Sunday, August 28, 2011

'Cancer risk' of perfumed products that go in your tumble-dryer as chemicals are found in air from vents

This ignores the basic truth that the toxicity is in the dose. You could analyse the air from almost any household and find "toxins" in it

Scented laundry products could be releasing cancer-causing chemicals when clothes are tumble-dried, research suggests.

A cocktail of chemicals was found in air emitted through vents during cycles when using both a popular liquid detergent and perfumed dryer sheets.

Although the research was carried out in the U.S., the author of the report is convinced the same problem occurs in British homes, potentially causing headaches, asthma attacks and even seizures.

The research was carried out by Professor Anne Steinemann, an expert on the effects of pollution at the University of Washington in Seattle.

Researchers analysed the fumes emitted from tumble dryers when cycles were run with the detergent and scented dryer sheets. Analysis of the captured gases found more than 25 volatile organic compounds, including seven hazardous air pollutants, coming out of the vents. Of those, two chemicals – acetaldehyde and benzene – are classified by the US Environmental Protection Agency as carcinogens.

The study also found similar chemicals among another 25 fragranced products tested, and all products emitted at least one chemical classified as hazardous.

The findings, published in the journal Air Quality, Atmosphere and Health, raise worrying questions about the safety of perfumed consumer products.

Professor Steinemann said the research showed that while public concern tends to focus on pollution from cars and industry, risks in the home should not be forgotten.

And, as the research suggests, this problem may not be confined to American homes. ‘The detergent we used is widely used in Britain, so I have every reason to believe the situation there will be very similar,’ Professor Steinemann said.

‘In addition, I have been contacted by a number of people in Britain who say they suffer sickness or headaches when they are standing close to tumble dryer vents.’


The personality diet: Knowing your weaknesses is key to weight loss, says neuroscientist

The theory sounds vaguely plausible but does it work in practice? Theories are a dime a dozen. Finding something that works is a rarity

According to clinical neuroscientist Daniel Amen, slimmers are wasting time and energy trying diet plans which will simply never work - because they are not genetically capable of sticking to them. So instead of heading straight to the gym, he says, they should start with an exercise in self-awareness - identifying their weaknesses and working out what makes them want to eat.

In a controversial new book published in the U.S., Dr Amen defines five categories of overeater: compulsive overeaters, impulsive overeaters, compulsive-impulsive overeaters, sad or emotional overeaters and anxious overeaters. He goes on to argue that his research shows each group must avoid certain foods - and eat more of others - in order to lose weight.

He writes: ‘We looked at the brains of our overweight patients and discovered there was not one brain pattern associated with being overweight: there were at least five different types. ‘This is exactly the reason why most diets don’t work. They take a one-size-fits-all approach.’

Compulsive eaters, he argues, ‘tend to get stuck on thoughts of food’. For these types, high-protein diets are said to be unhelpful, because these foods are thought to increase focus - which compulsive types already have plenty of. Instead, Dr Amen suggests they eat more complex carbohydrates, which help the body produce more serotonin, improving mood.

But serotonin-boosting carbohydrates are, he argues, disastrous for impulsive sorts because they simply lower their control further.

Instead, these types should eat foods such as chicken and oats, which raise levels of dopamine in the brain and boost concentration.

For compulsive-impulsive eaters, Dr Amen suggests focusing on exercise, while emotional types should increase the amounts of omega-3 fatty acids they consume, which help calm the body by reducing inflammation.

Anxious overeaters, who use food ‘to medicate their feelings of tension, nervousness and fear’, should avoid alcohol and caffeine, he argues, and choose a diet high in the amino acid glutamine, which is in lentils, broccoli and nuts.

Dr Amen’s claims have, however, been met with scepticism. Dietician Evelyn Toner said: ‘I agree that a lot of problems with weight are down to personality. There are comfort eaters, bingers or, on the other hand, people who turn away from food completely when they are stressed. ‘But it is about changing behaviour and habits rather than specific foods... a binge eater will overeat no matter what food it is.’

Dietician Priya Tew added: ‘People could read this book and say: “It’s my personality. That’s why I’m not losing weight.” My concern is it could be used as an excuse.’


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