American Cancer Society Still Ignores Evidence on Avoidable Causes of Adult and Childhood Cancers



CHICAGO, IL, November 18, 2011 -/WORLD-WIRE/- The Cancer Prevention Coalition today advises that the American Cancer Society (ACS) 2011 report “Cancer Facts & Figures” ignores well-documented scientific evidence on the industrial and environmental causes of a wide range of cancers.

The ACS report lists 13 “Selected (Adult) Cancers,” and summarizes their known “risk factors,” or causes. Overwhelmingly, these are attributed to longevity, obesity, alcohol, smoking, and family history.

“However, and criminally,” observes Samuel S. Epstein, M.D., Chairman of the Cancer Prevention Coalition, “the ACS makes no reference to the wide range of involuntary and avoidable exposures to industrial carcinogens in air, water, food, and the workplace.”

“The ACS also ignores well-documented scientific evidence on the known industrial and environmental causes of the very wide range of cancers,” says Dr. Epstein. “However, such evidence has been fully documented since 1972 in about 100 reports on individual and groups of carcinogens by the International Agency for Research on Cancer.”

Dr. Epstein cites the 2008-2009 Annual Report of the President’s Cancer Panel, released in April 2010, includes a “Summary of Environmental and Occupational Links with Cancer.” This report documents “strong” evidence on cancer risks from exposures to 15 individual or groups of carcinogens, such as talc powder, ethylene oxide, and dioxane. The report also documents “suspected” evidence from exposure to the larger range of risks from exposure to about 40 other individual or groups of carcinogens.

“Worse still, that threat of cancer begins even before a birth,” warns Dr. Epstein. “Once a pregnant woman absorbs ingredients from the cosmetics and personal care products that she uses, they penetrate through her skin to varying degrees. They then reach the fetus through the approximately 300 quarts of blood pumped daily between the placenta and fetus. Studies on umbilical and blood cord samples have also identified other ingredients, such as triclosan, which are commonly added to deodorants, toothpaste, and cosmetics.”

“Not surprisingly,” says Dr. Epstein, “the overall incidence of childhood cancers has increased by about 40 percent over the past three decades? Could it have anything to do with the cancer causing (carcinogenic) ingredients in personal care products targeting infants and children which have crowded supermarket and other store shelves over the same period?”

In fact, babies are about 100 times more sensitive to carcinogens than are adults, Dr. Epstein points out, explaining that infants and young children have immature liver enzymes, which give them only limited ability to detoxify the carcinogens besides other toxic ingredients in products which are applied to their skin.

“Added to that is the fact that the ingredients in the products that mothers apply to the skin of their infants and children are readily absorbed into their blood and bodies. So, there is every reason why we should be highly cautious about the products that we buy for our infants and children, let alone ourselves,” warns Dr. Epstein.

Also, as infants’ and children’s cells divide much more rapidly than those of adults, they are much more sensitive to carcinogens, and much more vulnerable to developing cancer later in their lives. No wonder that the overall incidence of childhood cancers since 1975 has increased by 34%, while the incidence of kidney cancer and acute lymphocytic leukemia has increased by about 60%.

“Most of us would like to believe that any products, especially those marketed for infants and children, must be safe as otherwise they would never be sold,” Dr. Epstein says. “Surely, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the responsible agency of government, let alone the industry concerned, must be looking out for the health of our most vulnerable citizens. Right? Wrong!”

Samuel S. Epstein, M.D. is professor emeritus of Environmental and Occupational Medicine at the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health; Chairman of the Cancer Prevention Coalition; and former President of the Rachel Carson Trust. His awards include the 1998 Right Livelihood Award and the 2005 Albert Schweitzer Golden Grand Medal for International Contributions to Cancer Prevention. He is the author of over 270 scientific articles and 20 books on the causes and prevention of cancer, including the groundbreaking The Politics of Cancer (1979, Doubleday Books), Healthy Beauty (2010, BenBella Books) and National Cancer Institute And American Cancer Society: Criminal Indifference to Cancer Prevention and Conflicts of Interest (2011, Xlibris Publishing).

Samuel S. Epstein, M.D.
Chairman, Cancer Prevention Coalition
Professor emeritus Environmental & Occupational Medicine
University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health
Chicago, Illinois
Tel: 312-996-2297
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