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Healthy Living

Breathe Clean Air

  1. Don’t smoke, and avoid second hand smoke and third hand smoke left on clothing and indoor surfaces. Smoke contains small particles that penetrate deep into lung tissues, as well as benzene, formaldehyde, arsenic, cadmium, lead, and numerous polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). These chemicals are all carcinogens, with numerous other adverse health effects as well. The foetus and child are most vulnerable, with lifelong impacts including asthma and increased risk of cancers.
  2. If you do smoke, you can get help quitting.
  3. Do not vape. Vaping is marketed as being better than smoking, but inhaling heated, possibly charred chemicals is not healthy. High nicotine, flavoured vapes targeted for teenagers have created another generation of nicotine addicts, that may move to cigarettes. Some jurisdictions are further restricting ingredients, nicotine levels, availability and marketing of vape products.
  4. Avoid as much smoke as possible – it is almost as bad as smoking yourself. This includes tobacco, cannabis and other sources of smoke. Don’t allow people to smoke in your home, and choose to live in smoke-free buildings. You can also work for no-smoking leases, rules and enforcement in multi-residential buildings, and no-idling zones.
  5. Don’t be idling – the car, that is. It wastes fuel, engine exhaust is harmful and it creates greenhouse gases. Diesel exhaust is known to cause cancer. Modern cars warm up quickly. If possible, avoid bottlenecks with alternative transportation or timing. Work for “no idling” zones around schools, clinics and other public places. Major cities are banning diesel vehicles.
  6. Wildfire smoke is an increasing concern as climate chaos progresses. High quality air filters for particles (High Efficiency Particle Arrestor or HEPA) and for chemicals (activated carbon) are necessary for high quality room air. Be sure to maintain the air filter according to manufacturer’s directions. Well fitting N95 masks are helpful when outdoors. Importantly, we all must do all we can to minimize our greenhouse gases footprint.
  7. MORE
  8. Stick to organic, natural fabrics when you can, to avoid toxic flame retardant, anti-wrinkle, antimicrobial and water proofing chemicals. Ask retailers to match and surpass efforts by Target and Levi Strauss with ingredient disclosure and least-toxic choices.
  9. Drive less and cycle, walk, jog, rollerblade and bus more. This increases physical activity, and reduces transportation-related pollution including carcinogens and greenhouse gases.
  10. Location, location, location. If possible, choose to live in a community where you can commute to work or school and can run your errands on foot or by bicycle. While doing so, try to avoid heavily trafficked roads, as air pollution can be an important cause of cancer. Also, ensure that no industries or dumps used to be in your new area, as soil contamination can remain, and “brownfield redevelopment” was not done as carefully historically as it is supposed to be done today.
  11. Take up an activity such as yoga, meditation, tai chi or qigong! These traditional physical-mental activities can reduce the impact of stress, improve your physiology and stimulate the body’s natural defenses against cancer and other diseases.
  12. Get enough sleep. The International Agency for Research in Cancer (IARC) has deemed lack of sleep a carcinogen. It is believed to be related to lowered levels of melatonin. Sleep and melatonin production is disrupted not only by poor habits; they are also disrupted by light and electromagnetic radiation from wireless devices. Try to minimize shift work and ensure that you sleep well between shifts, to reduce the cancer risk arising from sleep disruption. Supplementation with melatonin is being investigated for cancer reduction in shift workers.
  13. Moderate your salt intake. Many people eat more salt than is necessary or healthy. Research shows that higher incidence of stomach, esophagus, and bladder cancer among populations with high salt intake is due to salt-preserved foods (e.g. processed meats and pickled foods) and the saltshaker, and is worsened with H. pylori infection. Clearly excessive salt contributes to cancer as well as other chronic diseases, so it is best used with greater restraint. Other seasonings such as vinegar, garlic, herbs and spices are tasty substitutes for salt.
  14. Prepare for healthy holidays now! Stock the freezer with easy, healthy meals. Everyone gets busy during the holidays – shopping, decorating, seeing friends and family leave little time to cook healthy food. Take defensive action NOW by cooking healthy dishes ready to be thawed, to share with those you love.
  15. As we prepare treats and refreshments for family and friends, use lots of colourful fruits and vegetables, and go easy on the sugar and alcohol.
  16. Avoid processed meats. The World Health Organization declared that bacon, sausages and other processed meats are as strong a cancer threat as cigarettes. In your body, the nitrate preservative forms carcinogenic N-nitroso compounds. For example, research shows higher risks of childhood leukemia with intake of hot dogs, and bladder cancer with intake of bacon. Prolonged boiling of hot dogs will leach some of the nitrate.
  17. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables is a key to cancer prevention. It is optimum but may be impractical to always choose organically grown produce. Decide where to put your money knowing that the following may to be the most contaminated by pesticides, taking into account pesticide toxicity: Apples, Apricots, Cantaloupe (Mexico), Cherries, Cranberries, Grapes, Nectarines (imported), Peaches, Pears, Strawberries, Beans (green), Celery, Cucumbers, Lettuce, Peas, Peppers (Sweet Bell), Potatoes, Spinach, Squash (winter), Tomatoes. When it’s not possible to purchase organic food, be sure to scrub, peel fruits and vegetables, and remove outer leaves when appropriate. Fragile produce that cannot be scrubbed may be soaked in water, possibly with a bit of vinegar, and then rinsed. Scrubbing and peeling will help to remove external pesticides and wax, but will not remove chemicals already absorbed from the soil or from spraying during the growing period.
  18. Tea is the beverage most commonly enjoyed by centenarians around the world. The polyphenols in tea affect many cellular pathways, to help ward off cancer. Green tea is particularly recommended.
  19. Drink lots of water! Avoid sugar-laden sodas and “fruit punch.” “Flavours” and artificial colours provide no nutrition, but may be harmful. “Sugar-free” versions with artificial sweeteners are no better and may be worse.
  20. Enjoy time with friends and family, sing, laugh, roam the outdoors, and spend quiet time for your inner peace.
  21. Exercise! Exercise! Exercise! Adults should get at least 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity 5 or more days a week. Children need vigorous exercise daily. Exercise increases strength and reduces stress. Toxicants are excreted in sweat. Effects on hormones decrease risks for diabetes and cancers – exercise increases insulin receptor sensitivity and decreases insulin, while increased muscle and decreased fat lower leptin levels. Exercise also improves the circulation of immune cells and your lymphatic system, which eliminate precancerous cells.
  22. Practice safe sex using a condom and avoid exposures to bodily fluids, to avoid cancer-causing infectious agents such as hepatitis B and C, HIV, and human papilloma virus. Infectious agents are estimated to be responsible for 22% of cancer deaths in developing countries and 6% in industrialized countries.
  23. Sweat! You can sweat by exercise or a sauna, but be sensible and don’t over-do it. Be sure to replace your fluids and salts. Sweating is a great way to excrete cancer-causing substances such as some all-too-pervasive persistent organic pollutants, and toxic metals.