27 May 2010

Chemicals and cancer

The link between exposure to everyday chemicals and cancer risk has been 'grossly underestimated' according to the National Cancer Institute in the US.

Photo: view from Standish woods across Severn

UK cancer researchers continue to refuse to act as they say there is still a lack of evidence about most environmental risks. See article in The Ecologist here. This is an issue I've covered before on this blog - indeed I find it worrying that British cancer charities are not putting much greater resorces into checking out stuff like food additives, pesticides and other chemicals in our environment - these seem to be ignored and the companies reassurances about safety accepted.

Some 6 weeks or so ago in The Independent there was a good piece calling for better regulation of chemicals - here was Green party Leader Caroline Lucas' letter in response:

Dear Sir, It is encouraging to see the Independent supporting calls for better regulation to protect consumers from the potentially toxic chemicals that appear in everyday products (‘Scandal of danger chemical in baby bottles’, 31 March).

Back in November, the Green Party gave its full support to Breast Cancer UK’s No More BPA campaign warning the UK government about the continued use of the chemical Bisphenol-A (BPA) in baby products.
So it is incredibly disappointing that, despite the public pressure and despite growing concern over the potential impacts of BPA on human health, the UK Government and the European Commission seem to have no interest accelerating research into the substance or strengthening regulation. As a member of the Euro-Parliament’s Environment, Public Health and Food Safety Committee, I have written to the Commission to challenge the continued use of BPA, and to call for an EU wide ban based on the precautionary principle.

In response, the Commission says it is not considering a ban due to ‘insufficient evidence’ of the harmful effects – but national governments could of course enforce a ban if they wanted to. Indeed, Canada is implementing a ban on the sale of BPA-containing baby bottles and, in the US, the six biggest manufacturers of baby bottles agreed to stop selling bottles containing BPA – while some states have also implemented bans.

I understand that a number of European member states are looking closely at their national legislation too.
Given the mounting evidence of a link between some chemical products and the onset of diseases such as cancer, the distinct lack of research, product labelling and effective legislation is alarming. That young babies and infants are being regularly exposed to a chemical like BPA is unjustifiable.

I hope that this public campaign and the recent signals from other countries will prompt our own Government to take urgent action in order to guarantee that human health is adequately protected.
Yours sincerely, Caroline Lucas MEP, Green Party leader

Lastly a neighbour pointed me to Orchid a charity which helps to raise awareness for male cancers... Its the only charity which specifically focuses on male cancers and as she says "judging about how coy you boys can be when it comes to problems "down there" its a good thing too!! They are a really small charity and yet the work that they manage to do is incredible so..."

She has done a 10k run for them to raise some money and awareness - infact nearly 20 years ago I was involved in trying to raise awareness about such male cancers - many more folk know now but there is still much needed....

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