Cancer Report from USDHHS
I somehow missed this, in May when it came out, but Jill Richardson on La Vida Locavore published this:
This report by the U.S. Department of Heath and Human Services is a must-read: Reducing Environmental Cancer Risk: What we can do now.
Want to see a really scary quote from that report? Try this one on for size: “Approximately 41 percent of Americans will be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lives, and about 21 percent will die from cancer.”
41%. Forty-frickin’-one Percent.
Want a few more? Here’s one: “Research on environmental causes of cancer has been limited by low priority and inadequate funding.” (Well, okay, so that one isn’t so shocking.) Another: “The prevailing regulatory approach in the United States is reactionary rather than precautionary. That is, instead of taking preventive action when uncertainty exists about the potential harm a chemical or other environmental contaminant may cause, a hazard must be incontrovertibly demonstrated before action to ameliorate it is initiated. Moreover, instead of requiring industry or other proponents of specific chemicals, devices, or activities to prove their safety, the public bears the burden of proving that a given environmental exposure is harmful. Only a few hundred of the more than 80,000 chemicals in use in the United States have been tested for safety.” Only a few hundred. Out of more than eighty thousand. And it goes on: “U.S. regulation of environmental contaminants is rendered ineffective by five major problems: (1) inadequate funding and insufficient staffing, (2) fragmented and overlapping authorities coupled with uneven and decentralized enforcement, (3) excessive regulatory complexity, (4) weak laws and regulations, and (5) undue industry influence.”
Gotta love number 5, right?
And here’s another beaut: “Americans now are estimated to receive nearly half of their total radiation exposure from medical imaging and other medical sources, compared with only 15 percent in the early 1980s. The increase in medical radiation has nearly doubled the total average effective radiation dose per individual in the United States…Medical imaging of children is of special concern; compared with adults, children have many more years of life during which a malignancy initiated by medical radiation can develop.”