In April, 2010, Suzanne H. Reuben of the President’s Cancer Panel issued a report that addresses the rising concerns over the 200,000 chemicals that are used commercially in America, of which only 200 have been federally tested and approved for safety. The report cites that these unregulated chemicals that are found in the air, food and water are causing harm to Americans via various forms of cancer.
Previously it was reported that most cancers are partly caused by diet and tobacco use, according to epidemiologists. They approximate that only 5% of cancers are caused due to chemical exposures and pollution. On the contrary, the Cancer Panel stated that this percentage has been largely underestimated, yet the panel did not have a new estimate.
The report states that the American public is becoming more aware of issues related to chemical exposures in the workplace and environment, due to the increasing amount of evidence relating chemical exposure to cancer. Also of concern was how weak the federal chemical laws are with little money towards research and enforcement actions. In addition, the report cites that the federal government’s safe chemical exposure standards are outdated.
The report placed an emphasis on the vulnerability of children and unborn babies to chemical exposure, seen as evidence with the increasing number of cancer cases among children. The president and co-founder of Environmental Working Group, Kenneth A. Cook, stated, “There are far too many known and suspected cancer-causing chemicals in products people, young and old, use every day of their lives. Many of these chemicals are believed to be time bombs, altering the genetic-level switching mechanisms that lead to cancerous cellular growth in later life.” Cook’s company is an environmental advocacy group.
As it currently stands, the federal government is responsible for proving a chemical is unsafe in order for it to be banned from the market. The report claims that due to the standards being so high, the government has been unable to ban asbestos, a known chemical carcinogen. Asbestos is banned in several other countries.
By 2009, approximately 1.5 million men, women and children in America were diagnosed with cancer with 562,000 people dying as a result of the disease.
To view the report issued by the President’s Cancer Panel, please click here: https://deainfo.nci.nih.gov/advisory/pcp/pcp08-09rpt/PCP_Report_08-09_508.pdf
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