Solutions & Substitutions by Reena: Baby Powder as a Cause of Cancer

By Reena Nerbas

Cleaning an Exercise Ball

Dear Reena,

I have a large, vinyl exercise ball that I have tried to clean but it has sticky areas. Why would it be sticky? Is it starting to break down from age? Deb

Dear Deb,

Absolutely, rubber is a petroleum-based product that will eventually breakdown down over time. High humidity, or heat may also impact the life of the ball. Proper maintenance of exercise balls helps increase the life of the equipment. Wash with a cloth and Dawn dish soap, rinse with water. If there are only a few sticky areas, clean the ball with rubbing alcohol, and rinse with water.

Perfect Cinnamon Buns

Dear Reena,

For years I have made cinnamon buns, and they always taste delicious. The problem is the buns open as they bake, and the shape is slightly squished from cutting the dough. I would like to present restaurant quality cinnamon buns to my family. Any suggestions? Amelia

Dear Amelia,

Here are a few suggestions to fix this common challenge: After the dough rises, handle it as little as possible. Add filling to the rolled-out dough, being careful that one of the long edges of the dough remains free of sugar. Roll the dough and press the dough closed with your fingers. Some bakers seal the edge with a brush of egg white. Instead of cutting cinnamon buns with a knife, use dental floss. Slide the floss under the roll, and then draw the ends up cutting through the dough. The dough will not become compressed, and the round shape will remain intact.

Safe Cleaning Products for Septic Systems

Dear Reena,

I live in a rural community and I rely on a well for water and a septic system. Cleaning with all that vinegar is a no-no for septic systems. Is there any other solution that you could provide besides the all-powerful vinegar? Yolande

Dear Yolande,

It is important not to overuse commercial cleaners, as some experts agree that this may breakdown the beneficial bacteria in septic tanks. Experts agree that a small amount of ammonia will not kill helpful bacteria or leach into the ground water and is therefore safe to use.

Feedback from Wise Readers

Re: Baby Powder in Cat Litter Boxes

Hello Reena,

My mom alerted me to a hint she saw in your column recently from a contributor named Eric who suggested the use of baby powder to keep your cat’s litter box smelling fresh. I did that and paid dearly. Cancer by talcum is not limited to humans. All four of our cats developed Cancer from being exposed to baby powder in their litter boxes. They all developed Lung Cancer (Mesothelioma), Abdominal Cancer, Bowel Cancer and Lip/Nasal Cancer. They all died within 26 months of each other. I spent thousands of dollars on treatments, medications, surgeries and palliative care. Please, please, I beg of you, remove this “hint” from your column and advise your readers why the hint has been removed. Talcum or baby powder has been proven to cause Cancer in humans and unfortunately, this includes our beloved pets. Thank you, Linda

Re: Hardened Spill on Ceramic Stovetops

Dear Reena,

We have had ceramic for many years and have discovered that everything that we baked onto the top could be removed fairly easily with those little packs of razor blades that can be bought at any home center store. Rubbing the blade over the crud will eventually remove it all, without any damage to the ceramic top, no matter how much force you use. We always keep one blade in our cupboard, near the stove for this purpose.  Works great on windows as well. Bye, Bill

Note: Every user assumes all risks of injury or damage resulting from the implementation of any suggestions in this column. Test all products on an inconspicuous area first.

Reena Nerbas is a popular motivational presenter for large and small groups; check out her website: Ask a question or share a tip at

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