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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. beth

    This is useful information, but a lot of it is beyone our control. It's really up to industry to stop using these chemicals and switch to safer ones. Good luck trying to convince them to do that. All they seem to care about is money. Case in point--BP.

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

    To much exposure to anything causes cancer. By now we should all be sufficiently scared of day to day life. Relax!

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

    Oh, also the ideally manicured yards, trimmed and groomed by exahuast belching machines, any unwanted life poisoned away, yep, they are killing themselves. And, unfortunately, perhaps their children and their neighbors. Jeeze!

    May 6, 2010 at 11:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Memphis

    Heck with it..let's all smoke, drink, eat and be merry. Sounds like we are all going to get cancer anyway...

    May 6, 2010 at 11:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Shantan Reddy

    Also just to add how much money we are spending on cancer care – for example – a drug by the name of tarceva is used in pancreatic cancer costs 30K -but only prolongs life by 11 days – I do not use this drug in my practice but many do. All the drug companies out there are very happy that we are bringing 30 million people (who need health care – which i advocate) into their pocket book. There should be regulation of the drug industry as to how much they can charge for their drugs. This was not addressed in the health care reform – i wonder why -could it be the lobbyists?

    May 6, 2010 at 11:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. fireybuddha

    Read Anti-Cancer by David Serven-Shreiber, MD, PhD. He says the same things. They seem radical, but if our regulatory systems are consistently stacked w/former corporate honchos who protect the bottom line of the companies instead of the consumer, then – yeah, we have to be diligent.

    To Mr. Nelson – why don't you, you know, actually do research yourself if you're so concerned about protecting your family? Your attitude seems to permeate much American thinking, which makes us lazy, unhealthy and victims.

    May 6, 2010 at 11:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. john hammarley

    “As long as society has been able to identify and diagnose cancer, we’ve tried to find the definitive answers about what causes this disease. It’s a tough issue and the answers are not clear-cut,” said Elizabeth Thompson, senior vice president of Medical and Scientific Affairs for Susan G. Komen for the Cure. “We welcome this effort by the President’s Cancer Panel – we need all hands on deck.”

    May 6, 2010 at 11:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. John

    @Starbuck

    I am sure you have breathed too much formaldehyde... but I assure you that it is NOT one of humans expirator compounds

    May 6, 2010 at 11:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. alumette

    To Jim in Dallas. If we were to eliminate the cancer research institutions, the "treatments", the surgical interventions and the huge proliferation of cancer related items, our economy would surely collapse. As cancer kills some of us, it also sustains the rest of us. Food for thoughts.

    May 6, 2010 at 11:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Matt

    See, this is why we need big government to stay out of our lives! Now our profitable, job creating enterprises won't be able to use the products anymore that make their businesses run. They will go out of business and many more jobs will be lost. Let the companies decide what is good or bad for us!

    May 6, 2010 at 11:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. frank

    So then who will be looking out for you john? The corporations? Ask Ford how much they valued human lives- not more than the $11 repair it would take to fix the Pinto's gas tank. 80,000 mostly unchecked chemicals are dumped into our systems and you don't think there can be health issues? People are too dumb or lazy to wonder what's in the products they are putting into their bodies. You guys go on eating your McDonalds and Cheez Whiz and don't complain when you get cancer. Darwinism at it's finest

    May 6, 2010 at 11:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Kaya

    The article is over-simplifying the cause of cancer. It is true that some children get cancer. It is true that some people may be more sensitive to chemicals that others. But for the most part cancers seem to be genetic and age related. Something doesn't work right, or something gets too old, and doesn't work right. If we look at everything in our life's we come across, we will find that that seemed to cause cancer in someone. This article makes you afraid to go outside or stay inside, it doesn't really do anything else.

    May 6, 2010 at 11:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Paracelsus

    All things are toxic. The dose determines which are poisons.

    May 6, 2010 at 11:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Justin

    OK Starbuck, by that logic, lets just bring back the asbestos. That was fun, right? What are we all worried about anyway? Silly physicians with all of their "facts" and "health" talk. Blah, Blah blah. So what if there might be perfectly viable and economic alternatives to these chemicals that do not cause cancer, lets just keep using what we have. Tradition trumps quality of life any day, right?

    Any chance you work for the formaldehyde council?

    May 6, 2010 at 11:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Jim t

    Mmmm, like that new car smell? Think outgassing plastics while you sit in traffic breathing exhaust being pumped in from outside by your air conditioning unit.

    May 6, 2010 at 11:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Intersting

    And to think if you get cancer you employer may not have insurance on you.

    http://money.cnn.com/2010/05/05/news/companies/dropping_benefits.fortune/index.htm

    Pretty interesting numbers. 2009 Medical Costs... Active Employees $2.4 Billion / Retirees $2.3 Billion / Total Company Cost 4.7 Billion.
    Penalty for No Coverage... Employees 283K / Annual Penalty per Employee $2K / Total Annual Penalty $0.6B now what do you think the business you work for will do? Pay $4.7B or $0.6B??

    May 6, 2010 at 11:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. joe

    any Doctor will tell you we all have cancer.. cells that divide incorrectly or are damaged are in all of us.. thus cancer.. but the healthy don't show signs or die because the immune system kills off these cells before they become dangerous.. its what you put in your body that boosts or hinders the immune system.. or what its exposed to..

    May 6, 2010 at 11:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Zebula

    Whoopdy-doo. Has anyone noticed the planet is overpopulated? All the various plagues and deadly weather events that have been thrown at us for eons have not even put a dent in our exponential multiplication as a species. Mother Nature keeps trying and we keep resisting. Some individuals may suffer and/or die, but as a species we keep on trucking.

    May 6, 2010 at 11:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Ed

    Watch "Know the Cause".
    This is a great show. It is on the Christian Network channel daily.
    And yes, it does cover what causes cancer. Among a lot of other diseases.

    May 6, 2010 at 11:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. The_Mick

    Starbuck wrote: "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."

    You don't have to name-call, especially when you're exposing your own ignorance at the same time! By your argument, we shouldn't have to worry about drowning because our bodies naturally contain water. And radon is a naturally occurring element, not a compound. So what? So are arsenic, mercury, and uranium. Actually, the only reason radon exists is because radium exists. Radon is the mostly the daughter of the alpha emission of a radium nucleus and has a half life of 3.823 days. The other isotopes have half lives ranging from 55.6 seconds to 3.96 seconds, so it's not "natural" for radon to be in our environment in any significant amount.

    May 6, 2010 at 11:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. John

    Why do people scoff at these warnings? I'm sitting here a stage 3 bowel cancer patient and wish I'd heeded warnings in the past about lifestyle and other factors. Perhaps I wouldn't contracted this disease.

    May 6, 2010 at 11:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Lyndsi

    We all need to control what we can. There are things you can do.
    We try to eat healthy and avoid harmful chemicals. If anyone is looking for a safe alternative, check out http://www.OBrienNonToxic.com.
    There are known cancer causing chemicals in a lot of the products we use on our skin every day, and they go directly into your bloodstream. Check out http://www.SafeCosmetics.org to learn more!

    May 6, 2010 at 11:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. FlyingGirl44

    To those who feel that government infantalizies you: No one is asking government to take care of you. You're being asked to take care of yourself by raising your level of awareness about how the enviroment impacts your health. Sometimes taking care of yourself involves mobilizing larger numbers of people to change behavior. Since "we the people" are the government, government can sometimes be useful to meeting worthwhile goals involving larger populations. You might consider this before going into a whinefest.

    May 6, 2010 at 11:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Starcrossed

    It's time for Starbuck to go back to school and get his/her facts straight.

    May 6, 2010 at 11:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. pflatman

    How's that hydrofluousilicic acid working out for everyone? Another wonderful additive in America's drinking water supply.

    May 6, 2010 at 11:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Jude

    Remember the old commercials (from Dupont, I believe) that promised "better living through chemistry." Don't think so. I also think of all the Vietnam Vets of my generation who died in droves of cancers linked to their exposure to Agent Orange and other chemical agents, so many of them died in their 40's and 50's. I wonder how many veterans of Bush's folly are going to die from the toxins found in our arsenals. As far as home exposure goes, I've long been concerned about all of the plastics we use–I try to use glass instead whenever possible.

    May 6, 2010 at 12:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Mark

    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.

    May 6, 2010 at 12:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Dave Mac

    With all these comments on here about how the government should stop controlling our lives...I agree. But, as a person who has battles Hodgkin's Disease and won 3 times, it's good to read information like this. It makes me more aware of what could possibly spark a reoccurrence and helps me to change my life style. I know the only real way to get rid of ALL the bad stuff in life is to live in a bubble! But, it still gives me more piece of mind knowing that I am trying to live a healthier life. And if I happen to have to battle this disease again, I know that I did all that I could to prolong my life.
    Now, with that being said, I’m nowhere near perfect either! If I had this amount of time and money to always eat right, exercise on a regular basis, read the ingredients to everything, check the air quality at home and work on a regular basis, and make sure you drink from healthy water bottles it would be great. And, do all that, plus work and not have any stress!!!! But reality is...a lot of the more healthier foods, fancy water bottles, and all other crap that they put out that is labeled "healthier" of "green" is ALOT more expensive. They don’t make it easier to be healthy by any means. There are a lot of things I would like to change in my life, but I just don’t have the money or time to do it. I do try my best and I think that has to account for something. I’ve been in remission for 6 1/2 years now and hope I never have to go thru that ever again.
    Even though I’m sure a crap-load of tax money is being spent on this research, I do appreciate the information they put out to try to help people like myself. I always look forward to these types of articles in hope that there is some useful information to help everyone move forward in the prevention of cancer.

    May 6, 2010 at 12:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. George Guadiane - Austerlitz, NY

    Starbuck:
    If ignorance is bliss, you must be one of the happiest people on the planet.
    As any number of enlightened/informed posts point out, there are almost innumerable naturally occurring elements and compounds in nature that can and will harm or kill you...
    There are also plenty of man made substances that can bring harm and death.
    You for instance clearly grew up in a household filled with lead paint and no parental oversight.

    May 6, 2010 at 12:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Holly LeGros

    Thank you President Obama's panel. These chemicals are very harmful as they collect in our bodies thru inhalation, ingestion etc.. The medical community is not equipped to get a perfect study w cause & effect for many reasons. We all have different genes w various impairments in metabolism to filter and detox these toxins. They store in our fat tissue often for many years. It is not just 1-2 exposures, it is how much, how often for how long added to our state of protective nutrition, appropriate diet/calories, lifestyle (exercise to sweat or smoking) and stress load( heat/cold, injuries, emotional state, lack of rest, overwork, family illness etc). You can't study this toxin-related cancer for all individuals, but predisposition of genes, nutrition and specific overexposure to toxins is what is involved. Plus, doctors can't treat toxicity with drugs because it is about prevention and detoxification thru exercise, sweat, proper foods and supplements, maybe even IV's and sauna. They don't make money off non-drug therapy.
    The clinical ecologists are the experts and they helped me immensely due to extreme black mold exposure from a tightened, mold infested and remodeled home. But, I was genetically impaired to detoxify many PAH's and petroleum-based solvents and fumes/gases prior to that. Many of my jobs played a role due to the toxic, fragrant hair products/dyes, car exhaust traveling, airplane fumes as 70'sflight attendant, toner perflourocarbons and solvents selling copiers along with moldy homes. It is about your total load and you must find out the culprits and change/clean up your home and workplace and test for voc's, mold, formeldahyde, radon to self-protect.
    My sister has multiple myeloma, a toxin-induced cancer that could have been prevented if she had known what she was exposing herself to by gardening in the toxin-laden New Jersey soil around pesticides/heavy metals. My mother was poisoned by pesticides as she kept spraying her home in Naples for bugs and lacked a good-working gene to filter these organophosphates. Doctors could not diagnose her as they NEVER look for chemicals; aren't trained to. You have to take charge of your health and protect yourself, your home, work, car and all air and water you inhale/ingest. No-one else will.

    May 6, 2010 at 12:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. EnviroDoc

    We are exposed to many of the chemicals they talk about because we are fed the better living through chemistry line without regard to health. Many cancers continue to climb and many of these are particularly sensitive to chemical exposure. BPA is easily avoidable, and should not be in any children's containers, on the other hand it is often hard to avoid radon as it tends to be where you live. Benzene and Formaldehyde are in many many things and would probably be more difficult to eliminate from our lives, but an example of the trend is in furniture where we have gone form handmade wooden furniture to almost everything mass produced of particle board, which only increases our exposure to these chemicals, with no reduction in sight. You don't have to stop living to follow some of these rules, you just have to think and be a little more discerning.

    May 6, 2010 at 12:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Sandra L

    This is the supporting evidence of what are some of the substances that are causing cancer.... Now, America what are you going to do about it? Please take a stand on your health!

    May 6, 2010 at 12:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Matt

    There are plenty of natural causes of various cancers like the sun and cosmic rays, all the way down to what we eat or whats in the air. But what about the stuff doctors do to us, like XRAYS, irradiated dye for your blood, and the plethora of pharmaceuticals with dangerous side effects and unknown long term effects? It's getting to be an epidemic, as almost everything humans do, consume, or live near has the potential to cause cancer. I'm not saying 'don't make us aware of the causes', but please fund research into better treatments and cures! We dropped the ball with stem-cell research, cell repairing nano robots, and all the other fantastic ideas that got swept under the proverbial carpet under Bush. I'd like to see Obama try to initiate some excitement into those fields, and get some proper funding for them. If you can't change all of society to get rid of cancer causing factors, at least go all out on finding out how to beat this nasty disease!

    May 6, 2010 at 12:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Bill

    It is impossible to eliminate the majority of carcinogens. Even if you eat organic foods those foods are exposed to rain that his polluted with airborne contaminants. However, if we have to the ability to reduce or eliminate a known carcinogen ( in particular synthetics) we should without question.
    I just love how the majority of human beings on this planet somehow think that they are separate from the environment...like they are the little darlings of the planet and the universe. When in reality we are all part of the global macroecosystem and anything we dump into it eventually works its way back into our own bodies.
    If they are really serious about reducing cancer then lets see them ban smoking and start putting the billions of dollars into determining the etiology of cancer rather than making Big Pharm richer from making a bunch of garbage ineffective drugs.

    May 6, 2010 at 12:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. cj

    You might want to include tricosline in the top 5. It is the antibacterial agent in everything from soap, to clothing to even toothpast. It breaks down to dioxin and chloroform. Many parents trying to keep their kids safe from bacteria are actually exposing them to an even greater health risk. It is amazing how much stuff can get clean with hot water, not even steam, friction, plain soap, vinegar and rubbing alcohol. A little bleach goes a long way. And what about sunshine. Our society has abolished the clothesline. But the sun's energy is free and it naturally bleaches.

    May 6, 2010 at 12:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Mendrys

    It's not a scare tactic to be informed about the chemicals you use in your everyday life. Our "chemical" life has indeed brought us benefits in the form of sanitation, economy and just good plain fun but that doesn't mean we should stop looking for better ways. We CAN remove BPA from plastics with little trouble. It was to our great benefit when leaded gasoline was outlawed and this is no different.

    If anything the scare tactics are used by the chemical companies themselves. They, along with the tobacco industry, have a long history of denying the harmful effects of their products in the name of profits. People are scared into slathering anti-microbials all over everything they touch where just a simple cleaning with hot, soapy water is nearly as effective in eliminating harmful germs.

    May 6, 2010 at 12:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. rich

    The California Air Resources Board's report published December 15, 2009 states:

    "Nearly all homes (98%) had formaldehyde concentrations that exceeded guidelines for cancer and chronic irritation..."

    Summary: http://www.arb.ca.gov/research/apr/past/04-310exec_sum.pdf
    Report: http://www.arb.ca.gov/research/apr/past/04-310.pdf
    Researcher's PowerPoint: http://iee-sf.com/resources/pdf/ResidentialVentilation.pdf

    Unintended Consequences: Formaldehyde Exposure in Green Homes. http://www.aihasynergist-digital.org/aihasynergist/201002?pg=32

    Here in CA the Energy Commission sets the code with little input and/or concern about the negative impact their regulations have on the occupants of the homes. Formaldehyde concentration in the 3 decades of the CEC have gone from difficult to detect to 14 ppb, to 29 ppb, to 50 ppb to 100 ppb. At the same time asthma in children under 5 has increased. Children under 5 spend the vast majority of their time in their home, so that is where the problem is.

    I have been in homes with sick occupants that had elevated formaldehyde. The formaldehyde was controlled using low cost techniques and the health of the occupants improved. Several parents report their children have been able to complete stop using inhalers and asthma medicines without having a single asthma attack.

    This article fails to mention two of the largest source of residential formaldehyde exposure. 1) Fiberglass wall insulation using a formaldehyde resin. Homes in S. CA had 50 ppb in the Fall with the biggest source being the exterior wall cavities. 2) Laminate flooring using formaldehyde resin. Other common sources not mentioned is MDF in the form of interior doors and molding.

    Also the article claims that the exposure is greatest when first installed. However, field test indicated that most material has reached is long-term equilbrium by the time material makes it to a job site. Formaldehyde continues to off gas forever, if it didn't the material would fall apart. A tract home built in the early 1960's carpet underlayment is still raising room air to 93 ppb during the summer.

    Where is the news coverage that the 'green' or 'energy efficiency' movement is actually making us sick? I'd be happy to provide data from experts in the field if contacted.

    May 6, 2010 at 12:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Paul Bergen

    So they point out the risk of formaldehyde, but, effectively, the FDA force feeds the stuff to us. Just look up Aspartame (the sweetener in nearly everything we buy) on Wikipedia or any other reputable source of information and you'll see it breaks down into formaldehyde, and nearly every study that wasn't funded by the makers concludes it causes cancer. Yet, the FDA approved it anyway and more importantly bans healthy, natural low calorie sweeteners, like the Steevia plant, which might have threatened the cancer-causing Aspartame business. And it's public knowledge the makers of Aspartame paid the head of the FDA a multi-million contract. Next time you're at the supermarket try to buy gum that does *NOT* contain Aspartame. You can't. So it seems hypocritical for the Federal government to call out the dangers of cancer-causing chemicals, like formaldehyde, when they're force feeding the stuff to us.

    May 6, 2010 at 12:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. dom625

    "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?"

    Whoa there fella! I smoke because I enjoy it. Yes, I know that I have a higher chance of getting cancer and dying early, but I enjoy cigarettes. Why am I ostracized when anyone who enjoys a few drinks each day is just fine? Why are my cigarette taxes shooting through the roof when taxes on alcohol have been stagnant? Heck, my tobacco taxes are part of what is footing the bill for health care right now, so I figure everyone else should be thanking me!

    One benefit to smoking: lower risk of Parkinson's disease.

    And, yes, heroin kills fewer people per year than tobacco. Heroin also happens to be illegal. Guess what would happen if it were legalized? The number of deaths would skyrocket. At least with tobacco, there's no risk of overdosing and dying suddenly.

    May 6, 2010 at 12:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. Hical

    so are the cancer rates up, down, or the same?

    if they are the same or down .... then why all the hype in the report? Is there an agenda behind those writing the report?

    May 6, 2010 at 12:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. TonyKMN

    "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."

    ...and therefore, no one should believe a single word of the entire article.

    They admit there's no proof that a particular exposure has ANY link to cancer, yet they still call it an environmental cancer risk.

    What other statements are they making without having ANY evidence or facts to back it up?

    I'm not trying to downplay the severity of cancer or anthing like that; I just want an article or report actually based upon facts and data.

    May 6, 2010 at 12:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. jonathan bickerstaff

    After a half-century of following all manner of reporting on this disease I am now prepared to render, with neither concern for nor interest in dissent, the following decision: Everything causes cancer.

    May 6, 2010 at 12:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. it's in our vaxes

    Great, thanks for all the info...you meant to tell me these doctors want to warn us about formaldehyde all over our homes BUT THEY NEVER ONCE MENTION HOW THEY EXPECT US TO DIRECTLY INJECT IT INTO OUR CHILDREN'S BLOODSTREAMS VIA VACCINATIONS!!!

    Yes, this is just one of the many toxins we are expected to inject into ourselves and our children. A bit hypocritical don't you think????

    At least they are getting the word out on all of this, just wish they would also expose Big Pharma in the process....

    May 6, 2010 at 12:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. the man

    Hey Starbuck. Careful. Your ignorance is showing. Your logic is all flawed. So what you're saying is that whatever they find, if it inconveniences you at all, then don't worry about it. Good luck with that.
    There are a number of chemicals out on the market that have direct links to cancer that should be studied and taken off of the market.

    May 6, 2010 at 12:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. Chuck

    Warning to beer drinkers. It contains formaldehyde. I am probably already embalmed.

    May 6, 2010 at 12:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. CyclingCS

    I am an advanced stage cancer survivor and I can assure you that you do not want to get cancer. I sure do not want cancer again. I'm willing to take a lot of steps to hopefully avoid it.

    While I admit that it's impractical to follow some of the recommendations, I am glad that the Presidential Panel is at least looking at these things and I am happy for their recommendations.

    May 6, 2010 at 13:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. Brian Sickles

    According to my research on the matter

    Radon can cause cancer in high volume amounts over long periods of time. This study was done with miners who spent years in confined spaces. The statistic that Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer, after smoking, is the biggest hoax pulled on the public (when they have to get mitigation systems installed in their homes to meet sales requirements). The fact is, the largest number of lung cancer victims are those who smoked and were not exposed to Radon. The second largest number of victims are those who smoked and were exposed to Radon.

    Common denominator? I think so.

    If someone can prove this wrong I'd like to hear, otherwise, SOMEONE PRINT THE TRUTH !!!

    P.S. I'm not a Republican. Nyuck. Nyuck

    May 6, 2010 at 13:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. Pat in IL

    Starbuck, unless you truly understand molecular science, the nature of carcinogens, etc., it would be best to not show your ignorence. I understand that it's upsetting to hear proof of yet more dangerous chemicals that we're exposed to every day, but ignorance is not bliss in the long run. Wait until you or a loved one has a compromised immune system and you'll figure it out.

    May 6, 2010 at 13:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. Leslie

    AND now we have to worry about the Smart Meter that PG&E is installing to read you meters! People are saying they are making them SICK!

    May 6, 2010 at 13:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. Jackie

    I'm so amazed sometimes at how snotty and above it all some people seem when it comes to information like this.....usually it lasts until they come down with one of the diseases. My daughter had a friend at work several years ago who had a list from the Mayo Clinic of products not to use because of cancer risks. Some of you who are so skeptical would be very surprised at what was on the list. You won't find formaldhyde on labels but it's there – and you don't find it listed for a reason. We've changed many things we use in our house now – going back to bar soap is one of them.

    May 6, 2010 at 13:14 | Report abuse | Reply
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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.