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American Cancer Society: Amoral Profiteers

The American Cancer Society must be one of the most arrogant profiteers in the Big Business of cancer. The audacity to criticize a much needed focus on environmental carcinogens, as the 2010 President's Cancer Panel Report has done, is surely driven by a greed-based desire to accept the status quo.

The world's wealthiest "non-profit" cancer charitiy apparently does not care that children are being diagnosed with cancer at unprecedented rates and for unknown reasons. Any charity that pays their top employees salaries totaling millions of dollars every year and yet gives less than 1 penny of every donated dollar to childhood cancer, clearly has amoral and ulterior motives for attempting to degrade a report that seeks to increase knowledge of carcinogens that are causing people irreparable harm.

On the very day the President's Cancer Panel (the Panel) released its 2010 report to the public, the American Cancer Society's (ACS) director of medical and scientific communications, David Sampson, who was apparently unable to draw his own conclusions, drew attention to a statement made by a reporter at ABC who couldn't locate "solid science" to support her false assertion that the Panel had claimed "the study of environmental factors" had "been giving short shrift" compared to other causes of cancer. Since the Panel made no such statement, it appears Sampson is simply creating a diversion, or as he puts it, a "rub."

Determined to further insult the public's intelligence, Sampson implies the report is so complex that reviewing it requires an Official Name, followed by an Alphabet Soup with Credentials; he chose Michael J. Thun, MD, "vice president emeritus, Epidemiology & Surveillance Research" (a policy wonk for ACS) I never went much further than 9th grade in school, but I'm having no difficulty understanding the fairly simple language used to examine issues that, at least the Panel understands, are of critical importance to the American people. I urge readers to download the report (pdf) and read it for yourself. It contains fascinating, factual information that you truly have a right to know. Like the FACT that the percentage of people being diagnosed with cancer increases every year. And the FACT that currently, corporations do not have to prove the safety of their products before unleashing them on the public.

Thun's disingenuous "review" states: "the report is unbalanced by its implication that pollution is the major cause of cancer." But, the report makes no such statement! What it actually says is that the Panel dedicated the current year's annual report "to examining the impact of environmental factors on cancer risk" because there is rapidly growing evidence that suggests there is "much work ahead to identify the many existing but unrecognized environmental carcinogens." The Panel clearly stated that the report is "not intended to be a complete evaluation of all sources and types of contaminants." It is crystal clear that the Panel believes the public deserves answers and guidance stating: "Efforts to inform the public of such harmful exposures and how to prevent them must be increased."

Thun goes on to call the Panel's report "provocative" when he falsely claims it "restates hypotheses as if they were established facts." As an example he quotes, not the report but, a letter to President Obama, that said, in part, “the true burden of environmentally (i.e. pollution) induced cancer has been grossly underestimated.” (Thun added the "i.e. pollution") Thun claimed their assertion doesn't represent scientific consensus. To support their position the Panel pointed to the fact that there are nearly 80,000 chemicals used daily by millions of Americans and that for the most part, they had not been thoroughly studied and are mostly unregulated.

Thun actually proves the Panel is correct when he directs readers to an ACS report titled: "American Cancer Society Perspectives on Environmental Factors and Cancer" (Thun is listed as one of the report's authors) The ACS report states: "The International Agency for Research on Cancer has classified 935 chemicals, industrial processes, and other exposures as of 2009". Only 935 out of 80,000 have been classified!!! Thun obviously believes that's good enough for the American people, but the Panel thinks we deserve better than that.

But, what's even more shocking is that of those 935 items, only 1 was found to be "probably not carcinogenic"; 515 were "not classifiable" and the remaining 419 chemicals are assumed to "present a carcinogenic hazard to humans"!!! Why the heck Thun would use that report to support his position is mind-boggling! Maybe he assumed that when people realized it appears to be the typical mumbo-jumbo of most scientific articles that they wouldn't bother reading it. Think again, Thun; this is one mother who is getting to be quite an expert at deciphering the medical community's secret code. (BTW, in case you haven't heard, doctors no longer enjoy their elitist status of self-appointed Gatekeepers of Sacred Knowledge; the Internet has dethroned you!!)

An examination of the ACS report reveals countless discrepancies and contradictions with Thun's repugnant bashing of the Panel's report.  On its face, it seems the ACS actually supports many of the Panel's positions.  A few blatant examples (all are "direct quotes"):

*ACS regarding current tests for carcinogens (2 year studies on rats): "They often do not address some questions relevant to predicting potential cancer risks in humans. For example, due to technical limitations and funding, the animal studies may have been conducted using only one route of exposure, which may or may not be the most common route of exposure or concern in humans. It may be difficult or impossible to generate exposures for animal studies that match those in environmental settings. This is a growing concern for evaluating the carcinogenicity of substances that are now being produced"

*ACS position on prevention: "Decisions regarding prevention must inevitably be made in the context of some degree of scientific uncertainty. The need to make decisions in the face of accruing but still incomplete evidence has long been recognized. In 1965, Sir Austin Bradford Hill, the British medical statistician wrote: "All scientific work is incomplete—whether it be observational or experimental. All scientific work is liable to be upset or modified by advancing knowledge. That does not confer upon us a freedom to ignore the knowledge we already have or to postpone the action that it appears to demand at a given time."

*ACS on communicating with the public: "It is important to provide the public with information so that they can make informed choices....It is important that communications acknowledge and not trivialize public concerns"

*ACS on where their information comes from: "Because of the scope and complexity of identifying and classifying chemicals, the ACS relies on established national and international organizations that regularly conduct and publish such evaluations"

*ACS on future testing: "The ACS supports the implementation of new strategies for toxicity testing, including the assessment of carcinogenicity, that will more effectively and efficiently screen the large number of chemicals to which people are exposed"

*ACS position on advocacy: "The ACS advocates for legislation and policies to achieve its mission of eliminating cancer as a major health problem"

*ACS on environmental "issues that merit further in-depth consideration": "Accelerate the testing of new and existing chemicals for potential carcinogenicity; monitor the bioaccumulation of chemicals in humans and in the food chain; (monitor) the effects on humans of chemicals that mimic naturally occurring hormones"

Clearly, Thun's "review" of the President's Cancer Panel's report is NOT in line with the stated goals and positions of the ACS report that he helped write less than a year ago.

I am certainly not alone in my disgust for the ACS. Following their article were comments posted by readers (all negative), including: "Shame on the American Cancer Society", and "you do us a grave disservice", "ridiculous, misleading", one angry parent didn't appreciate the ACS "belittling the experience of thousands of children" and suggested they "shut your face and let this research go forward."

My suggestion for Mr. Director of Medical and Scientific Communications: learn to read and disseminate information on your own so you can (maybe) write your own article. And for Mr. Official Name with Credentials: public relations is a tough gig; you might try going back to the wonk-room with an Appletini and reflect on the implications of slapping your name on "Official Reports" that either you don't agree with or simply haven't read.

If people wish to truly help families affected by cancer, here's a list of more than 25 meaningful things you can do to reduce suffering.  And by all means, contact President Obama and tell him to heed the advice of the Panel:
 "The Panel urges you most strongly to use the power of your office to remove the carcinogens and other toxins from our food, water, and air that needlessly increase health care costs, cripple our Nation’s productivity, and devastate American lives."

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Get the FACTS & get INVOLVED!

All rights reserved Copyright © 2014 - BohoMamó -

Recommendations in the "President's Cancer Panel Report"

 Its been nearly a week since the "President's Cancer Panel" (PCP) submitted their 2010 report (pdf) on the state of our National Cancer Program.  The more time I spend dissecting the 200+ pages, the more I shake my head & realize we have been lab-rats in a horrific experiment.  As much as anything, the report is an environmental report card and a lashing of federal agencies for failing to protect the American people.

From the letter to President Obama that precedes the report:
"the public is becoming increasingly aware of the unacceptable burden of cancer resulting from environmental and occupational exposures that could have been prevented through appropriate national action"
"Could have been prevented"; as the parent of a child whose life has been devastated by ovarian cancer, those 4 words infuriate me!  That has been my suspicion ever since her diagnosis and it has been repeatedly confirmed by one report after another.  What angers me more than anything is that the warnings from the scientific community are not a new phenomenon, which is made clear in Rachel Carson's book Silent Spring, written nearly 50 years ago:
"The road to cancer may also be an indirect one...Important examples are the cancers, especially of the reproductive system, that appear to be linked with disturbances of the balance of sex hormones."
 In 1962 it wasn't yet a media buzz word, but she was talking about endocrine disruptors; BPA, phthalates and countless others that federal agencies refuse to acknowledge are causing irreparable harm to people, especially children.  The PCP report went on to say very clearly,
"Efforts to inform the public of such harmful exposures and how to prevent them must be increased."
There are steps we can take to protect ourselves from many toxins.  At the top of the Panel's list (and mine) is making better food choices; "You are what you eat", has never rung truer.  Choose organic and free-range foods, eliminate processed foods (especially things like hot-dogs and lunch meat which have been linked to several cancers, including ovarian cancer)  It is also crucial to choose organic dairy products because the vast majority of conventional milk contains growth hormones.  How perverse is it that we "good parents" encourage our children to "drink your milk", when the government has allowed it to become a toxic soup for the benefit of industrial agriculture?  Seriously, do you want your children drinking hormones that increase milk production??!  Always choose organic dairy!

The majority of the PCP recommendations, not surprisingly, have been the mantra of us dirt-worshipping-tree-huggers for decades.  They suggest simple things like driving an eco-friendly car (or transporting yourself by bike, feet or public transportation), turning off electrical appliances to reduce the pollution created by power generation, properly disposing of waste (including unused medications) which contaminate our water supply, and eliminating chemical fertilizers and pesticides in and around our homes.

There are some excellent resources on the web to easily guide people to healthier choices.  For many years I have relied on the Environmental Working Group (EWG) to help understand the information-overload that causes many people to throw up their hands in confusion.  You can easily discover if your skin-care products and cosmetics are toxic, which foods have the worst pesticides, the quality of your drinking waterhealthy home tips, and much more.

One of the primary reasons for starting this blog is to inspire activism, so I was pleasantly surprised to read the following statement in the PCP report:
"Each person can become an active voice in his or her own community. To a greater extent than many realize, individuals have the power to affect public policy by letting policymakers know that they strongly support environmental cancer research and measures that will reduce or remove from the environment toxics that are known or suspected carcinogens or endocrine-disrupting chemicals. Individuals can also influence industry by selecting non-toxic products and where these do not exist, communicating with manufacturers and trade organizations about their desire for safer products."
WE have the power to prevent cancer, to SAVE LIVES and make a real difference for future generations.  NOW is the time.

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Get the FACTS & get INVOLVED!

All rights reserved Copyright © 2014 - BohoMamó -

Surviving Cancer

The medical community, oncologists in particular, have a pseudo-comforting fairy tale they like to tell:
"More people are surviving cancer than ever before." 
Sounds nice, but there are two serious flaws with that propaganda. First, "surviving" and being healthy are not the same thing. And second, keeping the focus on survival rates ignores the FACT that more people than ever before are being diagnosed with cancer (aprox 4,600 people are newly diagnosed with cancer every day in the United States)  The result of their slight-of-hand trickery is that there is very little attention given to the 1 thing proven to truly improve people's lives: PREVENTION!

The continuous increase in childhood cancers is particularly disturbing, especially considering that the average age at diagnosis is 6 years old. It is very likely that these children will never grow up healthy; they may get older, but they may not grow or develop properly. Chemotherapy and radiation are so damaging to their immature bodies, especially the endocrine system, that very often their cells, organs and glands never recover.

For many decades, doctors have observed the immediate side-effects of  "treatment", vomiting, hair loss and such. But it was only recently that they began investigating the long-term effects of poisoning the patient in an attempt to kill the cancer, something they now call "late-effects." Shockingly, they discovered that nearly 75% of childhood cancer survivors develop chronic, severe, life-long health problems! 

 Late-effects can interfere with nearly every bodily function and even cause death.  Common problems include:

  infertility, loss of brain function (called chemo-brain), bladder and kidney damage, lung disease, obesity, secondary cancers, heart disease, hearing loss, liver damage that causes hepatitis, musculoskeletal damage causing children to grow far too fast or not at all, and digestion problems that cause permanent diarrhea, lactose intolerance and failure to thrive.

Those are common, and usually permanent issues for children who survive "treatment" for cancer and it is much the same for adult survivors.  And who changed the meaning of 'cure' to '5 years survival'??!

5 years of survival is NOT a CURE 
to kids who want to grow up!

Remission, being "cancer-free", surviving cancer and treatment often comes with a very high price:  severe, life-long catastrophic illness and even death.

There is only one cure for this devastating epidemic that kills more than 1,600 people every day in the US:  PREVENTION!

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Simple Cancer Stats

3 - 2 - 1 - We are so bombarded by numbers every day that they often become just a blur in our sub-conscience.  These are 3 simple numbers that I hope you take a minute to remember.

In The United States of America:

3- THREE  adults are newly diagnosed with cancer
   every minute of every hour.

2Cancer is the number TWO  cause of death

1- More than ONE  adult DIES from cancer
   every minute of every hour

Think about it for 1 minute...3, 2, 1...remember.

EVERY MINUTE of every hour 
1 adult dies & 3 more are newly diagnosed
with CANCER - the #2 KILLER of adults
(& the #1 CHILD KILLER!)
day after day, week after week, month after month...

3...2...1...BREAK THE SILENCE!

PREVENTION is the only thing proven to
increase health while reducing the risk of
becoming part of the cancer epidemic!

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Silent Spring For Mother's Day

I am a motherless child.  And so today, Mother's Day 2010, I honor our collective Mother, Gaia, with a quote from Rachel Carson, who is considered by many to be the Mother of the environmental movement:
"The most alarming of all man's assaults upon the environment is the contamination of air, earth, rivers, and sea with dangerous and even lethal materials. This pollution is for the most part irrecoverable; the chain of evil it initiates not only in the world that must support life but in living tissues is for the most part irreversible. In this now universal contamination of the environment, chemicals are the sinister and little-recognized partners of radiation in changing the very nature of the world—the very nature of its life."
~ Silent Spring ~
Photo credit: World's #1 son:)
My children honored me today with what I longed for most: time by the riverside, sitting on my favorite rock, listening to the rapids crash over the boulders; it is the music my soul craves.  The sun's warmth and light filled me, and tears began to fill my eyes.  But I fought them back, for they were not tears of joy. They were fueled by anger and sadness and I would not allow them to spoil the moment.

I was so grateful to be there with my 2 youngest children, yet the anger and resentment seem to consume me at times.  I look at the crystal clear water of this river I have loved for decades; and what I see now is that it too, is a victim of the lies and betrayal.  I know that hidden in this beautiful sanctuary is poison; like the poison that runs through my daughter's veins; the very poisons Rachel Carson warned us of.

A year ago, Mother's Day 2009, was lonely and terrifying.  My then 10 year old daughter and I were completely alone in a city-sized building filled with people.  Busy people, educated people who asked me to trust them with my baby's life.  And so, feeling utterly helpless and overwhelmed, I allowed them to do their 'job'.  I watched with horror and desperate hope as they injected her with toxins and called it 'treatment'.  It was her first round of chemo for stage 3 ovarian cancer; a germ cell tumor, to be exact.

A couple of weeks earlier a gentle and soft-spoken surgeon had removed what he described as a "huge" tumor, and with it, my little girl's entire reproductive system.  It was in hindsight that I understood why we couldn't see her ovaries, tubes and uterus on any of the scans:  the tumor had consumed them entirely; raped her of the motherhood she was almost too young to begin dreaming of.  But I had pictured it no other way; she has always been a nurturer, filled with compassion for the small and weak.  I had always pictured her becoming a mother, but on Mother's Day 2009, I grieved for her loss, and mine.  I was terrified and sad; I had yet to taste the anger.

I have always had a nearly primal need to know "Why?", and almost immediately I was seeking Answers.  I was told she had the same type of cancer as champion cyclist, Lance Armstrong, which made no sense at the time because I knew he had testicular cancer.  I dug deep for over a year; practically learning a new language while reading medical journals and research studies.  Not even I will ever find the direct cause of my little girl's cancer, but I found the responsible party.  And that's when anger lit the fire that burns in every fiber of my being.

Germ Cell Tumors
Childhood cancers, like many others, have steadily increased, some types dramatically, over the past 40 years.  Numerous research studies indicate an environmental connection to the increase in cancers (and many other illnesses), the only thing all agree on is that the issue 'needs to be studied further'.  In the meantime, childhood cancer kills & sickens our kids more often than any other illness or disease.

As they develop in the womb, both males and females have germ cells; in men they become sperm, in women they become eggs.
Germination cells are the very seeds of life itself.  
Germ cell tumor rates have increased dramatically since 1960's.  In my research I discovered a 1999 study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (in association with the US Centers for Disease Control), reporting a 60% increase in testicular germ cell tumors between 1964-1996.  Even more disturbing, they discovered the risk is actually increasing every year.  The authors state:
"It is a reasonable hypothesis that toxins acting during the early fetal development of the gonads (ovaries and testicles) are involved in the reduction in testicular size and spermatogenesis rate (low sperm count) and the increase in the incidence of germ cell cancer."
they continue:
"The concept is that estrogen-mimicking chemicals act as hormonal disrupters transplacentally to interfere with gonadal development in utero
In plain English: chemicals damage babies before they are even born.

Research from 2008 indicates that between 1975-2004 the testicular cancer incidence rate increased 71.9% (and 95% of testicular cancers are germ cell tumors). Researchers said this:
"A possible plausible explanation comes from gestational hormonal differences, with increased risk of testicular cancer associated with elevated levels of estrogen in-utero." 
Recently, most people have become aware of BPA in plastic acting as a hormone disruptor (there are MANY more), but to read a report dated more than 10 years ago really irked me.  How can the FDA still refuse to ban this and the countless other endocrine disrupting chemicals used every day in products such as cosmetics, laundry soap and plastics?  Our government has known for at least 10 years what is happening and they continue to protect polluters.  It makes me so very angry to look at my young daughter and realize, "this didn't have to happen to her."

When my children and I left the river this Mother's Day, we stopped at the bookstore where I was treated to a 'new' book; Silent Spring, by Rachel Carson, first published in 1962, but I had only recently become aware of it.  I glanced at the list of chapters, number 14, titled "One in Every Four", jumped out at me.  And there were the words that made my blood boil:
"The road to cancer may also be an indirect one.  A substance that is not a carcinogen in the ordinary sense may disturb the normal functioning of some part of the body in such a way that malignancy results.  Important examples are the cancers, especially of the reproductive system, that appear to be linked with disturbances of the balance of sex hormones"
I was stunned to read such damning words. For more than 50 years governmental policymakers have known of the damage these chemicals cause and they did NOTHING to stop it!!!  In fact, I soon learned they have forced all Americans to be lab-rats and contribute to our own poisoning.

In 1976, less than 5 years after declaring a 'War on Cancer' and creating the National Cancer Act of 1971,  Congress created the Toxic Substances Control Act which grandfathered into law more than 50,000 chemicals; the very chemicals that had been linked to cancer for decades!!  The very chemicals Rachel Carson and many others warned us of. But our government ignored the proof and ruled in favor of corporate greed over human health.

Toxic chemicals have been linked to brain cancer, breast cancer, kidney & liver cancer, lung cancer, neuroblastoma, ovarian cancer, prostate cancer, testicular cancer & much more.

The self-serving bastards in both industry & government, are killing and maiming human beings, our children, family & friends, and it makes me so angry I am shaking!  It didn't have to be this way!  My child, and millions of others, were (and are) allowed to suffer and DIE for the greed of polluters and politicians!  It will not stop until we change it.

The toxic madness MUST STOP!!

** Rachel Carson was a scientist, author and marine biologist for the U.S. Government.  Shortly before "Silent Spring" was completed, she was diagnosed with cancer.  Less than 2 years after its publication, she was permanently silenced, leaving a tragically ironic legacy.

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Get the FACTS & get INVOLVED!

All rights reserved Copyright © 2010-2016 - BohoMamó -

Understanding the Endocrine System

(click here for the short version)

There is much talk about 'endocrine disruptors' in the news these days, yet more than a few people have told me they aren't sure what the term means.  That indicates they might not understand what the endocrine system is or its basic function in our bodies.  To be honest, a year ago, I was one of those people.  Because ovarian cancer wrecked havoc on my young daughter's body, I needed to educate myself, so I'll share what I've learned.

There are 7 major glands that make up the human endocrine system, they are the pancreas, the adrenal glands, the pineal gland, the parathyroid glands, the pituitary gland, the thyroid and the reproductive glands (ovaries and testicles).  The thymus, stomach, small intestines, heart, and placenta are also considered part of the human endocrine system.

Each of these glands releases hormones into the bloodstream.  The hormones carry messages throughout the body, triggering other glands to respond or send out their own message.  Together, they regulate many of the body's major functions such as bone and muscle growth, blood pressure, digestion, metabolism, heart rate, brain development, sexual maturation and much, much more.

If any of these glands stops functioning correctly it can affect the others in extremely detrimental ways.  Therefore, when endocrine-disrupting chemicals in the environment interfere with (or disrupt) the delicate balance of hormones or functions of the endocrine system, the effects can be devastating to your health and are often irreversible.  Cancer 'treatment' can also seriously damage the endocrine system.

BPA has received a lot of attention in the news the past few years, however there are many more known and suspected endocrine disruptors that are in regular use in the United States (many countries have banned them).  These toxins are in everything from pesticides to cosmetics, and most shockingly, the U.S. government has known about them for decades and done NOTHING to protect people who now suffer the devastating effects.

Endocrine disruptors are linked to countless types of cancer, including breast, prostate, and testicular; they are also suspected of causing of obesity, diabetes and numerous other serious health problems.

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Get the FACTS & get INVOLVED!

Organic Food IS Healthier but it Might Not Matter

Many people are confused by the sometimes conflicting reports about the benefits of eating organic food.  The industry-driven propaganda that suggests organics are nutritionally equal to conventionally grown food divert the focus from the real problem, namely the toxic soup of fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides and fungicides that contaminate food and cause a myriad of human and animal health problems, including cancer.  There is no way industrial food manufactures can report on the health benefits of their despicable practices, so they keep trying to confuse the issue.

Yet, if you are one of the millions of people who buy organic in an effort to protect your family from the known toxins in , you may be surprised that I'd suggest it might not matter.  But, there is more to healthy eating than just the manner in which the food is grown.  For one thing there is the packaging that the food comes in, and for another, there is the little talked about issue of the containers you cook your food in.

It is well established that BPA (an endocrine disruptor used in can linings) leaches into canned foods, and although many baby food manufacturers have pledged to rid their containers of this toxin, it is still used in nearly all other canned goods and many other types food of packaging.  While media focus on BPA  is needed to educate the public and induce policy change, we shouldn't ignore the fact that Styrofoam and plastic can be just as toxic due to PVCs and other little known toxins.

Another under-reported issue with healthy eating is the container you cook your food in.  The two most widely used in the U.S. are plastic (in microwaves) and non-stick cookware; both are toxic nightmares and completely undermine our efforts to eat healthy, nutritious food.  Nearly every food designed for microwave cooking is packaged in plastic, even organics and those marketed to children.  In addition, nearly all the containers marketed as "microwave cookware" are plastic; most even contain the moronic statement:  "microwave safe" (means the dish won't disintegrate).

Non-stick cookware has become a staple in most homes as manufacturers' slick ad campaigns convinced us we didn't need to work so hard to clean our pans.  But they fail to mention we pay a high price for that little convenience:  breathing toxic fumes and ingesting particles that mix into food, even with normal usage.  The fumes can be deadly to pet birds and common sense dictates they are just as dangerous to other pets and human beings, especially children.

There are ways to protect yourself and your family though.  Start by buying fresh food instead of canned or frozen.  Skip the plastic bags found throughout the produce department, opt instead for paper or even better, cloth bags.  Also, don't waste money on the reusable grocery bags sold nearly everywhere for about a dollar; they're usually made in China of some pretty nasty synthetics; they're also not very sturdy.  If you don't have the money to invest in quality cloth bags, simply use clean cardboard boxes.  They're free, reusable, recyclable and very sturdy.

 When it comes to cookware, there are several options; stainless steel, or porcelain coated steel are safe & durable. And I love good old-fashioned cast iron.  One of the biggest misconceptions about cast iron cookware is that food sticks to it making it difficult to clean.  This is so NOT true!  If food sticks while cooking it's because it hasn't been properly cared for, which can be remedied with a simple process known as "seasoning".  You can also use enamel-coated cast iron which is easier to care for, although, over time, it can become scratched and stained.

In the microwave, ALWAYS use glass cookware.  If you purchase microwaveable meals packaged in plastic, its fairly easy to remove the food from the container and transfer it to a glass plate or bowl and follow the cooking instructions.  Even paper containers (often used for soups or mac & cheese) can have toxic linings; transfer food to glass dishes before cooking or adding boiling water.

Safe cooking utensils are those made of metal, wood & bamboo.
eggs cooked in cast iron

Organic food IS healthier than the toxic products sold by industrial agriculture, but just as important are packaging and cooking utensils.  Providing healthy food to our families is an act of love; don't allow slick marketing and cheep products to undermine your efforts to nurture with nutritious meals.

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Get the FACTS & get INVOLVED!

Proper Care of Cast Iron Cookware

  Cast iron cookware is one of the safest and healthiest containers for cooking nearly any food, even messy dishes such as scrambled eggs.  Cooking acidic foods like tomatoes or beans for long periods can cause the seasoning (the non-stick surface) to break down.  Knowing how to use & care for cast iron is the key to loving it.

 If food sticks to your cast iron pans or the pan shows signs of rust, it may be time to re-season it.  New cast iron also needs to be "seasoned" before use.  Seasoning is a simple process that provides a safe, non-stick surface, (and has nothing to do with spices).

First, thoroughly scrub the pan (and lid) using very fine sandpaper or steel wool, if needed.  Put some muscle into it and scrub until the surface feels completely smooth and there are no signs of rust.

Next, wash it with warm soapy water, rinse thoroughly with cool water and dry completely (I usually put it on a warm burner for a few minutes after wiping away excess water).

When the cookware is completely dry, apply a coat of high quality (preferably organic) shortening or oil, wiping away any excess. (its OK if the pan is still warm when  you coat it)  Place the cookware on a rack in a 225 degree oven for about an hour (set lids on the rack, don't cover pans).  Turn the oven off and let the pan cool completely.  When finished you should see a nice shiny surface that will prevent any food from sticking.

There is no reason to use high heat with cast iron and doing so can actually cause food to stick and will break down the seasoning; always start by using the lowest heat setting.  Cast iron also retains heat for a long time.

After cooking, remove any left-overs immediately & do NOT leave the pan 'to soak' in the sink. Do not use soap to clean cast iron and NEVER put it in a dishwasher.  Instead, simply rinse thoroughly with warm (not hot) water and wipe with a dish cloth.  If some bits of food are sticking, use salt to "scrub" them away.  Rinse with cool water and dry the utensil completely (again, I do this on a stove-top burner for a few minutes).  Any moisture remaining on the pan surface can cause rust; drying thoroughly is critical.

While the pan is still a little warm, coat the interior with a thin layer of oil, wipe away the excess.  Once cooled, store pans in a cool place (NOT in the drawer under the oven).  Store with lids off so air can circulate and upside down to prevent dust from settling in pans.  Even with proper cleaning, you'll likely need to occasionally re-season cast iron cookware; maybe once or twice a year, depending on how often you use it & how well you care for it.
2nd hand pan (before)

"seasoning"gives it new life (after)
I've used this method for a couple decades and love my cast iron, but of course there are other methods.  Its pretty easy to find cheap cast iron cookware at garage sales and re-sale shops, and no matter how gnarly it looks, you can give it new life and luster at a fraction of the cost of new.  With proper care and seasoning, cast iron cookware will last a lifetime or longer.

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A Call to Action For President Obama

I am truly impressed by the astounding 240 page report (pdf) submitted by the President's Cancer Panel in May 2010. This could be a major step towards real reform if Congress and the president himself actually takes action. But, make no mistake, that's a big "IF". As the report makes very clear, its not as if the government didn't already know about dangerous environmental carcinogens; they have simply chosen to protect corporations instead of the American people. The panel said this:
"Environmental exposures that increase the national cancer burden do not represent a new front in the ongoing war on cancer. However, the grievous harm from this group of carcinogens has not been addressed adequately by the National Cancer Program."
The report begins with a strongly worded letter to President Obama outlining their findings. The final sentence of that letter is the unheard plea of millions of Americans since Rachel Carson rang the warning bell nearly 50 years ago in her classic book "Silent Spring". The panel's request of President Obama:
"The Panel urges you most strongly to use the power of your office to remove the carcinogens and other toxins from our food, water, and air that needlessly increase health care costs, cripple our Nation’s productivity, and devastate American lives."
The panel makes specific recommendations to the public stating:
"...individuals can take important steps in their own lives to reduce their exposure to environmental elements that increase risk for cancer and other diseases. And collectively, individual small actions can drastically reduce the number and levels of environmental contaminants."

Meaningful Ways to Help People Affected by Cancer

 * Host a fundraising event or collect donations for a family affected by cancer, allowing them to decide how to spend the money

* Cook a nutritious meal or provide a gift certificate to their favorite grocery store

* Offer to provide transportation or run errands

* Reach out to older siblings; their needs are often overlooked

* Purchase a gift certificate for movie rentals

* Accompany them to doctor appointments

* Wash their laundry

* Create a place on the Internet to keep family and friends up to date

* Take their kids someplace special or babysit for a few hours

* Donate your long hair to Locks of Love

* Purchase a gift certificate to their hospital's gift shop or cafeteria

* Buy them a camera/video recorder

* Care for their pet or purchase pet food

* Accompany them on a walk or bike ride

* Attend school and/or sports functions when a parent can't be there

* Offer to make phone calls, write letters or do research

* Stop using products that pollute our bodies and our planet (and cause cancer); start by cleaning your home

* Pay their utility bill

* Donate your time, money or expertise to The Make A Wish Foundation

* Buy them a gift card from their cell phone provider or a  pre-paid cell phone (with lots of minutes) if they don't already have one

* Mow their lawn or do other yard work

* Make holiday preparations for busy parents; wrap presents or decorate a Christmas tree, make Halloween costumes, Easter baskets, birthday parties, holiday baking

* Give them a gift card for gas or an oil change

* Purchase an air and/or water purifier

* Watch for signs of depression and provide support

* Bring them healthy food when they are hospitalized (when a child is hospitalized, so too, is the parent)

* Organize their mail or the reams of paperwork they are inundated with; purchase a durable folder or case for storage/travel

* Purchase a laptop computer so they can do research and communicate with loved ones when they are hospitalized

* Provide pictures of friends, family or special places to have at the hospital

* Listen when they need to talk; talk when they need a distraction

* Plant flowers or a tree outside their window

* Work a shift at their job, even if you aren't a fellow employee this is often possible, explain your desire to help out to their employer or supervisor

* Provide games, puzzles or crafts that can be done in bed

* Provide a portable music player and/or favorite songs or meditation CDs

* Buy a book or 2; about their specific cancer or something off-topic that interests them for a distraction

* Send a hand-written letter or card to say "I'm thinking about you and would love to help you through this difficult time."

* Give the gift of life - donate blood or bone marrow

* Provide child care to give the family a break

Please don't visit the hospital or send fresh flowers without asking first; many cancer patients are in isolation because chemo drugs destroy the immune system.  Even the slightest infection can be deadly. (fresh flowers can carry mold spores and other nasties that could do more harm than good)  Some people prefer to limit visitors once they return home, others appreciate some company.

Random acts of kindness are important and as easy as sharing a SMILE.  There are millions of ways to make a difference that don't cost a dime!

Sharing LOVE and HOPE is not about money!

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