In the world of science, the internet is constantly buzzing with the latest discoveries to help improve human life. We have the potential to lead healthier and longer lives, but do we do enough research to make informed health decisions? Sometimes studies can leave us puzzled, and too trusting. Dr. Oz gives us his personal take on five health concerns that negate scientific backup and we should be slightly cautious of:

1. Toothpaste with Triclosan

Triclosan is an antibacterial agent found in various personal care products and is awaiting FDA approval. Results from animal studies showed that it could reduce levels of thyroid hormones, which are knowne to play a key role in regulating metabolism. Other studies suggest that long term use of products that contain triclosan can increase bacteria’s resistance to antibiotics. It may be hazardous to have triclosan in your toothpaste due to the fact that it can be absorbed through the mouth.

Oz Safety Tips: Until the official rulings from the FDA are in, avoid toothpastes that contain triclosan. There are plenty of triclosan-free products available – check the ingredients label.

2. Ulcer Causing OTC Pain Killers

Painkillers can greatly increase your risk for peptic ulcers. The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases suggest that these particular over the counter drugs inhibit an enzyme that protects the lining of your stomach, leaving it more vulnerable to damage from stomach acid.

Oz Safety Tips: Dr. Oz proposes for safety reasons, to limit your use of OTC painkillers for aches and pains to once a week. Attempt natural remedies first. Dehydration is typically the case for headaches so try drinking a glass of water.

3. Chemicals in Your Unfiltered Water

74% of public water systems in the United States comply with the Safe Drinking Water Act, which ensures that the water coming out of your faucet contains only low levels of harmful chemicals and contaminants. A three year study from the Environmental Working Group found that specific chemicals, not regulated by the EPA are actually considered harmful and in some cases, carcinogenic.

Oz Safety Tips: Make sure that all the water you drink and cook with is purified by choosing a filter that attaches to your faucet or water line below the sink. Boiling the water will rid bacteria, but only filtering removes contaminants such as heavy metals and chlorine by-products.

4. Medical Tests and Radiation

A CT scan in the neck, abdominal or pelvic can deliver five times the radiation we are typically exposed to in a year (from sunlight, soil, etc) This particular type of radiation can break the bonds that bind your DNA, and introduce errors into your genetic code that can potentially lead to cancer. The Institute of Medicine estimates that one year of exposure to medical radiation may result in 2,800 breast cancers in American women, with two-thirds resulting from CT scans.

Oz Safety Tips: Keep detailed accounts of medical history to avoid getting more tests that you need. You can use the Medical Imaging History Chart on Doctoroz.com to record all the scans you’ve had, then share the list with your doctor, to prevent excessive exposure. This is particularly important if you are seeing a new physician so she can review the results before ordering new scans.

5. The Dangers of Cell Phones

A common health concern today, cell phones emit radio frequency energy that may contribute to a slight increase in developing brain tumors. Unlike the radiation from a CT scan, RF energy isn’t strong enough to break DNA bonds, but the tissues near the ear you use when you’re on the phone can absorb it. Other studies have found no connection to brain tumors from people who used cell phones regularly for ten years or more. While such news is reassuring, the medical community believes it’s difficult to know the health consequences of cell phone use until longer-term studies are done.

Oz Safely Tips: Avoid keeping the phone pressed up against your ear. Use the speaker phone or a hands-free headset to reduce RF exposure. Whenever possible, you can wait to have strong cell phone reception to make calls; the weaker the signal, the more RF energy the phone emits to keep calls from dropping. At night, don’t sleep with your phone next to your bed.

-Nikki B.

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