Cancer and our environment – The best defence for ourselves is self education as it looks as though we cannot depend on regulators to protect us.


Cancer and Our Environment: States Leading the Fight

 

When the President’s Cancer Panel released a report in May 2010 advising Americans to take specific steps to reduce environmental toxins in their lives and thus reduce cancer risk, it was a watershed moment. The report recommended that Americans drink filtered water, avoid bisphenol-A (BPA), eat food grown without pesticides, and carefully choose the household products they use.

Cancer and Our Environment: States Leading the Fight

 

Cancer is one of the leading causes of death in this country, and for years we’ve been pointing out the relationship between cancers and environmental factors.  This knowledge has slowly become mainstream, with even the President’s Cancer Panel advising Americans to reduce cancer risk by avoiding environmental toxins.  However, with reform stalled on the federal level, the states have taken the lead in protecting their citizens from harmful chemicals.  This is an excerpt from a blog on Safer States outlining what different states are doing for their peoples’ health.

When the President’s Cancer Panel released a report in May 2010 advising Americans to take specific steps to reduce environmental toxins in their lives and thus reduce cancer risk, it was a watershed moment. The report recommended that Americans drink filtered water, avoid bisphenol-A (BPA), eat food grown without pesticides, and carefully choose the household products they use.

In an interview with the Breast Cancer Fund, Dr. Margaret Kripke, member of the President’s Cancer Panel, commented on the creation of the report: “This was an enormously eye-opening experience for me.” The panel decided to focus on cancer-causing environmental toxins because they are of concern to many Americans, and because 6% of cancers are thought to be caused by environmental carcinogens – this means that about 20,000 Americans are dying each year due to cancer caused by their environment.

Speaking further on the issue, Dr. Kripke talked about the United States’ stance on the regulation of chemicals in commerce today: over 80,000 chemicals are approved for use in every day products, and only a few of them have been tested. Rather than proactively require testing of these chemicals, the federal government allows their use until the chemical is proven to be harmful.

“I always assumed that if something was a known human carcinogen that it would be regulated and this is clearly not the case.
Also, there are carcinogens in our environment that have been banned in Europe, banned in Canada that we are still using and that remain unregulated to this day, and I always assumed that, before things were put on the market, that they would be tested.
And that, too, is absolutely not the case — we test very few things for cancer-causing properties.”
—Dr. Margaret Kripke
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