Category Archives: Blog

RACHEL CARSON DAY

Every May 27 we mark Rachel Carson Day – a visionary scientist, campaigner and author of The Silent Spring.

This Rachel Carson Day we are sharing our FPTP toolkit. Please share! Ongoing awareness raising is vital, given the decades of resistance by the ‘cancer establishment’ (government, research breast cancer charities and industry) to address the issue.

As part of this effort earlier this year, in February, we met again with senior staff at the leading UK breast cancer charity Breast Cancer Now. Our primary task in our discussions with the organisation remains two-fold: to keep the pressure up for them to acknowledge the overwhelming scientific evidence that links environmental and occupational risk to breast cancer and leading on from that, to carry this information in all their public-facing information materials. We argue it is to deny women the full picture on breast cancer risk to be ‘airbrushing’ this aspect of the disease out of the picture.

And government too, needs pushing.

Over the past 12 months, as part of the Brexit debate, we have been part of the lobby to ensure the UK stays inside the EU Chemical Regulatory regime known as REACH. Helen Hayes MP has been incredibly supportive of our work on this. Last October, she hosted our Westminster Portculllis House event ‘Brexit and Breast Cancer’, and she recently submitted a Written Parliamentary Question on this same issue to Secretary of State for the environment Michael Gove on behalf of From Pink to Prevention and our partner The Alliance for Cancer Prevention.

There are ever more studies linking everyday exposures to harmful chemicals to ill-health, including breast cancer.  And more of the public are becoming aware of the problem, often in spite of the mainstream – be it the ‘pinking’ of breast cancer and superficial (or worse, biased) media reporting in relation to risk factors, or the failure of both breast cancer research charities and government cancer plans to include or address environmental and occupational risk factors.

Rachel Carson could clearly see why these deliberate omissions will, in the end, take their toll on the health of all living creatures.

“We poison the gnats in a lake and the poison travels from link to link of the food chain and soon the birds of the lake margins become its victims. We spray our elms and the following springs are silent of robin song, not because we sprayed th e robins directly but because the poison traveled, step by step, through the now familiar elm leaf-earthworm-robin cycle. These are matters of record, observable, part of the visible world around us. They reflect the web of life ­ or death ­ that scientists know as ecology.”
Rachel Carson.

Here, Margaret Atwood’s articleon why Rachel Carson is a Saint.

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. 
Continue reading Celebrating A Visionary Citizen Scientist

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

Continue reading Vital Call: MPs want post-Brexit UK to keep to EU’s main chemicals law REACH

All the very best for 2017 and keep campaigning!

As we came to the end of a busy and productive year, we were delighted to be invited to write an article for ‘Women & Environments’ – a leading international magazine based in Canada and celebrating its 40th anniversary.  Just published, From Pink to Prevention’s contribution is on pink-washing with cartoon illustrations by Diana Ward.  It’s one of a number of excellent articles – you can read our piece on “Pinkwashing and the Breast Cancer Prevention Movement” here

http://www.yorku.ca/weimag/CURRENTISSUE/index.html

To all our friends, colleagues and supporters, we send all the very best for 2017 and  keep campaigning!!

Helen, Diana, Deb & Ho-Chih

Review: A Pacifist’s Guide to the War on Cancer

It wasn’t the subject matter which put me off, it was the singing. I’ve never liked musicals, not even supposed comedy ones, the songs always seem contrived, the melody sadly lacking in favour of the words which only serve to further the story or punch line. But I was pleasantly surprised by the catchy tunes by Tom Parkinson in a Pacifist’s Guide to the War on Cancer sung by the cast of Complicite and the beautiful voice of Naana Agyei-Ampadu along with a wonderful cast and a touching performance from Amanda Hadingue. In fact some of them are still going around in my head. The refrain ‘my poor, poor body’ that particularly resonated as it evoked the care we feel surge in ourselves when our body enters the ‘Kingdom of the Sick’ as defined by Susan Sontag.

The book, a Pacifist’s Guide to the War on Cancer by Bryony Kimmings and Brian Lobel translated into a stage production by the wonderful Complicite (having seen nearly every production by Complicite, it was one of the reasons I was keen to see this) and it is a very heartfelt and honest production. Certainly a brave attempt to expose the many unspoken aspects of cancer that patients recognise as so familiar yet so hidden.
Continue reading Review: A Pacifist’s Guide to the War on Cancer

Pink-washing at its most extreme

This October, the US Navy and Israeli Air Force each took a pink fighter jet to the sky to join the fight against breast cancer.  In the USA, the F9F-8 Cougar was painted a vibrant shade of pink called “Heliconia.” USS Lexington Director of Operations and Exhibits Rusty Reustle got the idea from a technique he saw during the filming of “Pearl Harbor.” The pink paint job is not permanent. A dishwashing liquid is added to the latex paint to make it removable.

These jets are weapons of war. This outrageous PR act serves only one end – to spin a weapon of war as a benign tool for public health and in neither country should this be allowed to stand. Continue reading Pink-washing at its most extreme