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May 6th, 2010
12:01 AM ET

Presidential panel: Cancer risks underestimated

By David S. Martin
CNN Medical Senior Producer

Exposure to potential cancer risks in daily life is widespread but underestimated, especially for children, a presidential panel said today.

The President’s Cancer Panel said the public remains by and large unaware of such common cancer risks as formaldehyde, benzene and radon. It’s the first time the group has focused on environmental cancer risks in its annual report to the president.

“The mere fact that the President’s Cancer Panel has this report is going to make people more aware,” said panel chair Dr. Lasalle Leffall Jr., an oncologist and professor of surgery at Howard University College of Medicine.

The panel also recommends reducing environmental cancer risks a cornerstone of cancer prevention efforts and said doctors need to do a better job considering potentially harmful chemical exposures when diagnosing patients.

The report also faults U.S. policy for allowing most of the 80,000 chemicals in use to go largely unstudied and unregulated. For example, the report says, bisphenol A (BPA) remains unregulated in consumer products such as plastic bottles, can liners and food wrap “despite the growing link between BPA and several diseases, including various cancers.”

Risks of environmental exposure are especially acute for children, who weigh less but – pound for pound - take in more food, water and air than adults. Toxic chemicals also remain active longer in children’s bodies and their developing brains are more prone to chemical exposure.

Leffall said the panel decided to publish the report on environmental cancer risks this year even in absence of proof that particular exposures cause cancer. Case in point: Cell phones. Leffall said even though science has not shown electromagnetic energy from cell phone use causes cancer, the report takes a cautious approach and recommends callers wear headsets, or text, to reduce exposure.

To lessen cancer risks, the 240-page report also recommends:

* Removing shoes before entering the home to avoid tracking in toxic chemicals such as pesticides.

* Filtering tap water.

* Using stainless steel, glass or BPA-free plastic water bottles.

* Microwaving in ceramic or glass instead of plastic containers.

* Minimizing consumption of food grown with pesticides and meat raised with antibiotics and growth hormone.

* Minimizing consumption of processed, charred or well-done meats, which contain carcinogenic heterocyclic amines and polyaromatic hydrocarbons.

* Reducing radiation from X-rays and other medical sources.

The report singled out three chemicals as dangerous: formaldehyde, benzene and radon.

Almost all homes contain formaldehyde, considered a probable human carcinogen by the Environmental Protection Agency. Formaldehyde is used in plywood, particle board, foam insulation, carpet and draperies, furniture, permanent press fabrics and toiletries. Exposure is highest when these are newly installed, the report said. Also, an estimated 2 million Americans are exposed to formaldehyde at work, raising their risk of dying from Hodgkin’s lymphoma and other cancers, according to the report.

Exposure to benzene is also widespread. Exhaust from cars and other vehicles contain benzene, listed as a known human carcinogen by the EPA.

Radon, which forms naturally and can collect in homes, is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States, behind smoking, resulting in an estimated 21,000 deaths annually, according to the report. The report recommends periodically checking the radon levels at home.

The President’s Cancer Panel was created in 1971. Serving with Lefall is Margaret L. Kripke of the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. The panel’s third member has not been appointed.

Editor's Note: Medical news is a popular but sensitive subject rooted in science. We receive many comments on this blog each day; not all are posted. Our hope is that much will be learned from the sharing of useful information and personal experiences based on the medical and health topics of the blog. We encourage you to focus your comments on those medical and health topics and we appreciate your input. Thank you for your participation.


Filed under: Cancer • Toxic America

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soundoff (182 Responses)
  1. Jason

    Thanks for shedding light on this issue David. The amazing thing is that there are relatively simple things that people can do to make their home safer. For example, plants such as Boston fern, English ivy, spider plant, rubber plant, and several palms naturally remove chemicals like Formaldehyde, Benzene and Trichloroethylene. At Healthline.com, we recently published a nice slide show about different air-purifying plants. Check it out: http://www.healthline.com/hlc/the-best-air-purifying-plants?micrositeId=26

    May 6, 2010 at 20:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Herbert Baer

    Aloha: I hope this is reported to ASTDR and Congress as a retired Marine who was stationed at Camp Lejeune from 1968-1970. wife became pregnant and died from cancer 8yrs later. My daughter was born in Nov 69 and has had a myrid of illnesses during her life. she is on the verge of having her third disc surgery. Lets see this story of Marines at Camp Lejeune continued to be folowed by CNN.

    May 6, 2010 at 20:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Nat Wooding

    Your comments in the piece about substances in cord blood reminded me that of something that happened around 1970 when I was a grad student in zoology at NCSU. At some point, we took a field trip to a laboratory run at one of the NIH facilities at Research Triangle Park. There, they were looking at teratogenic effects of various substances and were attempting to use newborn possums as subjects since they could be removed from the pouch and intubated. I have no idea how long the program lasted or what their results were (and whether cancers were included in the results). One problem, of course, was getting a steady supply of baby possums so there was an effort to set up a breeding colony and convince the possums to cooperate.

    NHW

    May 6, 2010 at 20:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Doc

    Check out "Toxic Soup" a 90 minute feature documentary movie featuring these exact stories. They have a website Toxic Soup movie dot com. Saw it at the Atlanta Film Festival this year and it was great.

    May 6, 2010 at 21:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Big R

    If just about everything we are exposed to is a cancer risk, why is it that Americans live longer today than we did 30, 50 or 100 years ago? The authors of this study are a bunch of alarmist nuts who fail to realize that we don't live in a risk-free society. You want to avoid premature death, then why not outlaw cars, trucks, motorcycles and other motarized means of transportation? That way there would never be another death from a traffic accident. Of course, the liberal kooks would have to carry their family members to the hospital in case of an emergency, because we would have taken all ambulances off the road.

    May 6, 2010 at 21:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Jonathan

    "Oh please govt, u know best, please protect me from LIFE!!!! I want you to be my daddy and provide for me from cradle to grave, I am worthless, I cant do it by myself, oh please please keep me safe...lol....liberals..PATHETIC!!"

    – It is not that we are asking the government to protect us from life. Though, we should all hope that our government would not allow big business to expose us chemicals known to cause harm. When known carcinogens are found in everyday products things have gone wrong. Big business will not change by themselves, as this cost money. Businesses are for profit not public wellbeing. As in the 20's things are out of control and it is time for our elected officials to step in and look out for their constituents' best interests.

    And by the way, I'm not even a liberal and I understand this one... Maybe someone should read their history books before jumping to rash conclusions.

    May 6, 2010 at 22:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Tribes

    May 6th, 2010 12:09 ET
    "Death is natural. Living to 60+ years is not. People die, get over it. People need to die to keep the planet able to sustain us. If you havent noticed the damage to the planet and the length of life, you are a biscuthead. There are simply too many people on the planet now. That being said, remove the warning labels from everything and let natural selection take its course. The world, and our quality of life, will be better off."

    I could not have said it better. Diseases are a NATURAL part of what keeps, or is supposed to be keeping our numbers in check. We feel so smart that we have been able to eliminate and mitigate it, but sooner or later nature will win out to restore balance. There's so much talk of what is natural in this thread but what is natural about extending human life indefinitely and at all costs?

    May 6, 2010 at 22:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. kathy

    I find it ironic that males are at much higher risk to get all forms of cancer other than that only women can get and males die from all forms of cancer at a much higher rate as it shows that the male is the weaker sex (males die far more often from 8 of the top ten deadly diseases)

    When we consider this, it is odd to realize our government is spending far more to promote women's health than it does for the males since it is the male that is in more of a health care crisis and they need more help. Perhaps this is because the government also realizes the value of women over the value of males and that between the two genders; the male is actually the more expandable gender as any society needs more women to carry on than it needs males.

    Our president has a highly funded office of women's health but there is no help for the males. Now I have to admit that as a woman who strongly believes women are the superior gender, I do not mind this disparity but we do need to keep some of our males around. Most of us do have fathers, brothers, sons and husbands that we do care about and we would like to see these males get the help they need.

    May 7, 2010 at 01:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. cb

    Unfortunately, right now the consumer has to take the time to research to see if products are safe because greed and money has allowed so many products to be available despite the risk. If you look into it further you would see that we can't even ship our food to other countries because they don't meet their health standards let alone there are no required safetly tests on any new non-food products that companies introduce here should scare the hell out of you. People assume they wouldn't sell if it was dangerous. I thought that too until I became a mother and started researching what would be best for my child – ha. We're on our own. Truth is the corporations are lining the pockets of those who could protect us. Even make-up to this day is not regulated. Women and girls continue to posion themselfs daily with lead filled lipsticks and fingernail polish because they think – they wouldn't sell if it it was unsafe. BPA – you would think every person wouldn't want to poison a child which is the majority of the BPA products out there is in child and baby products – their food containers and bottles. Other countries have banned it because it is a fact if causes breast cancer and prostate cancer yet it is still considered in the margin of safetly here because bottom line BPA is in the largest plastic export of the USA – polycarbonate plastic. What I don't understand is how these people sleep at night. Guess values and morals are for sale. Makes you proud doesn't it.... I wish we could get someone in the presidential office who wasn't in bed with these big corporations. You know, I know longer care about democrats or republicans – I don't trust either – how can I when they let the above happen. They obviously don't care about me or this country.

    May 7, 2010 at 02:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Johnny Richards

    I was diagnosed with bladder cancer at the age of 18. Never once smoked a cigarette or was exposed to any chemicals. Beware, it can happen to anyone.

    May 7, 2010 at 02:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Becky Gillette

    IS this one of the reasons that the U.S. spends more per capita on health care than any other nation on earth, and yet ranks 42nd in the world in life expectancy?

    Is it because we have a political systems that allows the polluter to set the "limits" on pollution?

    We have known the dangers of formaldehyde for decades, but the Formaldehyde Council through campaign contributions has prevented formaldehyde from being properly regulated. Sen. David Vitter of Louisiana is just the latest example of a congressman who has blocked\delayed formaldehyde regulations. See http://www.toxictrailers.com.

    May 7, 2010 at 08:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. AnneR

    It is more scary to read comments to this article then facing danger from chemicals.
    Lack of basic knowledge in biology and ARROGANT STUPIDITY is overwhelming in Americans!!! One guy is breathing out formaldehyde (I do not, I breath out CO2), another says that "cancer is a product of immune system battle". And all of them have guts to voice their opinion, doctors are nuts for them, and those people have (probably) right to vote! SCARY!!!!

    May 7, 2010 at 08:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Debbie

    John,
    It seems you don't care what companies put in your food and your environment. Good luck to you - as you don't mind being a human experiment for chemical companies. I think we should do a study to find out why conservatives are such sheep.

    May 7, 2010 at 08:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Ross Foyee

    The worst cancer risk is normal people being exposed to all the insanity that is issued forth from insane newsmedia such as CNN. The morons that run CNN only are interested in money to promote sensationalism which to them breeds more money. The handling of dirty money around this country daily by trashy folks that put their germs on it is the single biggest detrimental cause of transmitting cancer cells from nutz to normal people that don't have so much of a worship for cash in their blood. End of story!

    May 7, 2010 at 08:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Rachel

    I'm always kind of wary of these articles. I did everything on that list...I was miss-healthy-running-flax seed eating-glass container using- organic food buying queen, and I got Non Hodgkins lymphoma. When I was 27. I'm not denying that there was a cause for the cancer...possibly environmental, who knows? One of the frustrating things about cancer is that so much focus is placed on curing it that nobody seems to care WHY you have it...and curing it is good, I appreciate being alive two years later...but honestly, I never smoked, don't really drink, never had a hazardous job working with chemicals...I suppose that my point is that reading articles like this and then freaking out about cancer isn't going to do you any good. There are so many carcinogens out there that we can't control our exposure to all of them.

    May 7, 2010 at 08:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. AnneR

    People, WE KNOW MAIN REASONS FOR CANCER!!!
    It is XXI century!
    These are: viruses, exposure to certain chemicals (still looking which ones), radiation e.g. UV, others???
    Those listed above cause damage to our genes that regulate cell growth. Cancer is unregulated cell growth, sort of like Wall Street , grew too big and sucks too much resources on the expense of our body/society.
    By the way, each of us make many cancerous cells daily but our immune system kills them. If balance flips to the advantage to cancerous cells, another way, immune system doesn't do the job, we got cancer.

    May 7, 2010 at 10:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Philipnola

    I am very grateful for the few *real* news sites who have reporters with solid educational foundations who are able to understand, properly interpret, and *report* facts, rather than distort them with misinformation.

    For those of you nay-sayers who percieve this as far-left paranoia, *Bush* appointed the doctors on the panel who wrote this, Dr. LaSalle Leffall Jr., an oncologist and professor of surgery at Howard University, and Dr. Margaret Kripke, an immunologist at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. But I'm sure that, internet in hand, you can find "information" that shows they don't know what they are talking about.

    I miss the days when the good news organizations actually had resources to research stories and wider audiences learning from them. Not only do we have higher morbidity than most first world countries, our education level is worse.

    Welcome to the misinformation age.

    May 7, 2010 at 12:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Reid Winick

    WOW! What great news. Finally, a government agency is taking a risk to increase awareness about out of the box possible causes of cancer. Obviously, the past decades of status quo reporting and research has not been working. Lets look, after billions of dollars spent on cancer research, cancer is the #2 killer of all diseases. Plus, did you know Oral Cancer is now on the rise in the younger population, average age of 25. (not 40 as in the past). So may be it is time we take a look at our lives and make some key changes. Don't worry, I am not suggesting we outlaw life as suggested in an earlier post. Although, don't you think, it could be a good idea avoiding foods, as an example, that where synthetic, full of sugar, food dyes and a list of ingredients that was filled with chemical names that would fill a chemistry book.

    I can go on and on about this. You see this is a very passionate topic for me. Not because I have or had cancer, but because in the mid 1990's I was sick, near death, and on disability. Thank god, I stumbled on a healthier way of life by eating the right foods, and other healthy modalities that got me to a place of total health.

    I applaud this report. It is a start. It is also possible to accomplish.
    I built a sustainable, green, dental office in New York City, called
    Dentistry for Health NY, following about 95% of these principles listed in this report. Why? Because when I was really sick and I told my doctor by avoiding certain foods I will get healthy, his answer to me was "but, there is no research to take this action." Well, fifteen years later there is research supporting what I did. I guess it was a good idea I didn't waite for a doctor to give me permission to take my health in my own hands. In addition, most of the research about what appears in the government cancer panel is out and published in other countries. (you just have to look for it). This type of out of the box thinking has helped my patients keep their teeth from getting cavities, avoiding gum surgery when they where told this was their only option, and not extracting their teeth when they where informed they had no hope. I guess waiting for the research proving my programs work will be coming in 15 years also.

    As I see it, the cause of cancer isn't only about chemicals. There are many other combinations of lifestyle activities that tie into the cause of cancer. However, this is definitely a hot topic. Look at all the posts. I applaud CNN for reporting on this government cancer panel report and getting it out to the public. Hopefully, this will be the start of our government looking at what we are doing to ourselves as one of the most advance countries and thinking out of the box for other possible
    solutions.

    Respectfully,

    Dr. Reid Winick, DDS
    http://www.dentistryforhealthny.com

    May 8, 2010 at 23:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Robert

    How can anyone prove a chemical (or anything else) won't cause cancer? Those who claim they can prove something won't happen should have their degrees taken away. They failed Logic 101.

    May 9, 2010 at 17:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Jackie

    As a two-time brain tumor survivor and two-time breast cancer survivor, I applaud the Presidential panel for promoting the awareness of harmful effects of several chemical.

    I've been a victim of the harmful effects of all types of environmental toxins. The cost (not counting my own suffering and lost wages) of just the medical procedures already reached almost half a million dollars.

    I was exposed to DDT when I was young growing up in SouthEast Asia – wondered if it's also part of the reason why I had been born premature. The air pollution was bad in the big city when I rode buses to high school and college. But the most harmful exposures I've had were from the United States. Two lady bosses of mine, both highly educated persons (Master's degrees) put me in harms way. The first one removed the asbestos of the building but also hired a pest control team to spray the library because of fleas. The smell was so strong I had to run to another building after suffering a huge headache. 11 years later, another boss lady put me to work the Saturday right after the roof of the building was repaired with tar Friday afternoon. The following weeks she forbade us to open the windows, claiming the air conditioning would filter it out. Her office was in the extended wing that has a different ventilating system and was not exposed to the toxins.

    A coupld of years later, I got certified to teach at an inner city school where asbestos had not been removed. We are talking about 2005. Next couple of years I worked at two other public schools where cleaning crews routinely used strong-smelled chemicals to clean the classrooms.

    I strongly believe the public needs to be educated about the harmful effects these chemicals can have on people. If we take a closer look at the medical expenses and indirect cost such as lost wages, we will find that it's really not worth it to put human lives at risk. There's an urgent need to bring awareness to the subject just as when 'Silent Spring' was published.

    Think about the effort we are making to clean up the oil spill at the Gulf – we need to make the same effort to clean our own back yard and schools and public buildings every day.

    May 9, 2010 at 18:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. pareick

    What the toxic chemicals the industrial revolution has wrought has done to the detriment of the earth and the well being of the human race is a fact. Liars will never admit the truth.

    May 15, 2010 at 13:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Don Hassig

    Pollutant Carcinogen Exposure Reduction Education

    Donald L. Hassig, Director, Cancer Action NY, April 16, 2010

    A considerable amount of knowledge regarding what causes cancer has accumulated during the past several decades. Cancer Biology has established the basic facts of the process, carcinogenesis, whereby a normal cell becomes a cancer cell. It has also come to be known that a considerable number of chemical substances are human carcinogens.

    Chemical carcinogens cause cancer by damaging the DNA of chromosomes. Damage occurs at the molecular level. One molecule of carcinogen attaches to the DNA molecule causing one increment of chromosomal damage, referred to as a lesion. Increased numbers of carcinogen molecules in the body increases the amount of damage done to the DNA. This means that reducing the amount of carcinogen one is exposed to reduces cancer risk. Genes are the basic functional units of chromosomes. Proteins that control all of the body’s biochemical processes are produced using the genes for building instructions. When the gene that codes for the production of the protein that controls cell division is damaged by carcinogens the cell can no longer produce a viable protein product and as a result, control of cell division is lost. (Gene damage sufficient to cause such loss of control is the result of several lesions.) The cell possessing a division control gene damaged to this extent is a potential cancer cell.
    The above information provides a foundation for cancer prevention education that can significantly reduce cancer risk. Reducing exposure to carcinogens decreases cancer risk. It is reasonable to focus efforts to reduce exposure on those chemical carcinogens that are imposing a large amount of exposure.

    The exhaust released by combustion of gasoline and diesel fuel contains several human carcinogens, including: benzene, formaldehyde, diesel exhaust particulates, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Many people are exposed to large quantities of exhaust carcinogens.

    Lipid soluble persistent hydrocarbon pollutant carcinogens constitute another group of chemical carcinogens to which large numbers of people are exposed. Persistent hydrocarbon pollutant carcinogens include: dioxins, dioxin-like compounds, polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), DDE, a breakdown product of DDT, PCBs and numerous synthetic pesticides. These chemical compounds contaminate animal fat due to their presence in the environment. In terrestrial ecosystems, these chemicals enter the food supply via air borne deposition onto the surfaces of vegetation. When herbivores consume the contaminated plants, these chemicals enter into their bodies and are stored in fat tissue. This type of contamination of plant matter is ubiquitous and involves the background levels of pollutants in the environment.

    Dioxin Exposure Cancer Risk

    It has been recognized for a considerable number of years that a possible association exists between the consumption of animal fat foods and certain cancers. When the contamination of animal fats with dioxins and certain other persistent hydrocarbon pollutants, which have been designated as known human carcinogens, is taken into account, it becomes clear that part of the cancer risk imposed by fat consumption can be attributed to these contaminants.

    Residents of the Seveso region of Italy were exposed to high levels of dioxins as the result of an explosion at a chemical factory. A statistically significant association between dioxin levels in blood serum and breast cancer incidence was reported in "Serum Dioxin Concentrations and Breast Cancer Risk in the Seveso Women's Health Study". (Warner, 2002)

    According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, over 90 percent of the American public's exposure to dioxins comes from the consumption of foods containing milk fat, fish fat, tallow and other animal fats. Particulates, upon which are adsorbed dioxins and dioxin-like compounds, deposit from the polluted atmosphere onto animal feed crops such as pasture grass and corn. Entry into the aquatic food chains occurs via contamination of surface waters. The average American's dioxin exposure thus takes place at lower levels of food contamination than that which existed in the Seveso Women's Health Study. Nevertheless, the association demonstrated by this research should be taken into account for the purpose of determining a precautionary approach in so far as breast cancer prevention is concerned. Women need to significantly lower their intake of animal fat foods as a breast cancer preventive measure.

    The United States Environmental Protection Agency has upgraded the cancer risk of dioxin exposure via consumption of dairy foods, beef and fish substantially. In June of 2000, a first draft section of the Agency's dioxin reassessment, "Part III: Integrated Summary and Risk Characterization for 2,3,7,8-Tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD) and Related Compounds", set forth the research basis for this change. (US EPA, 2003) Dioxins' carcinogenic effects have been studied extensively in several exposed groups: workers who
    manufactured or applied dioxin contaminated pesticides, including pentachlorophenol, and 2,4,5-T (Becher, 1998); victims of an industrial accident in Seveso, Italy, which released kilogram amounts of dioxin; and US Air Force personnel engaged in Project Ranch Hand, the spraying of Agent Orange during the Vietnam War.

    Utilizing data from the epidemiologic studies (Hamburg herbicide factory cohort) in which highest dioxin sensitivity was demonstrated, people who consume animal fat at a rate which confers an intake of 3.8 pg dioxin TEQ/kg body weight/day have an approximately 2 in 100 excess risk of developing cancer due to the dioxin contaminant exposure. A person weighing 130 pounds and drinking 2 quarts of whole milk per day receives on average such a dose of dioxin TEQ from the contaminants present in the milk fat.

    Animal studies have demonstrated that a relation exists between gestational dioxin exposure and increased breast cancer susceptibility in female offspring. (Fenton, 2002 and Jenkins, 2007) A study published in 2008 reported delayed initiation of breast development in girls with higher prenatal dioxin exposure. (Leijs, 2008) These research results provide a plausible explanation of the breast cancer cases, which have been diagnosed among American girls during the 2000s.

    For access to the government agency reports that focus on these matters please see the documents described below.

    New York State Comprehensive Cancer Control Plan

    The New York State Comprehensive Cancer Control Plan (NYS CCCP) sets forth a number of goals designed to lead New York State forward on the path of reducing cancer burden on a science based footing. Goal Number Two of the NYS CCCP addresses reducing exposure to cancer causing chemicals and agents in the environment. During the past several years increasing attention has been given to pollutant carcinogen exposure reduction. Earlier environmental exposure reduction efforts focused on second hand cigarette smoke, radon and the ionizing radiation of sunlight.

    http://www.health.state.ny.us/nysdoh/cancer/cancer_control/2003/ccp_2003_health_promo_disease_prev.htm#environmental

    Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry Public Health Statement on Dioxins

    The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) publishes a series of Toxicological Profiles. A Toxicological Profile for dioxins was published in 1998. The ATSDR website currently makes available a Public Health Statement on Dioxins, which was created as a central message of the Toxicological Profile. The Public Health Statement on Dioxins explains how dioxin exposure takes place and sets forth a science based recommendation for reducing dioxin exposure that being to reduce consumption of animal fat containing foods. However, this document lacks state of knowledge science on dioxin exposure cancer risk, much of which has been published since the period covered in the Profile.

    http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/toxprofiles/phs104.html

    US EPA Dioxin Reassessment

    The US EPA Dioxin Reassessment is a highly detailed compilation of dioxin exposure and adverse health effects science. Part III of the dioxin reassessment provides a mathematical determination of dioxin exposure cancer risk. Utilizing the US EPA's cancer risk slope factor it is possible to calculate approximate population level cancer risk for dioxin exposure. For the US population of 308 million, dioxin exposure will cause approximately 308,000 cancer deaths in 70 years.

    http://cfpub.epa.gov/ncea/cfm/recordisplay.cfm?deid=55265&CFID=9463478&CFTOKEN=47347279&jsessionid=5a30f3aa404da1ec29517c2fe4e1a6d33774

    Institute of Medicine Report, "Dioxins and Dioxin-Like Compounds in the Food Supply: Strategies to Decrease Exposure"

    The Institute of Medicine of the National Academies published the report titled, "Dioxins and Dioxin-Like Compounds in the Food Supply: Strategies to Decrease Exposure" in 2003. This report presents several strategies for reducing dioxin exposure. A key recommendation is that girls and women of child-bearing age reduce consumption of animal fat containing foods so as to reduce their dioxin exposure. This group was given particular attention due to the health damaging effects imposed by gestational exposure.

    http://books.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=10763

    References:

    Becher, et al. Quantitative Cancer Risk Assessment for Dioxins Using an Occupational Cohort, Environmental Health Perspectives Supplements Volume 106, Number S2, April 1998

    Fenton, et al. Persistent Abnormalities in the Rat Mammary Gland following Gestational and Lactational Exposure to 2,3,7,8-Tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD),Toxicological Sciences 67, 63-74 (2002)

    Jenkins, et al. Prenatal TCDD exposure predisposes for mammary cancer in rats. Reprod Toxicol. 2007 Apr-May;23(3):391-6. Epub 2006 Nov 10

    Leijs, et al. Delayed initiation of breast development in girls with higher prenatal dioxin exposure; a longitudinal cohort study, Chemosphere, Vol. 73, Issue 6, October 2008, Pages 999-1004

    US EPA. Exposure and Human Health Reassessment of 2,3,7,8-Tetrachlorodibenzo-p-Dioxin (TCDD) and Related Compounds, 2004

    Warner, et al. Serum Dioxin Concentrations and Breast Cancer Risk in the Seveso Women’s Health Study; Environmental Health Perspectives, V 110: No 7, pp 625-628, July 2002

    May 17, 2010 at 18:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Kate Lynch

    Thank you for publishing this. My lifestyle will change and benefit immediately. It's a sin that government regulates so many things that cannot kill us but fails to regulate radon levels, or even to educate the public as to it's existence.

    May 20, 2010 at 20:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Kate Lynch

    Thank you for publishing this. My lifestyle will change and benefit immediately. It's a sin that government regulates so many things that cannot kill us but fails to regulate radon levels, or even to educate the public as to its existence.

    May 20, 2010 at 20:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Mary

    For a very long time, I could have said that cancer didn't affect me much. I had one friend in college who had Hodgkin's, but he recovered quickly. But recently, I have been slammed with people – a good friend, my best friend's mom AND aunt, co-worker's wife, younger brother of a friend from high school.

    Smoking might be an obvious risk, but none of them smoke and none have lung cancer. We need to start paying more attention to the other risks around us.

    May 24, 2010 at 11:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. DrTom

    Nuclear reactors are the biggest CANCER causing agent on earth. Invisible highly radioactive cancer causing nuclear radiation is released regularly by the 104 nuclear reactors in the country every day. Kennedy banned above ground nuclear bomb testing after figuring out it was dumb because of radiation. Then underground testing resulted in ground water being contaminated with cancer causing nuclear radiation.Then switched to underwater nuclear testing wich resulted in radioactive ocean's. When will humans ever learn ? Vermont reactor leaking as we speak into CT river. Indian Pointe NY leaking into the Hudson river for years. CANCER rates off the charts. Nuclear radiation remains highly radioactive and cancer causing for hundreds of thousands of years. Very sad. But they / OIL,GAS,NUCLEAR ENERGY BILLIONAIRES keep making their billions and thats all that really matters.

    June 5, 2010 at 20:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. R. Ernest Cohn MD, NMD, DC, FACO

    People have no idea just how serious this is. We are one of the oldest integrative clinic in the USA seeing these types of cancers. We have seen these things as problems for 30 years and the ONLY way to resolve these cancers is to eliminate these toxins from your life and do what is necessary to reverse the effects. More chemicals in the form of chemotherapy will not resolve the cancers. We have seen the majority of our patients improve and live longer and healthier lives by making the changes needed. DON'T be fooled by big business. These are toxic and they will cause disease and kill you. The solution is finding a physcian who can help you get healthy.

    June 8, 2010 at 19:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Guest

    Starbuck, you're not the brightest crayon in the box are you? Sure, some of the chemicals are natural occurences, but so is carbon monoxide. Would you lock yourself in an airtight box and be shocked when you suffocate? Of course not. These chemicals are being produced ten times, maybe more, by household chemicals, and other environmental factors than what would occur as a human byproduct. It's not the chemical itself that's the problem, it's the QUANTITY.

    And as an after thought. My mother passed away in October from Acute Myeloma Luekemia as a result of over exposure to Benezine. Read up on it before you start ranting.

    June 11, 2010 at 19:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. B SCOTT

    Radiation Hormesis and Life–Mild Radiation Stress Makes You Stronger (May 25, 2010 presentation available via the web):

    http://dspace.lrri.org:8080/xmlui/handle/123456789/891

    Residential radon may reduce your risk of cancer. CT scans may reduce your risk of cancer. Residential radon and CT may together reduce your risk of smoking-related cancer. These topics are discussed in the above presentation sponsored by the International Dose-Response Society and Loevlace Respiratory Research Institute.

    June 17, 2010 at 13:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. AM Coffee

    Overreacting to the issue of environmental toxins may prove to be just as damaging as underestimating them, unfortunately the line separating the two seems broad and hazy. Our city is embroiled in exactly such a situation which, by chance, I’ve found myself at the heart of. We are the proud citizen owners of a very cool community built park that includes an amphitheater, playground, skate park, picnic and recreation area. It really is a centerpiece of our neighborhood and one that portrays our history, our spirit, and collective involvement. Also unfortunately it’s recently come to light that the wood used to build it was pressure treated with an agent called CCA, an abbreviation for Chromated Copper Arsenate, “arsenate” being another name for arsenic. This material has been banned for use in playgrounds and residential applications since 2003 due to its well known proclivity for leaching into the soil and for transferring to children who play on it. That CCA and the arsenic it’s made of is dangerous is beyond question, but that’s the only answered question. At what level of exposure is CCA’s hazzard unacceptable? How much illness has this material already imposed upon our kids and community, how much illness from it does our future hold? What should we do about our park – where will the funds come from to do it? How many other parks and playgrounds are made from CCA treated wood? How does the interaction between CCA and other chemicals tally up? How much arsenic from this facility is getting into our ground water? What immediate steps should be taken to protect our kids? These are but a few of the questions we confront for which there are no clear answers. At this point we’re accessing whatever resources we can just to ascertain the scope of the problem, we have yet to confront the solution needed to address it. In the meantime we live with the unknown, the uncertainty. What we’ve all viewed as being a community gem threatens to get downgraded to a toxic waste site. Yet so long as the questions remain should we close the park down? Obesity and lack of exercise are very real hazzards too and this park inspires physical activity which directly counters those dangers. So when and how loudly do we sound the alarm? Where does the line get drawn between toxicity and panic? In many regards it seems the issue of environmental toxins is but a slippery slope.

    August 8, 2010 at 15:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. Jim Daniels

    When it comes to snoozing, all I need is a fine mattress and I'm good to go!

    November 4, 2010 at 17:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Adolfo Vranich

    Nice commentary. Last Month I found this site and wanted to let you know that I have been gratified, going through your site’s pages. I shall be signing up to your RSS feed and might wait for your next post. Best Regards, Mony

    January 25, 2011 at 15:07 | Report abuse | Reply
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