Environmental Health Perspectives. 2011 Mar 30. [Epub ahead of print]

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Why We Get Fat


Decades of bad science and misleading nutrition information has left most people confused about how to lose weight successfully and why we get fat in the first place.

In his new book, Why We Get Fat and What To Do About It, award-winning science writer Gary Taubes reviews the evidence, answers important questions about the obesity epidemic, and explains why everyone can benefit from a low-carbohydrate diet.


Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Spring Detox





















Spring is naturally a good time for detox. While nature renews itself, so should we.

Why is detoxification important?

Every day we are exposed to toxins in air, water, food and our environment, from carpet and upholstery to shower curtains and household products.

According to research by the Environmental Working Group,
22 percent of all personal care products contain a carcinogen called 1,4-Dioxane and more than half of all sunscreens contain a potential hormone disruptor called oxybenzone.

Research studies done by government, academic and independent researchers have found that before babies are even born, their bodies are contaminated with up to 358 different chemicals.

For most people, small doses cause cumulative damage rather than immediate symptoms. Continued exposure and/or decreased liver function can compromise natural detoxification systems, causing the body to store toxins rather than eliminate them.

Accumulation of toxins in the body can lead to general malaise
or chronic health problems including
  • Fatigue
  • Hormone imbalance
  • Decreased mental acuity
  • Skin problems
  • Digestive conditions
  • Food and chemical sensitivities
  • Joint and muscle pain
Clearing toxins from the body can relieve symptoms and renew wellness and vitality.

What is detox exactly?

A successful detoxification program
  • Reduces exposure to environmental toxins
  • Mobilizes toxins that have been stored in the body 
  • Increases elimination of mobilized toxins
Dr. Cimperman's detox program accomplishes these goals through a hypoallergenic and anti-inflammatory diet, hydrotherapy, exercise, and elective therapies that support the elimination process, like breathing exercises, dry skin brushing, sauna, yoga and massage.

Think of it as a tune-up for your body.