Pages Navigation Menu

Invisible Offenders in the Kitchen

Kitchen Sink

The war to prevent cancer is fought on many fronts but rarely in the home environment. Personal environments are unknown territory that remains a mystery to most health care providers and their patients. Sadly, this suggests our home environment has no role in cancer prevention, an assumption that is untrue if you look at available information from cancer research and cancer advocacy organizations.

One out of eight women will get breast cancer, but of those women only 10% will have a genetic history for breast cancer. We know that breast cancer rates have risen dramatically since the 1930s, which parallels the proliferation of synthetic chemicals. There are 85,000 synthetic chemicals registered and less than 10% have been tested for effects on human health. Today we have more questions than answers about the connection between the chemicals in our environment and cancer.

Several nonprofit breast cancer advocacy organizations (Breast Cancer Fund and Zero Breast Cancer) have recommendations to reduce exposure to suspect chemicals called endocrine interuptors that have been implicated in the development of cancer. Endocrine interuptors enter our body through food, water, air and physical contact. Once inside, they interfere with the normal hormone system and have been associated with the development of breast cancer as well as other cancers. Many of us avoid foods with pesticides, hormones and additives as a first step. It turns out there are other invisible sources of endocrine interuptors that make an appearance during food preparation and cooking.

So what are the offenders in our kitchens that are polluting our cooking environment?

Tap Water

Tap water is often contaminated with fertilizers, chemicals, and medications.

What to do

A first step is to invest in installing disposable cartridge filters under your kitchen sink or in a cabinet next to refrigerator to provide filtered drinking and cooking water for household use. Most filters come with simple beeper alarms to remind you to change the filter every 6 months. For more information regarding home water filtration see Often the bottled water you buy is the same as tap water and has been chemically contaminated by the plastic container. Filtering your own water gives you safer, and better tasting water. We use our filtered water for our own organic hot tea, coffee, drinking water and food preparation. I make hot drinks to go at home. Best part is that I am using organic teas and filtered water. It’s better than what I can buy at Starbucks.

• Install a water cartridge filtering system for tap water in kitchen.


There are many studies showing that when we eat food wrapped in plastic or micro waved in plastic bowls, or cooked in nonstick pots/ pans a small amount of the chemicals in the plastic ends up in our blood. Food packaging (canned food, all plastic bottles and plastic wrap) is a source of BPA and phthalate exposure. BPAs and phthalates are known endocrine interuptors.

What to do

Gradually replace your plastic storage containers with stainless steel, ceramic or glass containers. The worst are plastic water bottles stored in a hot car. Once the plastic container heats up, toxic gases are released into the water. Most cans are lined with BPA plastic that leaches into the food including organic canned food. Juices in plastic bottles should be avoided. Cardboard containers for juice/ milk or the tetra packs for soups are a better choice. Choose frozen vegetables and fruits over canned.

• Store and heat leftovers in glass or ceramic containers.
• Microwave your food in glass or ceramic containers.
• Buy food in cardboard packaging, soup in tetra packaging, and glass containers.
• Avoid food in plastic containers especially liquids.

Cooking Pots and Pans

Teflon and other nonstick cooking pots and pans are a source of perflurochemicals (PFCs) especially as the nonstick surfaces begin to peel or wear off. These PFCs are another source of endocrine interuptors. Recently I discovered an older non-stick soup pot was leaving a visible residue on my caramelized vegetables.

What to do

Replace with stainless steel cooking pots/ pans. Watch for sales at large department stores or check out Marshalls, TJ Max, Macys and Home Goods for discounted quality stainless steel cookware. Replace plastic utensils with wood or metal. Cast iron is a good choice too for cooking.

• Replace nonstick cooking pots/ pans with stainless steel.


There are many online resources where you can research products you are using and find more information to help you make healthier choices for you and your family.

Environmental Working Group
Zero Breast Cancer
Breast Cancer Fund
Household Hazardous Substances Database


  1. Thank you for this very helpful post. I think about the things mentioned here and what are the healthy options, and I really appreciate the information listed.

  2. Thank you. We have been following this advice for the past year. There must be some environmental cause for the escalation of breast cancer cases in young women.
    Blog is well done, organized and classy presentation.

  3. I agree. This is a very helpful post with well organised information. Thank you.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.