Jul 21, 2012

Ledger Letter: Chemicals and cancer

Letter: Chemicals and cancer

The last few decades have seen an explosion in cancer. Normally, I would want to back a statement like that with some authoritative statistics. No need — everybody has friends and relatives who have been stricken.
It's all around us — the bracelets, the various benefit events, ads for Cancer Treatment Centers of America on prime-time TV. A tremendous amount of money goes to research to find a cure. That's good — for those dealing with the disease, progress can't come soon enough.

But we rarely talk about the causes. The simple reality is that this is the result of the cornucopia of synthetic compounds we have introduced into the environment. It can't be genetic — changes to entire populations don't happen that fast. We are swimming in a sea of chemicals that our body was not designed to handle, an estimated 80,000, 232 of which were found in the umbilical cords of babies in five states in one study.

So yes, we need to find a cure, but as is the case with many undesirable results, if you really want to get at this, it is more effective to move upstream and stop the new cases before they ever get in the pipeline. Look for organizations doing targeted, impactful work like "Cans, not cancer" (Google it), which is pushing to get BPA out of food cans. Eat fresh, basic foods. Eliminate plastics, fragrances and noxious chemicals at home. Read "What's Gotten Into Us" (Jenkins) and support local sustainability efforts.

Dan Welsh
South Salem, July 14