Sunday, February 20, 2011

Environmental Health Cancer Risks

Europe - Mortality rate for men of lung cancer...
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Reducing Environmental Cancer Risk: What We Can Do Now (240 page pdf, President’s Cancer Panel, April 2010)

Also discussed here: Cancer Report Examines Environmental Hazards (1 page pdf, Environ Health Perspect, 01 August 2010)

This major report from a task force of the US president focuses on environmental health risks that result in cancer, a risk that is “grossly underestimated”. Recommendations include more research, better measurement and regulations.

Key Quotes:

“for the first time highlights the contribution of environmental contaminants to the development of cancer ..the true burden of environmentally induced cancer has been grossly underestimated ..We don’t have any real idea of the contribution of environmental factors to human cancer”

“The report outlines research on consumer products, combustion by-products, and agricultural chemicals used in residential and commercial landscaping. It highlights cancer attributable to radiation and points out that military activities and unnecessary medical X rays are sources of exposure that can increase cancer risk, especially among children “

“41% of Americans will develop cancer during their lives and 21% will die of the disease”

“Issues impeding control of environmental cancer risks include those related to:
  • limited research on environmental influences on cancer;
  • conflicting or inadequate exposure measurement, assessment, and classification; and
  • ineffective regulation of environmental chemical and other hazardous exposures”
“mobile source air emissions (e.g., from cars, trucks, other passenger vehicles, ships), especially diesel particulate pollution, are responsible for approximately 30 percent of cancer resulting from air pollution”

“Americans now are estimated to receive nearly half of their total radiation exposure from medical imaging and other medical sources, compared with only 15 percent in the early 1980s.. Radon-induced lung cancer is responsible for an estimated average of 21,000 deaths annually”

“Drugs of all types enter the water supply when they are excreted or improperly disposed of; the health impact of long-term exposure to varying mixtures of these compounds is unknown”

EPA believes that diesel exhaust is among the substances that may pose the greatest risks. Average lifetime cancer risk from exposure to diesel exhaust alone may exceed 1 in 100,000 and could be as high as 1 in 1,000…truckers who do short-haul pickups and deliveries from vehicles on loading docks, city streets, and highways have a higher risk of death and disease, including lung cancer, than other workers”

“the average increased cancer risk in 2002 due to inhalation of outdoor air toxics was 36 per million; that is, an additional 36 people per million (approximately 11,000 Americans based on current population estimates) could be expected to develop cancer as a result of breathing air toxics compared to those not exposed"

“…exposure assessment is the Achilles heel of environmental epidemiology“
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