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Program Information
 Loving the Earth Pollution Free Revolution 
 Cancer Prevention
 Actuality (Uncut Material)
 David O. Carpenter, MD, Director, SUNY Albany Institute for Health and the Environment and Donald L. Hassig, Director, Cancer Action NY
 Cancer Action News Network  
 See Notes.
 No Advisories - program content screened and verified.


The New York State Department of Health (DOH) and the American Cancer Society (ACS) are in the process of creating the 2011 New York State Comprehensive Cancer Control Plan (CCCP). The 2003 NYS CCCP (currently in effect) included a goal for reducing exposure to pollution. However, no pollutant carcinogens were named in the 2003 Plan. Considering the large number of chemical carcinogens that exist in every New York State resident's body and the high cancer rates experienced in our state, it is critical that New York State government take action on reducing exposure to the most significant of these body burden substances. Three groups of pollutant carcinogens are major contributors to cancer causation for the general public: (1) persistent organic pollutants (POPs), including, dioxins, PCBs, PBDEs, and many less studied chemicals (2) exhaust constituents, including, benzene, formaldehyde and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and (3) carcinogenic metals, including, arsenic, cadmium, chromium, nickel and lead.

“Cancer is almost always caused by exposure to environmental chemicals. If we want to reduce rates of cancer we must target reducing exposure to those chemicals best known to cause human cancer. In my judgment POPs are the most dangerous contaminants and there are clear steps than can be taken to reduce exposure.”-David O. Carpenter, MD

"The DOH does not target specific carcinogenic pollutants for exposure reduction efforts because the choice of substances would spark a considerable amount of controversy. Designating POPs exposure reduction for immediate action will bring family farms and the food production corporations to Albany in protest of potential damage to their sales of animal fat containing products. Commerce has traditionally been given top priority over all other matters. We are facing a situation where this paradigm must be changed. The public health is more important than commerce. State government must use scientific knowledge to reduce cancer risk now."-Donald L. Hassig


Cancer Action NY recently provided guidance to the New York State Department of Health (DOH) concerning drafting of the 2011 New York State Comprehensive Cancer Control Plan (NYS CCCP). Our organization focuses its activities upon the use of existing scientific knowledge to prevent cancer. It is our position that government health agencies including the NYS DOH bear a great responsibility for participating in community based efforts that reach toward this goal. Most people perceive government health agencies as protectors of public health and rank prevention foremost among health protection strategies.

When the first NYS CCCP was being created in Fall 2003, Cancer Action NY advocated for the establishment of an educational outreach on the subjects of carcinogenic pollutant exposure reduction. We specified that this educational outreach should cover pollutants that the vast majority of New Yorkers are exposed to in sufficient quantities to impose significant cancer risk. Three pollutant groups that are of significance in cancer causation for New York State residents are persistent organic pollutants (POPs), constituents of exhaust, and carcinogenic metals. The 2003 CCCP sets forth a goal of reducing environmental exposure by 2010. No specific pollutant carcinogens were named in this plan. No educational outreach was required in the 2003 plan.

The NYS DOH has not provided any educational outreach on POPs that contaminate all animal fat containing foods available for purchase by New Yorkers, exhaust carcinogens or carcinogenic metals in foods from the finalization of the 2003 CCC Plan to the current date. This is an outrageous failure of government to use existing scientific knowledge to prevent cancer.

Cancer Action NY guidance for creation of New York State's second Cancer Control Plan perseveres in calling for public education on the pollutant carcinogens named above. We advocate for the inclusion of action items in the 2011 Plan. We want the Plan to require the creation of a stand alone educational document on the subject of carcinogenic POPs exposure reduction. Recognizing budgetary limitations, we are seeking an additional action item that would require the expenditure of only a little money. We call for the inclusion in the 2011 Cancer Control Plan of a series of NYS DOH news conferences that address the subject of carcinogenic POPs contamination of the food supply and strategies to decrease exposure.

It is the expectation of our organization that NYS DOH will not be inclined to make these action items part of the new Cancer Control Plan. However, strong public support could lead to the inclusion of the action items described above. Cancer Action NY encourages everyone who cares about reducing cancer incidence to call upon the DOH to include the action items in the 2011 Plan.
Cancer Action NY's Cancer Action Network
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00:31:32 English 2010-12-02
 Colton, New York, USA
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