Invigorate: Worrisome or Worry Not?

Being bombarded by news reports declaring which water bottles, cell phones, and makeup products are unsafe can get confusing and frustrating. Here’s a guide to help you wade through the technical muck.

CELL PHONES: While it has not been proven that cell phone radio waves cause brain tumors, try to reduce your exposure to electromagnetic waves just in case. The highest amount of radiation is given off when a call is initiated, so hold the phone away from your head until a connection is made. Use a hands-free device (now New Jersey law while driving) to keep the phone away from your head.

DRY CLEANING: Stay away from perchloroethylene (perc), a solvent used in dry cleaning that the EPA deems a carcinogen. Patronize businesses that use nontoxic alternatives, such as cyclic siloxane, a silicone-based solvent. Go to to find New Jersey locations.

HIGH-TENSION WIRES: Although exposure to radiation has been linked with certain types of brain tumors, epidemiologists have not been able to prove that electromagnetic waves emitted from high-tension wires result in cancerous tumors.

LIPSTICK: A 2007 study by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics found 61 percent of brand-name lipsticks tested contained detectable levels of lead, a potentially dangerous neurotoxin if ingested. One-third of the lipsticks exceeded the FDA’s limit for lead in candy—0.1 parts per million. Many women inadvertently consume nearly 4 pounds of lipstick over a lifetime while licking their lips and eating and drinking. Go to to find a list of brands with lead and safer alternatives.

PLASTIC BOTTLES: Polycarbonate plastics—clear, hard, and shatterproof—contain bisphenol-A, or BPA, a substance that may result in an increased cancer risk if leached into food and drinks. The jury is still out on BPA, so trade plastic bottles for aluminum, and use glass containers whenever possible.

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