By CJ Frogozo
It’s not what I was expecting to hear when I went to the doctor. Three months ago, I went to urgent care, thinking I would walk out with a Z-pack and a prescription for rest and chicken soup. However, three ultrasounds and a biopsy later, I found out I had thyroid cancer.
There is no history of thyroid cancer in my family, and I lead a healthy lifestyle. I run marathons, am a certified yoga instructor and I eat healthy fresh food. So I asked myself what any person fighting cancer does: why me?
While it is hard for any of us battling cancer to know exactly what caused our particular case, I have learned about major cancer prevention steps we are failing to take in this country.
Chemicals used in consumer products in the United States are virtually unregulated. The result is that toxic chemicals linked to cancer and thyroid and hormone disruption are found in our homes, couches, cooking pans, lotions and perfumes. We have to take action.
Cancer in young adults is on the rise and in the last two decades, thyroid cancer has risen significantly. Even in my small circle of friends, I know three women who have been affected. Many of unregulated chemicals are linked to cancer and thyroid problems, and yet our current system allows them on to the market and into our homes.
Take for example, toxic flame retardants, a class of chemicals that have fallen under sharp scrutiny because as it turns out they aren’t very effective at stopping household fires, and simultaneously are highly toxic. They are found in our couches, children’s products, car seats and more. Flame retardants have host of nasty health effects, one of which is thyroid disruption.
Our primary exposure to flame retardants is through household dust, and the same levels of these chemicals we’re exposed through innocuous seeming dust are the same levels that have caused these negative effects in animal studies.
Why are we taking this risk?
Another common household chemical, used in non-stick cookware and to treat couches (PFOA/PFOS) has been linked to thyroid disruption. Pesticides are also linked to thyroid cancer and disruption, leading me to choose as much organic produce as I can, and living in Oregon, I have a lot to choose from.
For me, I’ve already been hit by cancer, and while I can continue an active lifestyle, my life will never be the same. I am now a cancer survivor and will fight my way to prevent other people from going through what I’ve experienced.
Will you join me in this fight to protect our health from toxic chemicals? The status quo simply cannot continue and I need your help to show Congress we are demanding they take action on the Safe Chemicals Act this fall.
For more information on:
Young adult cancer, please visit our partners at Stupid Cancer
Ways to protect your family from flame retardants