If you are free Thursday afternoon: Great chance to support “Cancer Action”

KW: Don Hassig is an environmentalist from upstate, New York. I find his work to be eye-opening. He has very unique angles and proposals. A main focus is to empower people and government to acknowledge that environmental factors cause cancer, and take action to reduce risk. Many years ago Don was among the nominees vying for the Green Party of NY Governor nomination. His work now is focused on gathering environmental activists together to work on projects, and on teaching (and prodding) governments to do the right things about the environment.  Don is an old friend and will be speaking at this meeting — and perhaps one or two others — in the area next week. Please consider attending. And, give me or Don a shout out if you want to hear more about Don’s work and/or his availability next week.


A Presentation Before the Health Committee of the Suffolk County Legislature on the Subject of Carcinogenic Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) in the US Food Supply and Strategies to Decrease Exposure

Thursday, May 6th, 2010, 2:00 pm

Suffolk County Legislature/William H. Rogers Building, Hauppauge, Long Island, New York, USA

Certain pollutant carcinogens are fat soluble and exist for extensive periods of time in the environment.  Such carcinogens are described as persistent organic pollutants (POPs).  Carcinogenic POPs include:  dioxins, furans, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) and certain herbicides and pesticides.  Market basket studies have shown that these pollutant carcinogens contaminate the US food supply.  Animal fat containing foods:  fat content dairy products, meats, fish and eggs all contain these chemicals.  The cancer risk imposed by multiple exposure to these chemicals has not been assessed.  Animal studies have demonstrated that gestational exposure to dioxin predisposes female offspring to increased breast cancer susceptibility.  Epidemiological studies demonstrate excess cancer incidence associated with dioxin exposure of adult males and females.

“Cancer kills more Americans than any other disease except heart disease.  Most cancers are caused by some environmental exposure.  But many of the chemicals that cause cancer, and are present in our food, also cause heart disease.  Consequently, it is extremely important that we get chemical carcinogens out of our food supply.  The chemicals of greatest concern include fat soluble substances like dioxins and PCBs, which are found in all animal fats, as well as pesticides that are found as residues of vegetables and fruits.  The recycling of waste animal fat into animal feed is one particular pathway for contamination of animal products that must be stopped.  In order to reduce the risk of development of cancer (as well as heart and many other diseases) we need to change the way that agriculture uses chemicals both on crops and in animal foods.”–David O. Carpenter, MD, Director, SUNY Albany, Institute for Health and the Environment

Educating the general public concerning the existence of this contamination will empower individuals to make consumption choices which reduce exposure.  The Suffolk County Cancer Awareness Task Force is a leading educator on the subject of cancer prevention.  The purpose in providing information to the Health Committee of the Suffolk County Legislature on the subject of carcinogenic POPs and exposure reduction is to move the Task Force to take up the work of educating Suffolk County residents concerning cancer risk imposed by consumption of animal fat containing foods produced in the United States and exposure reduction strategies.
“As a member of the NYS Cancer Consortium, Cancer Action NY will advocate for a specific focus on reducing exposure to carcinogenic POPs in the second New York State Comprehensive Cancer Control Plan that will be finalized in 2010.  We will also push for public education as a priority exposure reduction strategy.  It is our hope that the Suffolk County Cancer Awareness Task Force will be the first government entity in New York State to educate on carcinogenic POPs exposure reduction.”–Donald L. Hassig, Director, Cancer Action NY

Additionally, Cancer Action NY is requesting that the Suffolk County Legislature adopt a resolution that expresses its support for public educational outreach by state and national government on the subject of carcinogenic POPs exposure reduction.  In order to accomplish major progress toward the education of New Yorkers concerning pollutant carcinogen exposure reduction, Cancer Action NY is advocating for New York State legislation that will delegate responsibility for review of scientific literature, production of exposure reduction public health messages, and conduct of public educational outreach to the New York State Department of Health.  Eventually, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences should assume responsibility for the first two tasks described above.  Suffolk County support for such legislative endeavors will be a powerful force for change.

Donald L. Hassig, Director
Cancer Action NY
Cancer Action Network

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