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Recommendations in the "President's Cancer Panel Report"

 Its been nearly a week since the "President's Cancer Panel" (PCP) submitted their 2010 report (pdf) on the state of our National Cancer Program.  The more time I spend dissecting the 200+ pages, the more I shake my head & realize we have been lab-rats in a horrific experiment.  As much as anything, the report is an environmental report card and a lashing of federal agencies for failing to protect the American people.

From the letter to President Obama that precedes the report:
"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"
"Could have been prevented"; as the parent of a child whose life has been devastated by ovarian cancer, those 4 words infuriate me!  That has been my suspicion ever since her diagnosis and it has been repeatedly confirmed by one report after another.  What angers me more than anything is that the warnings from the scientific community are not a new phenomenon, which is made clear in Rachel Carson's book Silent Spring, written nearly 50 years ago:
"The road to cancer may also be an indirect one...Important examples are the cancers, especially of the reproductive system, that appear to be linked with disturbances of the balance of sex hormones."
 In 1962 it wasn't yet a media buzz word, but she was talking about endocrine disruptors; BPA, phthalates and countless others that federal agencies refuse to acknowledge are causing irreparable harm to people, especially children.  The PCP report went on to say very clearly,
"Efforts to inform the public of such harmful exposures and how to prevent them must be increased."
There are steps we can take to protect ourselves from many toxins.  At the top of the Panel's list (and mine) is making better food choices; "You are what you eat", has never rung truer.  Choose organic and free-range foods, eliminate processed foods (especially things like hot-dogs and lunch meat which have been linked to several cancers, including ovarian cancer)  It is also crucial to choose organic dairy products because the vast majority of conventional milk contains growth hormones.  How perverse is it that we "good parents" encourage our children to "drink your milk", when the government has allowed it to become a toxic soup for the benefit of industrial agriculture?  Seriously, do you want your children drinking hormones that increase milk production??!  Always choose organic dairy!

The majority of the PCP recommendations, not surprisingly, have been the mantra of us dirt-worshipping-tree-huggers for decades.  They suggest simple things like driving an eco-friendly car (or transporting yourself by bike, feet or public transportation), turning off electrical appliances to reduce the pollution created by power generation, properly disposing of waste (including unused medications) which contaminate our water supply, and eliminating chemical fertilizers and pesticides in and around our homes.

There are some excellent resources on the web to easily guide people to healthier choices.  For many years I have relied on the Environmental Working Group (EWG) to help understand the information-overload that causes many people to throw up their hands in confusion.  You can easily discover if your skin-care products and cosmetics are toxic, which foods have the worst pesticides, the quality of your drinking waterhealthy home tips, and much more.

One of the primary reasons for starting this blog is to inspire activism, so I was pleasantly surprised to read the following statement in the PCP report:
"Each person can become an active voice in his or her own community. To a greater extent than many realize, individuals have the power to affect public policy by letting policymakers know that they strongly support environmental cancer research and measures that will reduce or remove from the environment toxics that are known or suspected carcinogens or endocrine-disrupting chemicals. Individuals can also influence industry by selecting non-toxic products and where these do not exist, communicating with manufacturers and trade organizations about their desire for safer products."
WE have the power to prevent cancer, to SAVE LIVES and make a real difference for future generations.  NOW is the time.

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