Green Tip – The Presidents Cancer Panel

by Wendy Gabriel

GREEN TIP: If you haven’t read the latest report from the President’s Cancer Panel click on and go to Annual Report for 2008 – 2009.

The report was published last Thursday and some of the highlights are:

  • The Panel was particularly concerned to find that the true burden of environmentally induced cancer has been grossly underestimated. With nearly 80,000 chemicals on the market in the United States, many of which are used by millions of Americans in their daily lives and are understudied and largely unregulated, exposure to potential environmental carcinogens is widespread.
  • Most also are unaware that children are far more vulnerable to environmental toxins and radiation than adults.
  • The American people—even before they are born—are bombarded continually with myriad combinations of these dangerous exposures (to environmental toxins).
  • Pesticides (insecticides, herbicides, and fungicides) approved for use by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) contain nearly 900 active ingredients, many of which are toxic. Many of the solvents, fillers, and other chemicals listed as inert ingredients on pesticide labels also are toxic, but are not required to be tested for their potential to cause chronic diseases such as cancer.
  • Many known carcinogens first identified through studies of industrial and agricultural occupational exposures have since found their way into soil, air, water and numerous consumer products.
  • Some toxins have adverse effects not only on those exposed directly (include in utero), but on the offspring of exposed individuals.
  • The Panel urges the President most strongly to use the power of his office to remove the carcinogens and other toxins from our food, water, and air that needlessly increase health care costs, cripple our Nation’s productivity, and devastate American lives.

This report echos everything I’ve been writing about for years. I’m feeling extremely hopeful about the President’s Cancer Panel findings in that it opens up this dialogue at a level that should make people sit up and take notice. No longer can we blindly use toxic chemicals around children. I’m also curious to see what the ramifications of this report will be.

Now armed with this information, we need to stand up and demand that safer alternatives be used in our communities. We all deserve to live free of toxic chemicals, especially our children. Contact your school, ask what cleaning products are being used around your children. Contact your park district, ask what kind of pesticides are being used around our children. Let your voice be heard.

A few great resources to help you arm yourself with knowledge (including the aforementioned report):

  • Healthy Child Healthy World: They are leading a movement that educates parents, supports protective policies, and engages communities to make responsible decisions, simple everyday choices, and well-informed lifestyle improvements to create healthy environments where children and families can flourish.
  • The Environmental Working Group (EWG): Their mission is to use the power of public information to protect public health and the environment. Their number one organizational goal is to protect the most vulnerable segments of the human population—children, babies, and infants in the womb—from health problems attributed to a wide array of toxic contaminants.
  • The Center for Health, Environment and Justice (CHEJ): see below

My Green Side’s web pick of the week:

The Center for Health, Environment and Justice (CHEJ)
CHEJ’s overarching goal has consistently been to prevent harm—particularly among vulnerable populations such as children. If a safer process, material or product exists it should be used. They believe that everyone, regardless of income, race, religion, or occupation, has a right to live, work, learn, play and pray in a healthy community.

Editor’s Note: Each Wednesday My Green Side brings Simple Tips for Green Living to The Christopher Gabriel Program. We also highlight a favorite green site each week. You can stream the segment at approximately 1020am (CDT) every Wednesday at

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  1. Becky’s avatar

    Thanks for posting this, Wendy! Very helpful.


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