Save the date for our campaign meeting

Save the Date for our first campaign meeting on Tuesday 27th January 6.30pm.

VENUE Leigh Day Priory House, 25 St John’s Lane, London EC1M 4LB Nearest tube station: Farringdon
If you can RSVP to before the meeting, that would help us gauge numbers.
Note: some people attending the meeting are allergic to fragrance so the meeting will be a fragrance free one.
Appreciate your support in this. Hope to see you on 27th January!

We remain deeply concerned by the total marginalization of environmental and occupational links to breast cancer – we believe the ‘pink’ takeover of the disease has played a big part in this, as fundraising has become the predominant ‘pink-driven’ focus for the public. Fundraising is good – but not when it displaces other, equally vital elements of the debate. We argue that lifelong, low-level exposure to the cocktail of hundreds of MERCS (Mutagens, Endocrine Disruptors, Reproductive Toxicants and Carcinogens) in our everyday lives – from pesticide residues in food to chemicals in consumer products and in the workplace – is linked to ever-rising rates of the disease.

As part of this, we want governments and legislators to mark a new approach by acting on the BEST option that is to Ban, Eliminate, Substitute and Tag (label) all known and suspected MERCs for all our environments, living, working, – land, sea and air and our first environment, the womb. This to happen in line with existing legislation such as EU’s REACH and the COSHH hierarchy and by utilising initiatives like the SIN List.

Last year, as part of the lead up to launching this new campaign, we held screenings of Pink Ribbons Inc and also held our ‘toxic tour’ in central London –and we look forward to seeing some of you who joined us on those events as well as new faces, at our first London campaign meeting on Tuesday 27th January at 6.30pm. We look forward to sharing more information about the campaign, plans for actions, support for this work across Europe and the World; and hearing your feedback on the campaign as we get underway.  Best wishes, Deb, Di, Helen and Jennie

American Public Health Association passes ground breaking resolution on breast cancer and occupation

The American Public Health Association has passed a groundbreaking resolution on breast cancer and occupation calling on the U.S. Surgeon General to declare the association between known classes of chemicals including endocine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) and breast cancer while acknowledging that women working with these chemicals are particularly at risk.

The declaration needs to emphasise the precautionary principle and highlight the importance of identifying workplace and other environmental hazards that contribute to elevated breast cancer rates. The resolution was authored by Dr. James Brophy, Dr. Margaret Keith, and Dorothy Wigmore from Worksafe, Inc.

Last year, Dr Keith and Dr Brophy from the University of Windsor, Ontario and Prof Andrew Watterson from the University of Stirling (all members of the OEHRG group at Stirling University) won an international award for their work on occupational breast cancer with two studies looking at women’s breast cancer risk in specific workplaces.

The APHA resolution calls on the Department of Health and Human Services, the National Cancer Institute, the National Institutes for Health, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and other relevant federal agencies to:

  • Focus more on the etiologic and mechanistic pathways of suspect chemicals and breast cancer and chemicals identified as, or suspected of being, linked to breast cancer, particularly EDCs and mammary carcinogens.
  • Identify and investigate the causes of breast cancer in groups of workers in suspect sectors and workplaces or those who work with known and suspected chemicals.
  • Initiate special emphasis hazard surveillance programs to identify sectors and workplaces where breast cancer-linked hazards are present.
  • All initiatives need to incorporate green chemistry, toxics use reduction and informed substitution principles in their purchasing practices, to contribute to prevention and reduction of breast cancer in a life cycle approach that recognizes the power of purchasers.

Breast cancer is the most frequent cancer diagnosis among women in industrialised countries, and rates in North America and Western Europe are among the highest in the world. But yet despite decades of their contribution to the workforce; women’s occupational health hazards continue to be mostly invisible, studied inadequately and infrequently.

This historic resolution should pave the way for urgent public health action world wide. We look forward to hearing the reactions  from our own public and occupational health agencies.

Press release from Stirling University.

Better regulation of endocrine disrupting chemicals the only way forward cancer primary prevention

Effective regulation of endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) represents an important opportunity for the primary prevention of hormone-related cancers, including breast, prostate and testicular an MEPs briefing at the EU parliament was told yesterday. The meeting was organised by MEPs Against Cancer, the Health and Environment Alliance and the Association of European Cancer Leagues and hosted by MEP Christel Schaldemose.

“Curbing exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals should become a central part of cancer prevention strategy in Europe,” said Wendy Tse Yared, Director of the Association of European Cancer Leagues (ECL). “It represents an exciting opportunity for prevention because reducing exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals in our everyday environment may stop cancers before they start.”

Dutch toxicologist Dr Majorie B.M. van Duursen said: “We need to use every possible opportunity to prevent cancer so environmental prevention is important. Hormone-related cancers, especially of those of the breast and prostate, have been increasing in recent decades. Today, breast cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in women in Europe, and prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in men.”

Génon K. Jensen, HEAL Director, said: “Exposure to EDCs is a likely explanation of why cancers that are hormone dependent, such as many breast and prostate cancers, have been increasing in recent decades.”

MEPs Against Cancer include environmental pollutants, air quality control and endocrine disruptors as one of their key areas of action over the coming 5 yrs in order to strengthen cancer prevention policies.

The press release can be viewed here. And on the Association for European Cancer Leagues site here. And an article in The Parliament Magazine can be viewed here.