Tag Archives: cancer

Safe in the Summer

Here we are. Summer is around the corner. Winter sweaters have made their way into the back of the closet storage and the shorts, tank tops, and bathing suits are re-inhabiting the dresser drawers as you are starting to think about protection from our glorious sun.

Without a doubt the love for your children and your desire to keep them from harm’s way has you insisting on a few seasonal things; proper sunscreen coverage, proper hydration, a hat for their heads, and sunglasses to protect their eyes from harmful UV rays.

Perfect, all the essential bases are covered! Or are they? In theory this plan of action is ideal, keep the kids protected from the harsh components of the elements and you are good to go. Unfortunately it is not that simple.

Google it, and you’ll find hundreds of articles on the dangers of most conventional sunscreens. Add that to the fact that there are not yet government regulations on most body care products and you have a recipe for false claims and questionable and unsafe ingredients in a HUGE majority of the sunscreens on the market. Many traditional sun blocks actually contain known cancer causing ingredients. This is a big concern when your intention is to PROTECT your children.

What is a loving parent to do? You’ll be glad to know that safe sunscreens do exist! Even some made right here in Canada, some are government certified and some are even eco certified. This is incredible news for those wanting to do the best for the health of their family. There is a great website with a database with invaluable information on thousands of body care products; it is called Skindeep and I highly recommend looking into the safety information on your sunscreens and any of the body care products you might use before slathering them on.

Proper hydration – this one is pretty much a no brainer, we play, we sweat, we need to hydrate. But HOW we hydrate, for reasons of our well being, is just as important as actually hydrating itself.  For health reasons as well as HUGE environmental reasons, make a personal promise to yourself right now – never use a plastic water bottle again! It doesn’t matter whether you recycle or not, they are toxic, toxic to you, toxic to our planet. For starters they are made from petroleum, and the multitude of chemicals in their composition makes its way into the water you drink and once there they are they known to negatively affect and wreak havoc on our endocrine systems. INVEST in the best, invest in yourself,  get a top quality water bottle preferably in an 18/8 stainless steel, (it should cost in the neighborhood of between about $18 and $25 dollars) and it should last you FOREVER. I have been using mine for 6 years! I have saved Thousands of dollars as a result, not to mention I personally have kept more than 12000 plastic bottles out of landfills, (I used to go through about 6 bottles a day).

Protective eye wear that filters out Ultra Violet Rays, (including the more dangerous UVB rays) are essential.  Even in overcast skies they can protect you and your kids from cataracts, as well as short-term eye damage including snow-blindness in the winter months.

Topping it off, a proper sunhat serves two major purposes; 1 – it is meant to shade you or prevent you from being in direct sunlight, and 2 – and this is actually even more important, it is mean to allow you to expel heat, so the traditional baseball cap is not the greatest of ideas, they tend to hold the heat in, which can lead to overheating, so a straw hat (while not the most fashionable choice) is really a better idea.

You love your kids and every year you tackle the same summer safety concerns. This year take a few extra minutes to look at the bigger and more long term picture. The small changes you make today to support the health of your kids and our planet may cost you a few dollars more initially but the payoff or ROI (return on investment is HUGE) in peace of mind and a healthful future for your family.

Girl Guides and Breast Cancer (Cross Post)

Originally written for Girl Guides of Canada and published on January 25th, 2012

Girl Guides and Breast Cancer on National Wear It Pink Day

National Wear it pink day banner 2012National Wear it pink day banner 2012

For several years I walked in the Weekend to End Breast Cancer in Montreal. As a result, I was au courant with the research and of course the desperate need to find a cure. I saw stories of hope but also, on the flip side, I noticed that the incidence of breast cancer was on the rise.

I walked beside survivors, I held the hands of those undergoing treatment, and I also watched Evy, my dad’s partner, fight valiantly and lose her battle with the disease. The harsh reality is that 1 in 8 women will develop some form or breast cancer.

My daughter’s last Girl Guide Unit had 43 girls and four Guiders. According to statistics, six or more of them will get breast cancer. That is not okay with me – how about you? Are you a Guider, a Girl Guide or a parent? Are you okay with that number?

What can we do about it?

Well for starters today, as a sign of our awareness and our commitment we can Wear It Pink today, for starters, and only as a symbol, and then the actual work begins…..

Is there really a CURE for cancer? I personally don’t think so, and although much-needed research dollars make it to projects and programs developing better medications and supporting those undergoing treatment through pink ribbon campaigns, I don’t think the solution lies in buying more bread, batteries or gasoline with a pink ribbon on it. In fact, sad but true some products being sold with pretty pink ribbons on them are known to contain carcinogens.

NO. The real answer, the ONLY answer that empowers us is in prevention!

As Girl Guides “we take action for a better world!” PREVENTION, through education and action is our essential next step!

HELLO LADIES: Newsflash! Our breasts are next to our armpits, well for some of us maybe a little lower but that is not the point here.  This is not rocket science, nor am I a doctor, but why in the world should we, would we, put toxic, or known cancer causing chemicals next to our breasts?

You know in our arm pits?
Where we sweat (or rather, glow) to release toxins,
You know through our pores,
Those holes in our skin where stuff can go in and also come out,
Why would we put poison there?

But how do you know what’s safe?  That is a little tricky. Unfortunately, there are no standard regulations in place yet to protect us in this area. What we really need is legislation for safer cosmetics, better environmental regulations and we need to know the truth about what’s really inside our products.

There are amazing organizations advocating for our well-being. I am happy to share some of their great work with you here.

  • The Story of Cosmetics can save lives, watch this video as an investment in your health and share it with those you love. Guiders, depending on the age of your girls some info can be shared in your units, if not with your girls, their parents. This has a lot of great information.
  • Another phenomenal organization and one of the most successful in environmental advocacy in Canada is Environmental Defence. They work diligently to make a positive impact here in both environment issues and health issues in our country. Their new campaign, Just Beautiful, is all about how safe, or rather how unsafe, our cosmetics are. Their mission is “to challenge, and inspire change in government, business and people to ensure a greener, healthier and prosperous life for all.”  That sounds an awful lot like the Girl Guides’ mission.
  • A Quebec organization on a similar mission is Breast Cancer Action Montreal, and one of their projects to share important information is through Femme Toxic here is a link to the top 20 toxic ingredients we need to avoid. Breast Cancer Action Montreal can even do presentations and informative workshops on making healthier choices that can assist in cancer prevention.
  • Skin Deep through the Environmental Working Group does tons of research and provides you with data and safety information on hundreds of the most popular brands of skin care products. Look up your brand to get an idea of its safety.

National Wear It Pink Day is a day to raise your awareness, and START informing yourself on what is next. Cancer doesn’t look at the calendar to decide when is the best time to move in, EVERYDAY is a day for us to learn and act in our own best interests, commit yourself to learning something about cancer prevention today, and take action on prevention!

This post was written as the Guest blogger for Girl Guides of Canada

Other posts written for Girl Guides of Canada were: Green Camping and Green of Red, Orange, Yellow and Gold Leaves posts on GirlGuidesCANblog.