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14 November 2005 | Printer friendly

Environmental and occupational exposures linked to nearly 30 types of cancer in the US

“Environmental and Occupational Causes of Cancer: A Review of Recent Scientific Evidence” shows that many cancer cases and deaths are caused or contributed to by involuntary exposure to toxic substances.

These include:
- bladder cancer from the primary solvent used in dry cleaning,
- breast cancer from endocrine disruptors like bisphenol-A and other plastics components,
- lung cancer from residential exposure to radon,
- non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma from solvent and herbicide exposure, and
- childhood leukemia from pesticides.

“We need to follow the example of the European Union’s REACH program, which prevents the use of known or suspected carcinogens when suitable substitutes are readily available” , said Dr. Richard W. Clapp, lead epidemiologist for the study.

He also qualifies the last study made 25 years ago by Sir Richard Doll and Richard Peto as “counterproductive” as it attributes only 2 to 4 per cent of cancers to involuntary occupational and environmental exposure.

Finally, the authors note that even if certain cancers have a lower mortality rate than in the 1940s, the combined mortality rate for all cancers is the same, while the rate of new cases has increased by 85 per cent over the past 50 years.

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