Daily News Archive
June 16, 2005
Say American Cancer Society Downplays Environmental Causes of Cancer
(Beyond Pesticides, June 16, 2005) Three
leaders of cancer support and education groups accused the American
Cancer Society (ACS) of downplaying the links between environmental
contaminants and cancer during a forum last week in Millbrook, New York,
according to the Poughkeepsie
Journal. Earlier this year, health officials announced that cancer
is now, for the first time ever, the #1 killer of Americans younger than
85 (See article).
"What is the American Cancer Society saying about environmental contamination?
Nothing!" said Barbara Smith, coordinator of the Oncology Support
Program at Benedictine
Hospital in Kingston. "They're raising money and buying flowers.
Let them do something with their money that will help us here and now."
Rose Marie Williams, president of the Cancer
Awareness Coalition, and Hope Nemiroff, executive director of Breast
Cancer Options, agreed. "The American Cancer Society never endorses
the potential link between cancer and environmental contaminants,"
Ms. Williams said. "Their message is that detection is the best prevention.
If it's been detected, you have not been protected."
Ms. Williams also accused the American Cancer Society of being influenced
by money donated by pharmaceutical companies and industries that use hazardous
chemicals. According to the ACS’s 2004
annual report, IBM Corp. donated more than $1 million, the Industry
Cancer Foundation and Dow Chemical donated more than $100,000 each, and
several pharmaceutical companies also donated more than $100,000.
Of its $131 million research budget, the American Cancer Society will
spend $8 million this year on studies of potential environmental causes
of cancer, spokesman Paul McGee said Monday. "We study all the evidence
and we act on the science," Mr. McGee said. "When we find a
clear link between something and cancer, we act on it."
A growing number of studies have linked pesticides to cancer. Of the 30
commonly used lawn pesticides, 13 are probable or possible carcinogens.
In schools, 24 of 48 commonly used pesticides are probable or possible
carcinogens. A study sponsored by the National Cancer Institute indicates
that household and garden pesticide use can increase the risk of childhood
leukemia as much as seven-fold. Other studies show that children living
in households where pesticides are used suffer elevated rates of leukemia,
brain cancer and soft tissue sarcoma. Two commonly used herbicide, 2,4-D
and glyphosate, have
been linked to non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in scientific studies.
TAKE ACTION: Call the American Cancer Society,
1-800-227-2345, or fill out the contact
form on their website, and ask them to devote more money and time
researching environmental causes of cancer.