Confusion centers on chemicals and cancer

Experts disagree on how worried people should be about exposure

After Kate Canada had her first child three years ago, phthalates was the chemical that health-conscious moms like her went out of their way to avoid. So she tossed the plastic toys and replaced them with wooden ones.

When she had a second daughter this year, BPA became the substance to fear. So she bought new baby bottles and got vigilant about stocking her pantry with all things BPA-free.

Then, a few weeks ago, she heard about an annual report from the President’s Cancer Panel that, for the first time, painted a dire picture about potential cancer risks from a legion of environmental hazards. At that point, she threw up her hands.

“Parents shouldn’t have to be chemists and shouldn’t have to worry about every little thing,” said Canada, 34, of Rodgers Forge. “It just seems to be never-ending. It’s like, what’s next?”