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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 (198 Responses)
  1. Starbuck

    Gee, let's outlaw life and therefore we won't have to worry about this. These physicians are nutcakes, those who think every potential compound in the world will cause cancer. How about the medical problems caused by the resulting laws and regulations these demogods put on people in the attempt to save people from getting cancer. The above panelists should realize that stress kills and has much more effect on cancer than anything proposed above.

    Are these doctors so dumb that they don't realize that formaldehyde is a natural emission of people when they breathe. Yes it is a natural compound as is radon so next let's outlaw oxygen. What idiots and you the taxpayer pays for these quacks.

    May 6, 2010 at 09:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Aleksandr Belov

    Could be cancer is a product of immune system battle?
    The modern world use a lot of chemicals which can be hidden allergy for body. This hidden allergy keep immune system under stress even people don't know about. After a years of this immune system battle the body starts produce a cancer.
    The simple thing to prevent cancer is identify if immune system under stress or not and use anti-allergy medication.

    May 6, 2010 at 09:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Jeannie Caicedo

    My mother has lung cancer. Three years ago she had nothing in her lungs. She's worked as a hairstylist all of her life, and recently (past 2 years) there has been a huge increase in the use of a product to straighted hair called "The Brazilian method". After my mom started reporting a feeling of nauseousness and just total body discomfort everytime someone in the salon used this product I decided to look into the ingredients. It contains formaldehyde....and anyone who is familiar with a salon setting will tell you that there isn't good ventilation. I believe this is why my mother is sick. I really hope someone starts regulating this before many women (hairstylists) begin to get sick. To me this industry already treats their workers unfairly (no health insurance, etc.),and know it's become a health hazard!

    May 6, 2010 at 09:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Terry

    Well, thanks to Corporate America, we are all doomed. Can we remove all of the Interstate Highway System and return the land to Organic Farming?

    May 6, 2010 at 09:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Neena

    Many years ago was told about formaldehyde in household furnishings, wash new clothing before wearing, etc., and to keep
    pathoes plants in all rooms – plant absorbs air impuritie and
    gives off oxygen. Switched to pyrex verses plastic containers and buying a radon detector today!
    Hope foregoing is helpful.

    May 6, 2010 at 09:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Steve

    Finally, we're becoming more aware of the things that affect our health in this society. Recognizing the effects of environmental hazards is but one step to truly addressing runaway health care costs. If we can also focus equally on leading healthier lives through better eating, exercise, stress reduction, and personal habits, we can really tackle our health care crisis. This report is a great start to helping us get there.

    May 6, 2010 at 09:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Bradley Arbogast

    As I was reading this article I could not help but think that the President's cancer panel may be missing the point. If exposure to carcinogens were the problem then everyone would have the same cancer rate throughout their lifespan. But they don't. Cancers become more prevalent as people age. I have been investigating the biological changes which occur with aging and are responsible for not just the increase in cancers but the increase in cardiovascular disease as well. It appears that a single hormone is responsible for the increase in disease as we age. By increasing this hormone, which is safe and natural (but not any of the ones tried thus far) we may be able to reduce the risk of cancer and possibly all of the diseases of aging.

    May 6, 2010 at 09:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Ron Kossow

    Despite all of the environmental hazards smoking is by far and away the biggest hazard to one's health. It is simply not possible to eliminate all potential carcinogens from our lives. We all live in dwellings that contain plywood, carpet, toiletries, etc. Trace amounts of radon are found in everyone's basement. Likewise, everyone has some exposure to exhaust from automobiles. One can greatly reduce their cancer risk by not smoking, eating a well balanced diet, and maintaining a healthy weight.

    May 6, 2010 at 09:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Neena

    As an ingredients reader, when a brand name hand dish detergent came on the market many years ago it listed formaldehye as an
    ingredients, and I called their customer service live telling them
    would not use the product b/c of the formaldehyde "what was
    purpose". A year later formaldehyde was not listed on label.
    Sure hope it was truth in advertising...

    May 6, 2010 at 09:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. willy

    i'm not a doctor, but don't our bodies constantly have foreign matter that it's battling, including cancer cells? i thought cancer starts by the cells mutating rapidly. this can be hindered thru better diet and lifestyle but in my opinon, even the healthiest people can get cancer. the good thing is we have come so far, over the past 30+ years in treating it, and allowing people to go on with their lives. years ago when people got cancer, they died. try to stay positive eat well and take care...

    May 6, 2010 at 09:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. john

    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!!

    May 6, 2010 at 09:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Juan Ayala

    The FDA has failed at regulating and verifying the safety of everything that is used in consumer products today. I truly believe that the FDA the food industry and pharmacudical companies are only concerned with making profits by using cheap and unsafe chemicals in everything we use and consume everyday. The only proof the FDA has that these chemicals are safe are the lab tests that are paid for by the companies that want these chemicals approved. It isnt until people get sick that the FDA realizes that certain ingredients and chemicals are harmful.

    May 6, 2010 at 09:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. eric

    The problem with this discussion is they warn of that these potentially toxic chemicals (xenobiotics) can be mutagenic (e.g. cause mutations in DNA that can contribute to the formation of cancerous cells) but they don't explain that the risk of mutagenicity is highly dependent on the amount of xenobiotics you are exposed to (dose), as well as your body's capacity to absorb, distribute and get rid of the xenobiotic. The body has a very complex and efficient system that can recognize, neutralize and excrete xenobiotics, and generally, only when the dose has exceeded the bodies capacity to neutralize these them can they become potentially dangerous. There is also data that suggests that low level exposure to xenobiotics can heighten this system's capacity to deal with xenobiotics and therefore better protect us from acute higher level doses. It is also important to note that the likelihood of gaining a mutation from an exposure is dependent on the length of exposure as well as the dose. So a short exposure is much less likely to cause a mutation than a chronic exposure. The take home point is you do need to think about what you are potentially being exposed to but you need to consider it in the context of the dose and rate of exposure.

    May 6, 2010 at 09:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Ricefarmer

    A hundred years ago, a lot fewer folks lived to be my age. Very few reached a hundred (today we have 111,000 centurians alive in the USA). My longer live can be attributed to the plastic in my motocycle helmet, the solvents and chemicals used to develop and produce modern medicine, the nuclear weapon that kept my father from having to die on a Japanese beach during an invasion..... Funny how the things that save you can also kill you.

    May 6, 2010 at 09:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. kentuckienne

    Starbuck: we exhale carbon dioxide, too, but that doesn't mean we should go around inhaling enormous clouds of it. Just because something is "natural" doesn't mean it isn't harmful - lead, cyanide and arsenic are all natural compounds, too.

    May 6, 2010 at 10:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. bts8q

    Starbuck wrote:

    "The above panelists should realize that stress kills and has much more effect on cancer than anything proposed above...Are these doctors so dumb that they don't realize that formaldehyde is a natural emission of people when they breathe. Yes it is a natural compound as is radon so next let's outlaw oxygen."

    Just wow. I have never seen such a display for awhile. First, studies are done based on empirical evidence...both in animals and observational, longitudinal studies in humans. Go to pubmed.com and search "radon; cancer."

    Though low levels of a given compound may be harmless, high and chronic exposure is toxic; for an example that you can understand, take alcohol, drugs...or water. Drink too much water and you will die...it does happen...look it up.

    Please do some research before posting–after all, you are in front of a computer!

    May 6, 2010 at 10:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Valerie

    I am fighting cancer for the fourth time in three years. I am in a clinical trial because existing chemo doesn't work. I believe that my immune system has been compromised by continuous exposure to all those listed as well as chlorine and flouride (other countries do not allow this in their water because of the risk but we place a higher value on teeth than life). Listen to this article. Protect your children. I am trying to. Even if you just implement a few changes it could make a big difference. It could be the difference between life and death.

    May 6, 2010 at 10:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Dee

    Starbuck, you are an idiot. Carbon dioxide is ALSO a natural emission of people when they breathe. And, as we all know, it is having a detrimental effect on our environment. Just because something occurs naturally on our planet doesn't mean it's harmless. Just look at the oil slick – which we drilled out of the Earth – that is approaching our shores. We need to find better, healthier ways to produce our products, and we need to realize that our health is more important than the allmighty dollar.

    May 6, 2010 at 10:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Tom

    Farm chemicals are regulated far more than most of the chemicals that people come into contact with everyday as if the farm chemicals posed a greater risk to everybody's health than all these unregulated chemicals for which I think the average person comes into more contact with on a daily basis. I'm not against farm chemical regulation but people have a distorted sense of the danger of such chemicals in relationship to more of their daily exposure to hazardous materials that they don't even know they are being exposed to that don't have anywhere near the same oversight.

    May 6, 2010 at 10:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Elle

    Starbuck, you make me wish I was a Republican. Then I could ignore everything that makes me unhappy, too. Taxpayer stress, my a**.

    May 6, 2010 at 10:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Lorenzo

    The most dangerous cancer risk? Ignorance. All Americans should be happy that efforts are being made toward a healthier and more responsible society.

    May 6, 2010 at 10:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. FK from Los Angles, CA

    Thank you, CNN, for reporting on this issue. It's amazing how many Americans are sick or dying from these "accepted" household products. It will be interesting to see how many follow ups you will do on this story. Will you give it as much prominence as Tiger Woods gets or will this be a one-off like most major stories that effect public health.

    May 6, 2010 at 10:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Meghan

    I've been saying this for years. As far as "natural" occuring compound, when it is put into a chemical it is no longer "natural" and thus becomes a greater compound than it was in its "natural" setting. So, yes, all of these "quacks" are trying to regulate "natural" occuring compounds once they combine with other chemicals that ultimately can be harmful to us. I've known too many people this year who have succumbed to this epidemic and it's about time someone recognizes other possible causes, i.e., environmental, food, water.

    May 6, 2010 at 10:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Mendrys

    Funny how common sense advice to limit exposure to formaldehyde, benzene and radon and to look for ways to minimize exposure to pesticides and radiation is seen as a dumb thing by come people. I'm sure starbuck has done lots of research on the effects of these compounds. Yes formaldehyde and radon are naturally occuring but so is arsenic, lead and deadly nightshade. I guess if we ban a naturally occuring substance such as lead in children's toys then we would outlaw oxygen as well since it too is naturally occuring.

    May 6, 2010 at 10:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. jdunc

    Starbuck reminds me of the idiots worked with in a factory who weren't afraid of anything! Ripping out asbestos? Real men don't need a mask! Smoke unfiltered cigarettes- real men don't need filters! Beer and alcohol cure most problems! You know, we all will die of something, but why not eliminate as many causes as possible? Plus, with natural products we can eliminate the use of many toxic chemicals and reduce our dependence on oil, the source of many of our chemicals. It is ok to be educated about our environmental pollutants- why not read up on poisons to protect our children and ourselves.

    May 6, 2010 at 10:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. alumette

    Of course we live in a highly carcinogenic world. It is impossible to live in a cocoon so as we try to be careful we need to embrace life to the max and appreciate every minute of it as we make the supreme effort not to destroy the environment. It sustains us. A comfortable balance is needed. We don't have that. Too many pesticides, herbicides and toxic chemicals everywhere...the poison in the Gulf of Mexico...etc...etc...

    May 6, 2010 at 10:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Dawn

    My daughter was diagnosed with a rare childhood cancer when she was 7 months old after months of misdiagnosis. I did not smoke, drink, work with chemicals, or any other thing considered harmful. However, she was born with this disease. All of the pollution in the air and water, the chemicals in foods, cleaning products and pesticides. All of these things are present in our lives and we see the cancer rate, especially among children, grow. A lot of chemicals cause gene mutations, some of which are the cause of cancer. According to Candlelighter's, a Children's Cancer Organization, cancer is the #1 leading cause of death among children. One in 330 children will develop cancer by their 20th birthday! Those statistics are unreal. We really need to look at the chemicals we are putting into our environment and consider the potential risks they are causing for our children. My daughter is now a 8.5 year cancer survivor, and she will be celebrating her 10th birthday next Tuesday. I am thankful that we came through it... many children did not. We need this information out there so that parents and society can raise their children in healthy environments.

    May 6, 2010 at 10:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Tino

    @ Starbuck: Your comment is so bad and negative. You call people dumb and nutcakes. May be you want to go to your car, remove the tank cap and take a deep breath?

    May 6, 2010 at 10:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Jessica

    Starbuck, I love people like you. There's nothing in the middle, just cliffs to fall off when you read something that doesnt make sense to you because you want to believe everything in life is ok. When you get cancer, and you will, im certain you'll be singing a different tune. True, stress is very harmful, but its not stress alone thats causes the problems. Have you considered that perhaps stress is the trigger that simply reacts from all your chemical exposures? Remove the chemicals, maybe that stress isnt quite as deadly as you think. I know for my partner who has MS, thats exactly the case. You cant eliminate stress 100% its entirely impossible, but you can eliminate bad foods from your diet and eliminate exposure to chemicals...and when we have done that, her health – despite other stresses in her life (like work) not changing...her health "magically" does. But make no mistake, STRESS is the trigger for her losing vision or loss of feeling in limbs. Its just not the cause.

    May 6, 2010 at 10:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. alumette

    To valerie: Chlorine and fluoride are very helpful. That's not what gave you your cancer. It goes way deeper than that on many levels....heredity...diet ...general health.....etc...exposure to toxic chemicals other than your pool and drinking water.

    May 6, 2010 at 10:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. alumette

    To Jessica. You are wrong to be so sure Starbucks will get cancer. Plenty people do not. It is not an absolute.

    May 6, 2010 at 10:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Frank Barrett

    Cancer Risk??? What about all the Marines and their families who have been stricken with cancer and other diseases as a result of drinking contaminated water at Camp Lejeune?? I was one of them and I am truly at a loss at how little attention this is getting!

    Semper Fidelis

    May 6, 2010 at 10:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Stan

    Don't any of these busybodies ever wonder why, as the proliferation of these terribly dangerous, evil chemicals continues to spread across the land, that our lifespans continue to increase, and the incidence of degenerative diseases, including cancer, continues to DEcrease?

    Definitely, let's get back to a simpler time before our environment was polluted with all these symbols of "corporate greed," and people were lucky to live past 68.

    May 6, 2010 at 10:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Li Tai Fang

    Being naturally occurring doesn't mean anything.
    Uranium and plutonium are also naturally occurring. That doesn't mean the government doesn't or shouldn't regulate its use.

    May 6, 2010 at 10:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Peter McBride

    The sodium benzoate that is used as a preservative in hot sauces, sodas, etc. I understand converts into a benzene form when it is subjected to certain acids (such as citric acid in some sodas). Would even a small amount of benzene such as this be of concern?

    May 6, 2010 at 10:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Gail

    The posted comments make it apparent that awareness of environmental hazards is all too rare except among the bright and thoughtful. It's discouraging that so many people are all too willing to sneer at physicians and scientists as quacks who are out to deprive us all of everything!
    The report is particularly helpful in its apparent clarity and readiness to be narrowed down to concrete problems and suggestions. Now, a bit more regulation would be helpful since such a large part of our population doesn't seem able to help itself.

    May 6, 2010 at 10:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Jim in Dallas

    I really question the motives of the Cancer Panel comprised of doctors. Are they being self-serving in their tireless attempts to extend life beyond reasonable limits. Are their interests in extending life to benefit the person whose life continues, or is it to benefit the doctor who continues to treat them as a patient regardless of how worn out they are? Frankly, I believe it is the latter in many cases as the doctor does not want the golden goose to die and thus end their medical services.

    May 6, 2010 at 10:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Pete

    Benzene is used to clean machinery – so all processed foods could be contaminated going through the system..... makes you re-think those potatoe chips. A BIG issue not mentioned it the coating in cans for soups, etc. Big problem there.

    May 6, 2010 at 10:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Li Tai Fang

    Maybe Starbuck rather lives in China, where they don't enforce environmental regulations:
    http://chinaview.wordpress.com/2007/01/18/polluted-water-made-china-cancer-villages-pay-price/

    May 6, 2010 at 10:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. Justin

    You know, I read one report saying that non-organic food is just as healthy for you as the organically grown food. Now they say the non-organic food gives you cancer.

    Apparently, everything gives you cancer these days.

    May 6, 2010 at 10:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. Travis M. Nelson

    "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."

    I don't mind being encouraged to avoid things that risk my (or my family's) health, but it would be nice if they could actually demonstrate that those things actually were, you know, risks.

    May 6, 2010 at 10:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. James Monaco

    HEY GUYZ FORMALDEHYDE EXISTS IN TRACE AMOUNTS NATURALLY THEREFORE IT IS HARMLESS

    ALSO CYANIDE EXISTS NATURALLY IN APPLE SEEDS SO GO AHEAD AND GIVE YOUR KIDS CYANIDE PILLS IT'S NATURAL AND GOOD FOR THEM

    LITERALLY EVERYTHING THAT EXISTS NATURALLY MUST THEREFORE BE HARMLESS NO MATTER WHERE IT IS AN IN WHAT CONCENTRATION

    THAT IS WHY I EAT URANIUM ORE EVERYDAY SINCE IT EXISTS IN NATURE AND THEREFORE MUST BE HARMLESS

    THIS MESSAGE BROUGHT TO YOU BY EVERY REPUBLICAN WHO OPENS THEIR MOUTH ABOUT ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY

    May 6, 2010 at 10:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Ron

    @starbuck...you are an idiot. You certainly don't strike me as a scientist. Go back to your log cabin in the woods and leave educated society alone!

    May 6, 2010 at 10:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. alumette

    Maybe we approach our responses to the multiple forms of cancer the wrong way. It appears to be here to stay. Yes there are mutations and yes many variables but perhaps we should accept cancer as part of our hurdles or dormant guest? Strange term? We attempt to eradicate cancer by destroying immune systems, that is the general consensus and often times, people die from the outcome of the "treatments" and not the cancer. Right now we see this huge wave of people willing to mutilate themselves simply because they have a specific mutation. I see it as panic and emotional response. We are in an up-slope in population explosion and perhaps nature is attempting to communicate with us. We need less people on the planet and dying is a natural course in life so why fight for a dubious longevity when it is "our" time to move on? Please do not take it as "preaching". I am only expressing my personal opinion.

    May 6, 2010 at 10:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. dl

    what about all the chemicals people insist on spraying on their yards to kill dandylions...only to impress their neighborns or keep up the neighborhood look. . . .please stop doing so for everyone's sake!!!

    May 6, 2010 at 10:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. Warren

    re Starbuck: Arsenic is a "natural" compound found in nature, too, but that doesn't mean we should go around bathing in it. There's a difference between the pre-industrial minimal levels of exposure to chemicals that exist in minute and diffuse amounts in the natural environment, and exposure to highly-concentrated, continuous levels of the same chemicals in industrial and post-industrial cities.

    May 6, 2010 at 10:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. Shantan Reddy

    I am an oncologist – and looking at this – this cancer panel is either dumb or in the pocket books of the tobacco industry. Are u people blind or is it because Mr.President smokes and you do not want to upset him. Thank you CNN for upsetting me this morning. Thank you mr.president for the health care reform (sarcasm) which did not address tobacco – you did not even increase the tax on tobacco. Thank you for wasting my tax payer money on people who continue to smoke despite doctors telling them to stop. I guarantee you that our health care costs will drop by 50% if you ban smoking – which will never happen becasue ALL the politicians are in the tobacco lobbyists pockets. smoking causes cancer (lung, head and neck, bladder, colon, rectal, anal, head and neck, linked to pancreatic cancer) , heart disease, emphysema – which are the top 3 causes of death in the US. IS EVERYONE CRAZY? Name one benefit of tobacco ? Make all those people who do not quit smoking in the next 2 years pay for their own health care – even better BAN smoking – heroin kills less people than tobacco but it is legal – why isn't tobacco?

    May 6, 2010 at 11:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. Ervin

    Ok,,,this is kind of evil, but its interesting to note that those who constantly run out to buy the new stuff, who fill their homes with shiney new products reveling in their priviledge, who never open their windows and only know winter from summer by which appliance is conditioning their air, who over stock their homes with corporate food, they are poisoning themselves.

    I always suspected something of the sort, now there seems to be evidence!

    May 6, 2010 at 11:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. MJ

    Starbuck, you seem to be arguing that the panel shouldn't bother mentioning things like radon and formaldehyde because they're naturally occurring substances. What difference does that make? Arsenic and mercury and lead are naturally occurring substances too, but I bet you'd still be willing to make some effort to avoid ingesting them.

    The article didn't mention any efforts to outlaw these substances - just recommendations that people try to limit their exposure to them. That seems like good advice, no?

    May 6, 2010 at 11:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. jo an

    Rachel Carlson warned us a half century ago...We didn't believe her. Why is it difficult to believe that the chemicals in our cleaning products, our dry cleaners and yes our water and our food are killing us? Corporate America can convince us that anything is good for us...and if they make it cheap enough and put a jingle with it and put it on television, we buy it. We are the dumb ones. It takes effort to find out what is good for our family.

    May 6, 2010 at 11:07 | Report abuse | Reply
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