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.
The President’s Cancer Panel called for a new national strategy that focuses on such threats in the environment and workplaces.
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.
Update 2012-08-30: old graph links decayed; replaced with other graphs of same data.
Almost as many obese as healthy weight adults in the U.S., and the rest are overweight. Something changed starting about 1980.
Data source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2005) Health, United States, 2005.
Graph source: Wikipedia Blue Cross Blue Shield, with this accompanying text:
While the percentage of the U.S. population considered overweight has been stable since 1960-62, the percentage considered obese has more than doubled.