Cover letter to President Obama from the 2008–2009 Annual Report of the President’s Cancer Panel, April 2010

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Wed, 05/19/2010 - 23:23.

Below is the cover letter to the President of the United States from the 2008–2009 Annual Report of the President’s Cancer Panel - REDUCING ENVIRONMENTAL CANCER RISK... What We Can Do Now - April 2010. This report is submitted to the President of the United States in fulfillment of the obligations of the President’s Cancer Panel.

The President
The White House
Washington, DC  20500

Dear Mr. President:

Though overall cancer incidence and mortality have continued to decline in recent years, the disease continues to devastate the lives of far too many Americans.  In 2009 alone, approximately 1.5 million American men, women, and children were diagnosed with cancer, and 562,000 died from the disease.  With the growing body of evidence linking environmental exposures to cancer, the public is becoming increasingly aware of the unacceptable burden of cancer resulting from environmental and occupational exposures that could have been prevented through appropriate national action.  The Administration’s commitment to the cancer community and recent focus on critically needed reform of the Toxic Substances Control Act is praiseworthy.  However, our Nation still has much work ahead to identify the many existing but unrecognized environmental carcinogens and eliminate those that are known from our workplaces, schools, and homes.

To jumpstart this national effort, the President’s Cancer Panel (the Panel) dedicated its  2008–2009 activities to examining the impact of environmental factors on cancer risk.  The Panel considered industrial, occupational, and agricultural exposures as well as exposures related to medical practice, military activities, modern lifestyles, and natural sources.  In addition, key regulatory, political, industrial, and cultural barriers to understanding and reducing environmental and occupational carcinogenic exposures were identified.  The attached report presents the Panel’s recommendations to mitigate or eliminate these barriers.

The Panel was particularly concerned to find that the true burden of environmentally induced cancer has been grossly underestimated.  With nearly 80,000 chemicals on the market in the United States, many of which are used by millions of Americans in their daily lives and are  un- or understudied and largely unregulated, exposure to potential environmental carcinogens is widespread.  One such ubiquitous chemical, bisphenol A (BPA), is still found in many consumer products and remains unregulated in the United States, despite the growing link between BPA and several diseases, including various cancers.

While BPA has received considerable media coverage, the public remains unaware of many common environmental carcinogens such as naturally occurring radon and manufacturing and combustion by-products such as formaldehyde and benzene.  Most also are unaware that
children are far more vulnerable to environmental toxins and radiation than adults.  Efforts to
inform the public of such harmful exposures and how to prevent them must be increased.  All levels of government, from federal to local, must work to protect every American from needless disease through rigorous regulation of environmental pollutants.

Environmental exposures that increase the national cancer burden do not represent a new front in the ongoing war on cancer.  However, the grievous harm from this group of carcinogens has not been addressed adequately by the National Cancer Program.  The American people—even before they are born—are bombarded continually with myriad combinations of these dangerous exposures.  The Panel urges you most strongly to use the power of your office to remove the carcinogens and other toxins from our food, water, and air that needlessly increase health care costs, cripple our Nation’s productivity, and devastate American lives.

Sincerely,
LaSalle D. Leffall, Jr., M.D., F.A.C.S.
Chair

Margaret L. Kripke, Ph.D.

arrow_ro.gif - 828 Bytes  Reports

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        Annual Report for 2008-2009 New

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         Reducing Environmental Cancer Risk, What We Can Do Now

April 2010
For further information on the President’s Cancer Panel
or additional copies of this report, please contact:
Abby B. Sandler, Ph.D.
Executive Secretary
President’s Cancer Panel
6116 Executive Boulevard
Suite 220, MSC 8349
Bethesda, MD  20814-8349
301-451-9399
pcp-r [at] mail [dot] nih [dot] gov
http://pcp.cancer.gov

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