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NEWS RELEASE: BREXIT & BREAST CANCER: In this Breast Cancer Prevention Month, the real impact of Brexit on breast cancer needs to be understood

Event hosted by the National Alliance of Women’s Organisations; From Pink to Prevention, and Alliance for Cancer Prevention. As we come to the end of Breast Cancer Prevention Month, we will be considering the implications of Brexit on breast cancer and exploring the answers with a range of experts and campaigners.

Date: Thursday 26 October 11am-1pm
Venue: Attlee Room, Portcullis House

The chances are you’ll never have thought about breast cancer prevention in relation to Brexit. Yet they are linked. For example, our clean beaches and seas benefit from progressive EU legislation. Our health as citizens, consumers and workers most certainly has benefited and continues to benefit from EU legislation. The European chemicals regulation  REACH  is a highly sophisticated, progressive pan-EU system to control toxic chemicals and, though not perfect, is nevertheless regarded as the best in the world. At its heart is ‘the precautionary principle’ which means to take action to prevent harm, even if there is uncertainty.
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Celebrating A Visionary Citizen Scientist

RACHEL CARSON DAY 27th MAY

Man has put the vast majority of carcinogens into the environment and he can, if he wishes, eliminate many of them. The most determined effort should be made to eliminate those carcinogens that now contaminate our food, our water supplies, and our atmosphere, because these provide the most dangerous types of contact – minute exposure repeated over and over throughout the years.                                                                             

Silent Spring 1962

RACHEL CARSON marine biologist, writer and conservationist

In the year 1962, Rachel Carson was not only another breast cancer statistic, but the woman whose writing skills and scientific acumen shocked the world upon publication of ‘Silent Spring’ in which her research findings of irreversible reproductive and genetic damage to aquatic-life forms resulting from the use of pesticides and endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) were presented in her signature narrative style. Her attention to smaller aquatic life forms at the bottom of the food-chain revealed the multiplier effect for life forms at higher levels, with major predictable effects for we humans in our position at the top of the chain. The changes being observed and recorded by Carson were an early warning of the future scenario for all life forms. As such they still stand as the first scientifically-based predictions of both real and potential harm to life from manmade chemicals.

Fifty years on and the shocking difference between then and now is that there are many thousands more manmade chemicals being produced and released into the environment than the number developed by the smaller scale post-war chemicals industry of Carson’s time. Many of these are linked to breast cancer risk such as EDCs and right now there is a battle to ensure that post-Brexit UK remains within existing EU chemicals legislation (REACH), which is regarded as the best in the world. 
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Vital Call: MPs want post-Brexit UK to keep to EU’s main chemicals law REACH

The UK House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) has today published the report of its inquiry on chemicals regulation after the EU referendum, which particularly focussed on the EU’s world-leading REACH system for regulating chemicals. The EAC criticise the UK Government’s lack of openness about its post-Brexit plans, and point out that most respondents want the UK to remain ‘as closely aligned to REACH as possible‘.

The EAC’s main conclusions

    • The chemicals regulation framework established by the EU through REACH is difficult to transpose directly into UK law. Writing EU regulations into UK law could not be done simply by having a line in the “Great Repeal Bill” deeming REACH to apply in the UK. REACH was written from the perspective of participants being within the EU, with much of it also relating to Member State co-operation and mutual obligations, oversight and controls, and freedom of movement of products

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