Home Blog A Glimpse Inside The High Performance Handbook Nutrition Guide – Part 2

A Glimpse Inside The High Performance Handbook Nutrition Guide – Part 2

Written on October 24, 2013 at 1:44 pm, by Eric Cressey

Earlier today, I posted a few snippets from Brian St. Pierre's nutrition guide from The High Performance Handbook Gold Package.  Here's part 2 of that preview, picking up with key point #3, which actually has a few subcategories (and trust me, there are a ton more huge takeaways!):

Point #3: Environmental Carcinogens

Hundreds of chemicals are capable of inducing cancer in humans or animals after prolonged or excessive exposure.  Chemically-induced cancer generally develops many years after exposure to a toxic agent.  For example, a latency period of as much as thirty years has been observed between exposure to asbestos and incidence of lung cancer.

In 2010, the President’s Cancer Panel Report declared that “The true burden of environmentally induced cancers has been grossly underestimated…this group of carcinogens has not been addressed adequately by the National Cancer Program.  The American people – even before they are born – are bombarded continually with myriad combinations of these dangerous exposures.”

According to the report, there are about 80,000 chemicals in commercial use in the United States, but only about 2% of those have been assessed for their safety.  The report singles out radon, formaldehyde, and benzene as major environmental toxins that are causing cancer.

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Radon: What is it, Where is it, and How do I Get Less of it?

Radon is a colorless, odorless, radioactive gas.  It comes from the natural decay of uranium or thorium found in nearly all soils, and it typically moves up through the ground and into the home through cracks in floors, walls, and foundations.  It can also be released from building materials or from well water. Radon breaks down quickly, giving off radioactive particles.  Long-term exposure to these particles can lead to lung cancer.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that radon causes about 21,000 lung cancer deaths in the United States each year, with 1 in 20 U.S. homes having elevated levels.  Radon exposure is the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking, and the leading cause among non-smokers.

Testing for radon and taking the necessary steps to lower radon levels in homes that have elevated radon can prevent many radon-related lung cancer deaths.  This process is known as radon mitigation.  Getting your home air and water (if you are on a well) checked is simple and inexpensive – and can save your life and the lives of your loved ones.

Formaldehyde: What is it, Where is it, and How do I Get Less of it?

Formaldehyde is a colorless, flammable, strong-smelling chemical that is used in building materials and to produce many household products.  It also occurs naturally in the environment and is produced in small amounts by most living organisms as part of normal metabolic processes.  Formaldehyde has been classified as a known human carcinogen by several government agencies.

Formaldehyde sources in the home include pressed-wood products such as particleboard and plywood, glues and adhesives, permanent press fabrics, cigarette smoke, and fuel-burning appliances.  In addition, formaldehyde is commonly used as an industrial fungicide, germicide, and disinfectant, and as a preservative in mortuaries and medical laboratories.

Research studies of workers exposed to formaldehyde have suggested an association between formaldehyde exposure and several cancers, including nasopharyngeal cancer and leukemia.  Rats exposed to formaldehyde fumes developed nasal cancer.

The EPA recommends the use of “exterior-grade” pressed-wood products to limit formaldehyde exposure in the home.  Ensuring adequate ventilation, moderate temperatures, appropriate humidity levels (through the use of air conditioners and dehumidifiers), and the use of indoor plants can also reduce formaldehyde levels in homes.

Benzene: What is it, Where is it, and How do I Get Less of it?

Benzene is a colorless liquid that evaporates quickly.  It is naturally found in crude oil and is a basic petrochemical.  Unfortunately, it is also a known human carcinogen.  Benzene is found in tobacco smoke, gasoline (and therefore car exhaust), pesticides, synthetic fibers, plastics, inks, oils, and detergents.  Benzene has also been found in soft drinks (since removed or reformulated), and dryer emissions from scented laundry detergent and dryer sheets.

About 50% of the benzene exposure in the US results from smoking tobacco or from second-hand smoke.  Substantial amounts of data link benzene to aplastic anemia, bone marrow abnormalities and leukemia - particularly acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and acute non-lymphocytic leukemia (ANLL).

To decrease benzene exposure, don’t smoke, and try to avoid second hand smoke.  Ensure adequate ventilation in your home, use non-scented laundry detergents and dryer sheets, and keep plants in the home.

Looking for more insights like these?  Be sure to check out The High Performance Handbook here. And remember: the $30 off discount is only around for this week!

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