By Claudia Kalb
In early May, the President’s Cancer Panel published a major report about environmental links to cancer. The panel, which consisted of two members reporting directly to the president, concluded that environmental carcinogens cause “grievous harm” and that not enough has been done to protect Americans—especially considering that many of these toxins are found in everyday products or situations. In a letter to President Obama accompanying the report, the authors wrote, “The Panel was particularly concerned to find that the true burden of environmentally induced cancer has been grossly underestimated.”
The impact of environmental factors on cancer risk has long been a hotly debated field. While some links have been firmly established (smoking and lung cancer), others are far murkier (cell phones and brain tumors). Environmentalists have lauded the report for spotlighting the issue and urging government action, but other experts have said that they worry that the report overstates the science and exaggerates the risks. On a blog published by the American Cancer Society, epidemiologist Dr. Michael J. Thun noted that the report’s conclusion “does not represent scientific consensus.” Rather, he said, “it reflects one side of a scientific debate that has continued for almost 30 years.”
Take a look at the chemicals that follow and the places where they can be found. Should you be worried? While you’re deciding, don’t forget that there are well-researched behavioral risks linked to cancer that you can do something about right now: obesity, smoking, and a sedentary lifestyle.
Shopping for Cancer?
By Claudia Kalb