Say No to Hormone Disrupting Chemcials

Say no to hormone disrupting chemicals EN bannerA new campaign platform has been launched to help EU citizens input into the public consultation on hormone disrupting chemicals or EDCs. These harmful chemicals can be found in a myriad of different products we come into close contact with each and every day whether at home, work or in the wider environment. They have the ability to build up in our bodies and scientific evidence links exposure to hormone disrupting chemicals to breast or testicular cancer, fertility problems, diabetes and obesity as well as learning and behavioural problems in children. We do not need these chemicals in our lives any more.

Now is the time to SAY “NO” TO HORMONE DISRUPTING CHEMICALS found in our food, cosmetics, homes, work places, schools, hospitals and many more!

WE NEED YOUR HELP!

Send a strong message to the European Commission in less than 2 minutes!  Help us push back against the industry lobbying that may otherwise weaken action on hormone disrupting chemicals at the expense of people’s health, the environment and wildlife!

This is the only chance you will have to directly give your opinion and to make yourself heard in Brussels. Use it!

Tell the European Commission now that you want to find and remove all hormone disrupting chemicals from our lives to protect our health! Take Action here via our easy to use online platform to answer the consultation! http://no2hormonedisruptingchemicals.org/en

Information release on EDCs

Press Release from EDC Free Europe

Principles for transparency, excellence and independence in scientific advice to the European Commission

In August 2014 a coalition of NGOs including the Alliance wrote a letter to the President-elect of the European Commission, Mr Jean-Claude Juncker, questioning the role of Chief Scientific Adviser (CSA) to the EU Commission. The intention of the letter was to stimulate debate about how scientific policy advice was structured and to highlight the risks in concentrating the power of delivering this advice into the hands of one person via the role of CSA. Vested interests realised long ago this role makes it easier to control. The UK is one of the few remaining EU countries which maintains a CSA post.

The EU CSA post was abolished in November amind allegations from various sources in the UK and beyond of this being ‘anti-science’, which couldn’t be further from the truth. The NGO coalition drafted another letter outlining a set of common principles for excellence, independence and transparence. These we believe can improve and inform existing scientific advisory institutions and processes, as well as the new scientific advisory structure the EU.

The principles outline the importance the NGOs place on unbiased, well balanced and current science advice given as a vital tool to aid and inform EU policy. But sometimes science on its own may not be able to fully determine the right course of action. Other societal factors must be considered along with a precautionary approach when there is uncertainty in relation to the health and safety of the EU citizens.

The alliance thinks that current lack of consideration given to, and therefore action taken on new and emerging science covering issues like EDCs, other chemicals, substances and work practices linked to the increasing rates of workplace and environmental cancers has contributed to the rising rates of cancer. We are very concerned that further scientific advice be given through an open and transparent process, and that the most current, unbiased and well rounded sceintifi advice must be taken when determining health and safety. After all our very health depends on it.

More information on the issue available here.



 

The need for independent, objective and transparent scientific advice to the EC should be self evident

letterletter sent on the 19/8/14 to the President-elect of the European Commission, Mr Jean-Claude Juncker signed by 25 NGO’s asked for the post of Chief Scientific Adviser be abolished.

The letter is a follow up to a previous letter expressing concern that the post is: “fundamentally problematic as it concentrates too much influence in one person, and undermines in-depth scientific research and assessments carried out by or for the Commission directorates in the course of policy elaboration”.

Scientific advice given to the president by the current CSA is not publically available making the process un-transparent. The signatories support the principle that scientific advice should be independent and objective, and the process transparent. NGOs are worried that by placing all the onus on one person for the whole of EU policy, this would make the principle difficult to uphold.

“The influence of corporate lobbyists is made even easier by the fact that the CSA of the European Commission has no obligation to publish the advice given to the President,” the NGOs say.

Among EU countries, only the UK maintains the position of CSA as a full-time government office.

Policy should not be swayed by vested interests, and the scientific resources consulted to inform decisions on the health and well-being of EU citizens and workers should be made available along with the advice given, in a spirit of democracy. The need for independent, objective and transparent scientific advice to the EC should be self evident.

Greenpeace has issued a press release on the issue and there is a press piece on the letter from Euractiv here.

 

Monumental ruling on Diesel fumes and Lung cancer

From Risks Newsletter by Rory O’Neill

A decision to award compensation to the widow of a bus maintenance worker who died of diesel exhaust-related lung cancer has been hailed as a ‘monumental’ breakthrough by his union.

Anthony Nigro, a member of Transport Workers’ Union (TWU) Local 100 in New York, USA, died a few months after retiring in 2012. His oncologist told his widow, Dorota, he believed diesel exhaust exposure in his 28 years working for the New York City Transit Authority was the cause of his cancer.

Lawyer Robert Grey, who filed a workers’ compensation claim on behalf of the family, said this is “the first case where a Workers’ Compensation Board, or any other court, has recognised the cause and effect of diesel to occupational disease.”

The company contested the claim, noting the victim’s history of smoking. But an expert providing testimony for the family said his job provided “ample exposure… to diesel exhaust emission.” The expert witness said that while smoking was also “a likely contributor” to the lung cancer, the diesel emissions were “more likely than not a significant contributing factor in causing or aggravating” Mr Nigro’s illness and death.

In a judgment that is not being contested by the firm, Judge Jay Leibowitz ruled in favour of the family and awarded them a weekly benefit of $773, $100,000 in backdated benefits and $6,000 in funeral expenses.

Dr Frank Goldsmith, director of occupational health for the TWU local, said: “This case is really a monumental decision. It’s reminiscent of where we were with asbestos in the 1970s.” He added: “We need to find out more about diesel and cancer trends among transit workers. We need to know how many of our members have been stricken by lung cancer, and target which job titles those cancers came from.”

The family of a Canadian miner who died of diesel exhaust linked lung cancer was awarded compensation last year. In June 2012, an expert panel convened by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) reclassified diesel fume as a top rated ‘Group 1’ carcinogen.

A study published in 2013 in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives concluded almost 5 per cent of lung cancer deaths in the United States and the United Kingdom may be due to workplace exposure to diesel exhaust.

To sign up for Risks click here.

Cocktail of pesticides found in french children’s hair

spraying vines
Generations Futures have done a number of studies on pesticide usage in France and the resulting impact on those who work in vineyards or live nearby.  Recent tests on children’s hair samples from those living or attended schools near to vineyards found a cocktail of pesticides some of which have already been banned.
30 children were tested for 53 pesticides suspected of being endocrine disruptors, 21 residues were found in the hair samples. The English version of the press release can be found here. Media piece.
Farmers and workers exposed to pesticides formed a group L’association Phyto-Victimes and produced a film: Death is in the Meadows about the affects of pesticides on farmers, their families and communities. Media piece.
Previous tests on 40 bottles of EU wine found on average each wine contained pesticides concentrations up to 230 times higher than would be legally allowed in drinking water. You can read the report here.
We should be eliminating these hazardous pesticides in our food and drink chains. And maybe its time to persuade french wine growers to go organic and protect the health of vineyard workers, nearby communities and their children and the consumer.

Ground-breaking breast cancer research wins international award

andrew watterson (smaller)

 Dr. James Brophy and Dr. Margaret Keith (picture from the Windsor Star) and Prof Andrew Watterson.

Researchers from the University of Stirling’s Occupational and Environmental Health Research Group (OEHRG), receive an International Award from the American Public Health Association for their research which found that women working in certain occupational sectors face an elevated breast cancer risk.

The two studies were led by Dr James Brophy and Dr Margaret Keith, of Stirling’s OEHRG and the University of Windsor, Ontario, and co-author and Head of Stirling’s OEHRG, Professor Andrew Watterson.
The initial study published in Environmental Health found a 42 per cent increased breast cancer risk for any women employed in occupations where they were exposed to high levels of chemicals that were identified as either mammary carcinogens or endocrine disrupting chemicals.

The second qualitative study published in New Solutions provided additional evidence to support the findings of the first study.

The award is very well deserved and we are hugely grateful to the team of researchers for bringing some much needed clarity to the issue of occupational breast cancer. This work will be greatly appreciated by women who know the work they do is linked to their breast cancer and help with eliminating those chemicals we know are causing greatest harm to workers, but also to a lesser degree consumers and our environment. Well done all! Much congratulations.

Press release from Stirling University:

News Clip from Windsor Star:

Press Release: Alliance re-echoes call for Cancer Action Plan

For immediate release
15/10/13

We must face the stark realisation that our cancer plans and strategies are grossly outdated. Despite gains in treatment and detection still almost 900 people will be diagnosed with cancer in the UK and about half that number will die from the disease each and every day.

What is needed is a new Cancer Action Plan which specifically addresses environmental and occupational risk factors (1) for breast and other cancers with targeted actions for those risk factors and specifically allocated funding. The plan needs to encompass social, economic and gender inequalities and would need to be rolled out across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland taking into account all countries specific cancer plans and strategies.

Current cancer strategies and plans target lifestyle factors but not ‘life circumstance’ factors. (2)  Not only do strategies and plans ignore the social, economic and gender inequalities but also the interwoven and intrinsically linked environmental and occupational risk factors for cancer. There is little or no consideration given to the fact that lifestyle factors are influenced by economic and social aspects. By not addressing these confounding risk factors, strategies to tackle cancer seek to place the onus at the feet of the individual by focusing on individual instead of institutional action.

There are many barriers to action on the primary prevention of cancer; cancer is also caused by lack of political will (3). Despite high levels calls for inclusion of environmental and occupational risk factors in all cancer plans, the cancer establishment (those involved in determining the dominant thinking from government, industry and the cancer charities and organisations on cancer) continue to maintain the status quo. The onus needs to be shifted away from the feet of individuals to the feet of the cancer establishment to stem the rising incidence of a largely preventable disease. A more balanced approach is needed from the cancer establishment.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) gives a very conservative estimate of up to 24% of all human diseases are at least in part due to environmental factors which includes chemical exposures. (4) Both the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the WHO report that the incidence of chronic disease such as cancer is now greater than that of communicable disease. Twenty six different cancers alone have been linked to occupational and environmental exposures. (5)

The Alliance calls for a Cancer Action Plan which includes:

  • Environmental and occupational risk factors (determinants) addressed as risk factors for cancer in a specific Cancer Action Plan and included in all cancer plans and strategies with definitive targets for action and appropriate allocated funding.
  • Phase out of all IARC classified Group 1 carcinogens and Group 2A potential carcinogens.
  • Targeted toxics reduction across all environments, the lived, worked and the first environment, the womb.
  • Government support for green chemistry and engineering. Hazardous substances should be replaced with safe alternatives utilising the substitution principle.
  • Elimination of all toxic and man-made chemicals which are found in breast milk and cord blood.
  • Inclusion of Just Transition principles in all toxics use reduction initiatives and product lifecycle management analysis.
  • Elimination of the future use of all types of asbestos and ensure proper management of the asbestos currently in place to protect workers from asbestos exposure and to prevent future asbestos-related deaths. (6)
  • Readdress the unsustainable costs of cancer in terms of prevention.
  • Education on environmental and occupational insults for all cancer specialists.
  • Bringing cancer policy into the 21st century, by embracing new and emerging science.
  • Use of relevant language and ensuring that references to the environment and primary prevention are universal and defined in terms of stopping cancer before it starts.
  • Factoring in environmental justice principles and the right to a clean and safe environment into all cancer plans. (7)
  • Equal consideration given to precautionary and preventive approaches to cancer alongside better treatment and care.

Considerable work has been done over the last few decades to try and get recognition for environmental and occupational risk factors but with little movement from the cancer establishment. We can only speculate why this 21st century disease is still being addressed with an 18th century solution, and question who is financially benefiting from breast and other cancers, while continuing to investigate the long-standing inaction on this issue by the cancer establishment.

Background Document: Background document for Cancer Plan

The Alliance is a multi-stakeholder group which includes representatives from: NGOs, Trade Unions, environmental and occupational health organisations, public health advocates and civil society groups, working together on cancer prevention. We aim to; challenge the existing perception of control and treatment of cancer being the only way forward; get equal recognition for primary prevention and ensure that the cancer establishment acknowledges the environmental and occupational risk factors for preventable cancers.

@Cancer_Alliance
Tel: 07960033687


(1) Definition of environmental and occupational risk factors: Environmental and occupational risk factors are potential risk factors for cancer from exposure (including environmental, occupational and pre-birth exposure) to certain chemicals, substances, or particles or through ingestion, inhalation or absorption or to certain behavioural work patterns such as shift work which contribute to a cancer outcome by nature of their carcinogenic, mutagenic, or endocrine disrupting properties and abilities.

2. Prof. Andrew Watterson from Toxic Tour Report (London)  Summer 2013. (Soon to be on the alliance website).

3. Donner, L and Chernomas, R. The Cancer Epidemic as a Social Event. 2004  Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. Manitoba.

5. Environmental and Occupational Causes of Cancer (New Evidence 2005 – 2007) Richard Clapp. Lowell Centre for Sustainable Production.

6. Zero Cancer/Occupational Cancer. International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) and Global Unions.

7. Business and Human rights. A resource website. Why environmental issues are human rights issues.

Potential Public Health risks associated with fracking.

Excellent document prepared for Falkirk local authority in reference to an ‘unconventional gas extraction’ application by Dr Morag Parnell, Mb.ChB, and Jamie McKenzie Hamilton, MSc. Document calls for a ban on all exploration and recovery of “unconventional gas”. Can be downloaded here. Potential Public Health risks associated with unconventional gas extraction.