An expert panel that advises the president on cancer said Thursday that Americans are facing “grievous harm” from chemicals in the air, food and water that have largely gone unregulated and ignored.Somebody noticed!
The President’s Cancer Panel called for a new national strategy that focuses on such threats in the environment and workplaces.The problem is not too many agencies. Here’s the problem:
Epidemiologists have long maintained that tobacco use, diet and other factors are responsible for most cancers, and that chemicals and pollutants cause only a small portion — perhaps 5 percent.
The presidential panel said that figure has been “grossly underestimated” but it did not provide a new estimate.
“With the growing body of evidence linking environmental exposures to cancer, the public is becoming increasingly aware of the unacceptable burden of cancer resulting from environmental and occupational exposures that could have been prevented through appropriate national action,” the panel wrote in a report released Thursday.
Federal chemical laws are weak, funding for research and enforcement is inadequate, and regulatory responsibilities are split among too many agencies, the panel found.
The current system places the burden on the government to prove that a chemical is unsafe before it can removed from the market. The standards are so high, the government has been unable to ban chemicals such as asbestos, a widely recognized carcinogen that is prohibited in many other countries.DDT, dioxins, PCBs: you’d think those would have been enough to indicate maybe we should test new chemicals before we inject massive quantities of them into the air, water, and food supply.
About 80,000 chemicals are in commercial use in the United States, but federal regulators have assessed only about 200 for safety.
Page 43 in the report:
The entire U.S. population is exposed on a daily basis to numerous agricultural chemicals. Many of these chemicals are known or suspected of having either carcinogenic or endocrine-disrupting poperties.And many of them remain in the food all they way to the supermarket and your hom