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article imagePublic health groups urge Obama to form cancer prevention policy

By Lynn Herrmann     May 19, 2011 in Health
Washington - A coalition of public health groups met with White House officials on Thursday and are urging President Obama to use his leadership position for creating a National Cancer Prevention Plan to rid Americans’ daily exposure to cancer-causing chemicals.
Pesticide Action Network (PAN) joined with members of the Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families coalition and, in a meeting with White House officials, presented a petition signed by more than 70,000 people from every US state urging the President to prioritize a cancer-prevention program.
“The links between pollutants and cancer simply can’t be ignored,” said Kathryn Gilje, Executive Director for PAN, in a company statement. “The evidence is just too strong, and lives across the country are at stake. We called on White House officials to get to work now on the Panel’s key recommendation: a national cancer prevention plan.”
Many individuals and families across the country are dealing with the devastating effects of cancer and mounting evidence shows Americans are exposed to high levels of cancer-causing chemicals on a daily basis. Many of these chemicals are being found in everyday products, including clothing, household cleaners and plastics, all items used by children, women, and men.
In a letter to President Obama, the group called on him to use his leadership for creating a cancer prevention program that would put a halt to the use of cancer-causing chemicals, noting the impact cancer is having across America.
Among the facts presented in the letter, the public health group notes
• Cancer is the leading cause of death from disease in children under the age of 15.
• 1 in 2 American men and 1 in 3 American women will get some type of cancer in their lifetimes.
• Breast cancer is the second leading cause of death in women, surpassed only by lung cancer.
“The chemical industry continues to exploit regulatory weakness by introducing chemicals into the environment that have not been proven to be safe,” said Andy Igrejas, Director of the Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families coalition, in a press statement. “Pregnant women have been found to carry toxic chemicals in their bodies, which leads to babies being born with a burden of chemicals over which they had no control. The majority of Americans are unaware of the dangers of chemical exposure in their daily lives.”
The group notes many cancers are preventable, but companies can legally add cancer-causing toxins into everyday products, including toys, furniture, food containers and cosmetics. PAN states
by setting the course for a national cancer prevention strategy that includes eliminating the use of cancer-causing chemicals, the President can reverse decades of failed policies that have allowed those chemicals to contaminate our lives and endanger our health.
The coalition is urging the President to strengthen existing regulations, including the “ineffective” 1938 Food, Drug and Cosmetics Act and the “failed” 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act.
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