Steps You Can Take

The following list is derived from the educational programs sponsored by the Wellesley Cancer Prevention Project from 2001-the present day. This list is by no means inclusive of all of the steps that you can take; however, it provides the basis for a sound start in minimizing your cancer risk.

  1. Avoid products containing Phthalates. Phthalates are widely used and can be found in: Personal care use (makeup, shampoo, soaps), Plastics, Paints, and some pesticides. Phthalates have been shown to contain harmful hormone-disrupting chemicals.
  2. Avoid products containing Bisphenol A, a plastic most commonly found in the linings of canned food, water bottles, and baby bottles. Containers that contain BPA usually have a #7 on the bottom.
  3. Make sure your dry cleaner uses current alternatives to traditional dry cleaning methods; avoid the use of perchloroethylene (a.k.a. perc or pbc). If you must use traditional dry cleaning with PERC, remember to open the plastic bags on your clothing in an open space and air them out before putting them in a closet.
  4. Buy organic food. Organically grown food has been shown to have little to no pesticide residues as compared to conventionally grown foods. Consumer Reports found that even a single daily serving of some conventional produce can deliver unsafe levels of toxic pesticide residues for young children.
  5. Reduce your exposure to any chemicals which might be present in any water supply. In particular:
    a. In the morning, run the faucet where you normally take your first drink or fill up your coffee pot until the water turns as cold as it’s going to get. This flushes out the water that has been standing in your pipes overnight. (If no one is home and using water during the day, do the same thing in the evening.)
    b. Always used cold tap water for cooking, drinking and preparing baby formula or foods. Hot water dissolves metals faster.
    c. Use an activated charcoal (AC) filter to filter your tap water.
    d. Consult the following website to determine for yourself whether you wish to drink bottled or tap water.
  6. Avoid seventeen products in personal care products, by taking one of our wallet-sized cards with you whenever you shop for products. (Click here to print the card)
  7. Avoid products where “fragrance” is one of the main ingredients. Fragrance is considered a trade secret and is not subject to disclosure of the chemicals that make up the fragrance. Most personal care products contain “fragrance”, whether they purport to be scented or not. Check out all your products on to make sure that the products you use are safe.
  8. Do not assume that a product that is labeled “organic” is necessarily good. Personal care products do not have to meet standards for the use of the term. Consult, the website for the Organic Trade Association to check out your organic product.
  9. Avoid dumping chemicals down your drains. Make use of the Hazardous Waste disposal day at the RDF and/or any prescription disposal program at your pharmacy. In particular, if you live near the Morse’s Pond area, remember that any chemicals you dump down your drain or put on your lawn go directly into the storm drains that empty into our water supply.
  10. Do not wash your car at home, unless you use soap that has been proven organic. Again, the waste water runs right into the storm drains that empty into our water supply.
  11. Microwave food products in microwavable containers; don’t use plastic wraps or plastic containers, even those that purport to be microwaveable. Many plastic containers contain chemicals that are hormone-disrupting, and can leach into food when they are heated.
  12. Reduce your exposure to UV radiation by wearing safe sunscreen. Consult the Environmental Working Group website at for product names without potentially hazardous ingredients.
  13. Many pesticides are endocrine disruptors. Maintain your lawn using natural processes. Use (or ask pest management providers) for non-toxic pest control products. Avoid using pesticides and/or insecticides inside your home as well. Find an accredited organic lawn professional through the Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA) at:
  14. Pesticides and herbicides used on gardens and lawns are tracked into the house on shoes and by pets. Have people remove their shoes when they enter your home to avoid tracking in pesticides from the outside.
  15. Avoid idling the engine of your car. Idling produces more emissions per minute than driving. Engine exhaust contains more than 40 hazardous air pollutants.
  16. When your children play on artificial sports turf, make sure they empty their athletic shoes into a waste receptacle at the field before your car or your house, and make sure they wash their hands after playing on such fields. Tire crumb includes such hazardous chemicals as: mercury, arsenic, trichloroethylene, and lead, to name a few. For more information, consult The Environment and Human Health, Inc. website at for further details.