Widespread exposure to environmental toxins poses a serious threat to Americans, causing “grievous harm” that government agencies have not adequately addressed, according to a strongly worded report released today by the President’s Cancer Panel, a body of experts that reports directly to President Obama.
The American Cancer Society estimates that about 6% of cancer deaths — nearly 34,000 a year — are caused by environmental pollutants.
That number could be much higher, the new report says. Although the report doesn’t give a figure, it says the government has “grossly underestimated” the problem because of a lack of research. Much of the suffering faced by people diagnosed with toxin-related cancer “could have been prevented through appropriate national action,” according to the 240-page report.
The report urges the Obama administration to act, even if the evidence linking cancer and chemicals isn’t definitive. Nearly 80,000 chemicals are used in the country today, many of which are unstudied and “largely unregulated,” the report says.
Children appear to be especially vulnerable, the report says.
The report was produced by cancer specialists LaSalle Lefall and Margaret Kripke, both of whom were appointed by President Bush and who heard from dozens of experts over the past two years. The panel’s third position is vacant.
Reaction to the report was mixed.
Jeanne Rizzo, president of the Breast Cancer Fund, an environmental advocacy group, said the report was “a watershed that could transform federal policy not just on cancer, but on chemicals.”
The American Cancer Society’s Michael Thun called the report “unbalanced” because he said it implied pollution is a major cause of cancer and dismissed prevention efforts. The report “restates hypotheses as if they were established facts,” Thun said in a statement. “It reflects one side of a scientific debate that has continued for almost 30 years.” Thun said he hopes the report won’t confuse Americans about the clearest ways to prevent cancer, such as through healthier living. The American Cancer Society says smoking alone causes far more deaths — more than 168,000 every year.
Dr. Court’s Comments
Most of the chemicals that are in our lives have not been studied and no one knows the long term effects of these things. For every chemical that may be harmless there are likely more that cause cancer.
And what about the chemicals that don’t cause cancer? What about the chemicals that just affect physiology? Some cause chronic pain, sensory perception issues, trouble breathing, head aches, joint pain, auto-immune disorders and the list goes on and on.
The fact that these chemicals are all around us makes them very dangerous. You can’t get away from them. They get into our soil, water and air. You eat them, you drink them, and you breath them in. Over time, some of these chemicals are dangerous and can cause cancer in susceptible individuals. The problem is there is no way to tell who those susceptible people are.
Also, think about the list of people who don’t get cancer but are destined for a lifetime of suffering with some mystery condition that cannot be figured out because of some chemical exposure. I routinely see patients who have these mystery conditions and I can almost always attribute it to some environmental exposure.
So the questions is, what can you do to protect yourself? I always recommend that my patients do a bio-detoxification at least once per year. Through that program you are able to cleanse you body of many built up toxins. If you do this regularly, you have less of a chance of these chemicals adversely affecting you.
Secondly, eat a healthy diet. These chemicals cause cancer by causing free radical damage that alters your DNA. Free radicals are countered by a diet high in antioxidants. A diet full of healthy protein, fruits, veggies and nuts will supply you with ample free radical scavenging antioxidants.
Thirdly, take supplements to boost your immunity and antioxidant capacity. Things like vitamin D, vitamin C, curcumin, and green tea extract have known protective benefits.
Lastly, avoid using necessary chemicals in your life. Here in the Northeast spring is in full bloom, but that also means the bugs and weeds are out too. Instead of using the chemical weed and bug killers that are available, use a natural product. I’ve used both natural weed and bug killer in the past two weeks and they worked great. The ingredients were nothing more than peppermint, rosemary and thyme oil with a small amount of alcohol in it.
It’s no secret that we are surrounded by chemicals in our daily lives. We start by getting up in the morning and driving to work in a car fueled by chemicals, printing our daily reports with chemicals and end our day by sitting down and watching our new fancy TVs that are filled with chemicals. To assume they have no effect is naive. They not only can cause cancer but also cause other long term health issues. Do what you can to protect yourself and your family.