President’s Cancer Panel Warns Against Toxic Chemicals in Everyday Life
President’s Cancer Panel Warns Against Toxic Chemicals in Everyday LifeThe President’s Cancer Panel released their annual report last Thursday. I can’t begin to tell you what a breakthrough it is to have this icon of the medical establishment acknowledge the role chemicals play in our health. Cancer is not the only consequence of chemical exposure but, of course, it is the focus of the report.
Did you know that 41% of Americans will be diagnosed with cancer at some time in their lives? Scary, but those are the statistics. The President’s Cancer Panel wants to do something about it.
To give you an idea of how serious they are, check out this quote from the Panel's cover letter to the President:
“The Panel was particularly concerned to find that the true burden of environmentally induced cancer has been grossly underestimated. With nearly 80,000 chemicals on the market in the United States, many of which are used by millions of Americans in their daily lives and are un- or understudied and largely unregulated, exposure to potential environmental carcinogens is widespread.”
There’s much more to read in the report itself, but even reading just the cover letter to the President makes things pretty clear. See Reducing Environmental Cancer Risk – What We Can Do Now for both the letter and the complete report.
The authors provide outlines of policy, research and programs to bring about the changes they believe are necessary to keep us safe. But they also provide recommendations we can use in our daily lives, now, to reduce our exposure.
Here are the highlights of their recommendations:
- Because children’s under-developed bodies are especially susceptible to toxins, both parents should avoid exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals and known or suspected carcinogens prior to conception, during pregnancy and throughout a child’s early life. They also advise we choose foods, house and garden products, play spaces (this would include cribs and baby crib mattresses – check out Naturepedic), toys, medicines and medical tests that limit exposure.
- If one works in an environmental that contains potentially harmful chemicals, remove work shoes and wash work clothes immediately upon entering the house so as not to contaminate the home environment.
- Drink filtered tap water. Avoid bottles of water – BPA in plastics is a big issue – unless it is known that tap or well water is contaminated, or that the plastic is BPA-free and otherwise tested for safety.
- Buy organic food – food grown without pesticides or chemical fertilizers. Eat meat from free-range animals that have not been given growth hormones or antibiotics. Avoid processed, charred and well-done meats.
- Properly dispose of pharmaceuticals, household chemicals, paints and similar materials. And, when possible, choose products made with non-toxic substances or environmentally-safe chemicals.
- Reduce exposure to radiation (they give specifics), and get your home tested for radon.
- Become a voice in your community.
The report covers many different types of exposure, including radiation from medical testing. For example, did you know that the radiation from one CT scan is equivalent to over 1,000 chest x-rays? To read the complete report, which is lengthy but easy to read and very interesting, check Reducing Environmental Cancer Risk – What We Can Do Now.
This is great news! Not only is the issue getting more mainstream medical attention, the information is now in the oval office. And with fairly simple recommendations we can put into action in our daily lives, we really can do something about our own health and the health of our children, now!