Cancer Prevention: The Toxic Tour

 

Blue Plaque no logo copy

 FROM PINK TO PREVENTION:

Cancer Prevention ~ A Toxic Tour ~ London, Saturday 29th June 12-2pm
The Alliance for Cancer Prevention and Tipping Point Film Fund in association with The Organic Pharmacy have come together around a programme of events designed to increase the debate and public awareness on the links between breast cancer, the workplace and the wider environment. These events include film screenings of PINK RIBBONS INC with discussions and a ‘toxic tour’.

The Programme for theWalk
The route will take place in green spaces, shops, outside parliament and the Emmeline Pankhurst Statue in Westminster; it will take approximately 2 hours. Starting point is at Christchurch Gardens, Victoria by the Suffragette Statue for 12 noon. We will go to the South Bank afterwards for drinks. The tour will leave commemorative blue plaques to mark our visit illustrating that cancer prevention does not live in the related tour visit sites. RSVP to: info@tippingpointfilmfund.com for places.

Download the information as a pdf here

From Pink to Prevention ~ what do we mean?
Despite the overwhelming presence of the Pink Ribbon and all its (global) attendant activities, environmental and occupational links to breast cancer struggle to be included in the debate. Why is this? What stands in the way of these critical elements being discussed?

As the disease reaches ‘epidemic’ proportions where more and more women face a diagnosis of breast cancer and far too many women lose their lives to the disease, are we doing the very best we can to ensure the debate addresses ALL possible causes of he disease? The time has come for all the key players – cancer charities, industry, drugs companies, the medical fraternity and government (whom many campaigners and authors describe as ‘the cancer establishment’) to recognise and acknowledge the role of environmental and occupational factors in this complex disease. This means doing something about it. The Alliance for Cancer Prevention wants to see environmental and occupational risk factors for breast and other cancers included and addressed in the National Cancer plans and strategies on cancer throughout England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

About:

The Alliance for Cancer Prevention
Formed in 2009, the Alliance is a multi-stakeholder group which includes representatives from; NGOs, environmental and occupational health organisations, trade unions, public health advocates and civil society groups, working together on cancer prevention. The Alliance aims to challenge the existing perception of control and treatment of cancer being the best way forward and get equal recognition for primary prevention. We work to ensure that the cancer establishment acknowledges the environmental and occupational risk factors for preventable cancers. Alliance members campaign on issues independently and together to work collectively and strategically to identify the interconnection between the environmental, occupational, social factors and the combined exposures.

Tipping Point Film Fund
TPFF supports social action, non-fiction films for cinema with an international reach. We are a not for profit co-operative raising donations from individuals, groups and organisations who believe in using the power of film to make change. Our roots are deep in the social action campaigning world where, to understand the big issues affecting all of us, you need to dive deep into the structures that underpin them. TPFF also partners with other organisations to organise events for the public, with a film and/or campaigning focus. It is supported by The Co-operative.

The Organic Pharmacy
The Organic Pharmacy was founded by Margo Marrone – a pharmacist and homeopath who first became aware of chemical overload on the human body during the 1990’s. She opened her first Organic Pharmacy store in London in 2002 to address this ever growing concern about harmful chemicals in cosmetics and built the business on the principles of honesty, integrity, purity, quality and green environmental thinking. Ten years on it is still a family run business and one that has supported campaigns addressing environmental links to breast cancer.

The ‘Toxic Tour’ Concept
No running, no fundraising- just a ‘what do you know?’ tour giving you the lowdown on why we need to tackle environmental and occupational links to a disease that affects an increasing number of women of all ages. The alternative tourist-health walk taks in parks, shops and outside parliament. It will give you a whole new perspective on how you can influence the key players in the breast cancer debate in the effort to get them to take on board a much ignored aspect – the environment around us, from our first environment the womb, through our work and lived environments. By address the issue of breast cancer prevention we will look at all cancers connected to environmental and occupational exposures.

The notion of the ‘toxic tours’ originated in the USA with tours held annually in San Francisco and the ‘bucket brigades’ which held tours to test the air quality around nearby industries which was harming community health. The tours advocate for civil rights and environmental justice. The first ‘toxic tour’ in the UK was organised by Helen Lynn and the Women’s Environmental Network (WEN) and held in London. Subsequent tours were held in Wales with WEN Wales and Scotland in conjunction with WEN Scotland. This is the second tour of this kind in London, linking environmental and occupational links to cancers in general and breast cancer in particular, again in London.

Why a ‘ toxic tour’?
Take an historic tour through the dark and murky back streets of breast cancer politics. Learn about why rates of the disease have risen by 90% over the last 40 years yet little is being done to prevent it. Gain a new perspective on why certain occupations carry with them an increased risk of breast cancer, up to 5 times the average rate. Hear about why breast cancer is a 21st century disease, an epidemic of our time and how it is related to not just our lifestyle – which accounts for less than 30%-50% of the cases – but is connected to a cocktail of toxic chemicals that begins through exposure in the womb and persists forever after – pre and post birth in our living and working environments.

Wonder why this 21st century disease is still being addressed with an 18th century solution, question who is financially benefiting from breast and other cancers and investigate the long-standing inaction on this issue by the cancer establishment. Boldly go where no one has gone before and understand what primary prevention means and how a life-long low level exposure to hormone disrupting chemicals, carcinogens, and other chemicals and substances linked to breast and other cancers need to be more widely known about and acted upon.

Speakers and Contributors

Prof Andrew Watterson (University of Stirling)
Prof. Watterson is the Director of the Centre for Public Health and Population Health Research, at the University of Stirling, Scotland where he also heads up the Occupational and Environmental Health Research Group. His interests include occupational cancer prevention, fracking and biomass hazards, regulation of hazards and risks, costs of occupational diseases, PAR and lay epidemiology. He has acted as an adviser to the World Health Organisation and is on the editorial boards of IJOEH and Environmental Health.

Dr Ana Porroche-Escudero
Ana is a dedicated activist and educator on gender and health. She has initiated workshops and campaigns on gender violence ad is fascinated by the powerful combination of activism, art and innovative methods. She is a member of the Breast Cancer Consortium Advisory Board which is an international platform dedicated to changing the conversation on breast cancer through public and scientific discussions. She is currently organising a series of sessions on Breast Cancer Awareness in Brighton and recently showed the film Pink Ribbons Inc there along with other committed activists. She is an associate tutor at the University of Sussex.

Helen Lynn (Alliance for Cancer Prevention)
Helen has campaigned on cancer prevention since 1995 and is a freelance campaigner/ researcher at Wildcard Research. She worked as health Co-ordinator for 12 years at the Women’s Environmental Network and as co-director. Helen has worked at  local, national and international levels on issues connection women’s health and the environment they live and work in. She was  co-founder of the Alliance for Cancer Prevention, which campaigns for the recognition of environmental and occupational risk  factors for cancer.

Hilda Palmer (Hazards Campaign)
Co-ordinator of Greater Manchester Hazards Centre, Chair of Hazards Campaign and facilitator of Families against Corporate Killing (FACK). Hilda organises the annual Hazards Conference which is the UK’s biggest educational and organising event for trade union safety reps and activists. Hilda works and campaigns tirelessly against injustice, and for equality, better health and safety at work, in the environment and community.

Maria Arnold (Client Earth)
Maria works at ClientEarth, leading the Healthy Air Campaign which combines work to engage communities at the local level with policy advocacy at a UK level.  Previously Health Policy Analyst at the Sustainable Development Commission, she has worked to embed sustainable policy and practices within the NHS and Department of Health, with a particular emphasis on the link between health and the environment.
She has also managed environmental and public health projects at Southwark Council.

Nick Mole (PAN UK)
Pesticide Action Network UK (PAN UK) is the only organisation that works on every aspect of global pesticide issues including threats to the environment and human health from their use. Nick is the policy officer with PAN UK. He works on UK and EU issues that includes trying to stop the use of bee toxic pesticides, encouraging London’s parks and green spaces to go pesticide free and advising the public on health issues related to pesticide exposure.

Deborah Burton (Tipping Point North South)
Deborah co-founded Tipping Point Film Fund in 2009 to provide support to theatrical feature documentaries, with integrated
campaign outreach on global issues and has worked on the breast cancer prevention issue for many years.

MORE INFORMATION
There are many ways to get more involved in learning about environmental and occupational links to breast cancer. Everything
from simply informing yourself better, through to thinking twice about the products you buy, to taking action, as a concerned
worker, consumer and citizen.

LEARN MORE
Read about the history, politics, economics, and social aspects of breast cancer and the health care system – Pink Ribbons,
Inc. by Samantha King is a good place to start. Breast Cancer Consortium Resources and Alliance for Cancer Prevention Resources.

Evaluate health news stories with a critical eye. Health News Review provides excellent criteria on what consumers need to
know in stories on treatments, tests, products, and procedures and why. Health News Review.

COSMETICS: Organic Pharmacy
Pay attention to what is in the products you buy—to check out cosmetics ingredients
http://www.theorganicpharmacy.com/Images/Content/ExpertAdvice/FactSheets/Files/462.pdf
http://www.breastcancerfund.org/clear-science/chemicals-linked-to-breast-cancer/cosmetics/
WEN Careful Beauty list: www.wen.org.uk 

CONSUMER AND OCCUPATIONAL: Alliance for Cancer Prevention
Find out about issues linking cancer to exposures in the home, workplace and wider environment
Hazards Website: www.hazards.org
Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDCs):  www.edc-free-europe.org
ChemTrust / EDCs and Breast Cancer: www.chemtrust.org.uk

PINKWASHING
Think Before You Pink™, a project of Breast Cancer Action. Think Before you Pink
TAKE ACTION As well as getting more informed on all these issues you can also find out more about what your elected
representatives are doing and try asking some basic questions!

  • Ask your MP why environmental and occupational risk factors for breast cancer are NOT included in all national cancers plans and strategies right across England, Wales, Scotland Northern Ireland
  • Write to your MEP voicing your concern about the lack of proper regulation in connection with toxic chemicals such as endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) linked to breast cancer in consumer products.
  • Visit the recommended websites for vital information on how you can take action and follow up campaign information.
  • Download information as PDF.

Disclaimer: Please note this tour is a purely voluntary initiative, no funding was received to run the tour or none of those involved contributed anything to the event bar their time. All the speakers are contributing freely of their time and the organisers are all volunteers.

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A very big ‘thank-you’ to all our contributors taking part in our day’s events

 

International Workers’ Memorial Day

Worldwide, hundreds of thousands die in workplace ‘accidents’, millions die of occupational diseases like cancer. Every year. Union organisation is the remedy, prevention is the only cure. Find an event near you and support the action. Hazards Magazine IWDM page.

Leading scientists call for urgent action on EDCs

A letter signed by a group of leading scientists urges action from the the WHO/UNEP/OECD through SAICM (Startegic Approach to International Chemcial Management) on endocrine Disrupting chemicals (EDCs).

Why should you worry about EDCs? Currently they are not adequately controlled, in fact many remain unidentified yet they can affect life itself and our ability to live it in a healthy state. They affect our hormones such as oestrogen and testosterone, and can interfere with how hormones regulate every system in the body, via our endocrine system, even while we are developing in the womb.

We are at  risk of exposure through everyday life lived in our homes, workplaces, schools and in the wider environment, through the manufacturing, use and disposal of products and the delivery of services. In fact we cannot escape exposure! And these chemicals have the ability to build up in our bodies and be passed on to the next generation.

So what can we do?
Support all calls for regulation of these chemicals and substances, especially now while legislation is under preparation in the EU.

Write, ring or email your MEPs and ask them as your elected representatives if they are voting to protect you health and the health of future generations, while you are at work, at home or in school.

Ask them if they really want to protect our environment and all the wildlife we share this planet with? Ask if products are EDC free? Lobby trade unions to support the call for an EDC free workplace.

The letter can be found here: http://ipen.org/pdfs/letter_edcs_in_saicim_20_april_2013.pdf

For more information on EDCs visit www.edc-free-europe.org

Primary prevention of women’s occupational cancer does not mean taking a ‘3 monkeys’ approach.

SONY DSC
The Alliance for Cancer Prevention and the Hazards Campaign joined forces to create a photo op outside the HSE meeting on Tackling Occupational Disease -Developing New Approaches, to draw attention to the lack of focus on women’ occupational and environmental cancers.

Press release: Tackling occupational cancer should mean prevention it, not taking a ‘3 monkeys’ approach. 

Piece from the Safety and Health Practitioner: here

Video of the demo: here

Thought Provoking Questions Raised in Breast Cancer Debate


Pink ribbosn inc screening brighton

The Alliance for Cancer Prevention took part in a screening of Pink Ribbons Inc in Brighton on the 13th March 2013. The event organised for the Ngender seminar series by Ana Porroche-Escudero and Grazia de Michele was very well attended and there was a very thought provoking discussion afterwards.

Read the blog piece from the Ngender Seminar site below:

Thanks to all who participated in a lively and inspiring evening around breast cancer awareness. After the Pink Ribbons, Inc. film, our three panelists briefly introduced themselves, their experiences and their work.

Helen Lynn has been campaigning for 17 years for breast cancer. She believes breast cancer can be viewed as a form of violence against women; women are consigned to what could be a preventable disease as chemicals that are in everyday use remain largely untested, or even worse, they continue to be used after they have been linked to cancer. Hence, women are exposed needlessly and wilfully to chemicals which are linked to the disease. The organisation, Alliance for Cancer Prevention brings women and men together to work on these issues. More here.

 

Tackling occupational cancer should mean preventing it, not taking a ‘3 monkeys’ approach

Press Release

13/3/13

smaller poster copy (2)

Photo-op 8.30am Thursday 14th March, British Library, Gate No 5 Midland Road.

Campaigners against occupational and environmental cancer will hold a photo op outside the British Library, HSE conference on Tackling Occupational Diseases.  Women’s work-cancer is almost totally ignored by the HSE so campaigners will leave bras behind as a protest against the denial, delay and dithering that will kill more women from breast cancer especially.

Government, employers and the Health and Safety Executive are consigning thousands of workers to occupational cancer by their ‘3 monkeys’ approach to ‘tackling’ occupational disease.  Occupational cancer kills up to 18,000 men and women each year (1) yet action on prevention has been side-lined in favour of yet more research, and still work-related cancer in women is virtually ignored condemning more women to suffer and die.

HSE’s old fashioned, outdated approaches miss many modern workplace risks but especially ignore women’s cancers, specifically breast cancer, as researchers have recently shown (2, 3).  Campaigners will reinforce this point by leaving their bras outside the British Library as a protest against this approach.

“The Hazards Campaign has accused the HSE of dithering, denying and delaying over occupational cancer, and employers and government are also guilty of doing almost nothing on prevention for all work-cancers.  But this ‘3 monkeys’ approach is especially deadly for work-related cancer in women which has been completely ignored, under-researched and so much less likely to be targeted for preventative action.”  Said Hilda Palmer of the Hazards Campaign.

“Occupational and environmental breast cancer is largely preventable and we hope this strategic meeting organised by the HSE will call for that.  For female cancers, specifically breast cancer, not to act now in a precautionary way, applying existing knowledge to reduce the occupational and environmental risk factors could be viewed as an act of wilful neglect.”  Said Helen Lynn from the Alliance for Cancer Prevention.

Traditional approaches to try and regulate the amount of exposure to certain chemicals in occupational and environmental settings are unworkable in light of what we know about chemicals which interfere with our endocrine systems (the body’s messenger system).  These endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) are intrinsically linked with cancer and act singularly and in combination to increase the risk of breast and other cancers.

WHO estimates that as much as 24% of human diseases and disorders are at least partly due to environmental factors including chemical exposures. The report states: “Many endocrine diseases and disorders are on the rise and the speed at which they are increasing rules out genetic factors as the sole plausible explanation” (4)

Recent research highlighting excesses of breast cancer in occupations such as agricultural, automotive plastics, and food canning industries found women workers had elevated breast cancer risk, up to 5 times higher than the controls in certain sectors such as automotive plastics (3)

And yet another paper on the issue stated: “Primary prevention of cancer of environmental and occupational origin reduces cancer incidence and mortality, and is highly cost effective; in fact, it is not just socially beneficial because it reduces medical and other costs, but because it avoids many human beings suffering from cancer.” (5)

The United Steelworkers union in the US has acted immediately on this research by alerting their members and calling for substitution, chemical law reform and health and safety improvements.(6)

Yet the UK cancer establishment continued to assure women there is no need to worry and falls back on the archaic and limited risk reduction strategy of better diet, more exercise and limiting alcohol. (7)

Hilda Palmer of the Hazards campaign says: “We want this HSE meeting to make publicly explicit the extent, and preventable nature, of all occupational cancers; that prevention must be prioritised by government, employers and the HSE; that exposure to all cancer risks must be eliminated or reduced to as low a level as possible, and that women’s cancer risks must now be targeted for prevention”

Helen Lynn. Alliance for Cancer Prevention 07960033687
www.allianceforcancerprevention.org.uk

Hilda Palmer. Hazards Campaign: 079298 00240
www.hazardscampaign.org.uk

Event photo here.

Notes to Editor:

  1. Burying the evidence Hazards Magazine.
  2. ‘This man knows all about cancer Article on the work of Simon Pickvance. Hazards 117, Rory O’Neill
  3. J. T. Brophy et al., “Breast Cancer Risk in Relation to Occupations with Exposure to Carcinogens and Endocrine Disruptors: A Canadian Case-Control Study,Environmental Health 11(87) (2012): 1-17, doi: 10.1186/1476-069X-11-87
  4. WHO/UNEP report on the State of the Science for Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals Report.
  5. Espina C, Porta M, et al. Environmental and Occupational Interventions for Primary Prevention of Cancer: A Cross-Sectorial Policy Framework. Environ Health Perspect. Advanced publication here.
  6. United Steelworkers Hazards Alert on occupational breast cancer.
  7. Does your job increase your breast cancer risk? Breakthrough comments on the recent research published in Canada that links occupation to an increased risk of developing breast cancer. Here.

 

USA: Stronger chemical laws ‘spur innovation’

Stronger laws to regulate hazardous chemicals spur innovation, with potential benefits for national economies, as well as human health and the environment, according to a new report. ‘Driving innovation: How stronger laws help bring safer chemicals to market’, published by the Washington DC-based Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL), concludes that tougher rules to manage chemicals at the global, regional and national levels have sparked the continuous invention of safer chemicals, accelerating the pace at which safer alternatives are developed, and pulled them into the market. “Our study finds that stronger laws governing hazardous chemicals can not only drive innovation, but also create a safer marketplace,” said Baskut Tuncak, staff attorney at CIEL and author of the report. “Well-designed laws spark the invention of alternatives and further help level the playing field to enable safer chemicals to overcome barriers to entry, such as economies of scale enjoyed by chemicals already on the market and the externalised costs of hazardous chemicals on human health.” The report highlights the human health-related costs of intrinsically hazardous chemicals, such as endocrine (hormone) disrupting chemicals, and recommends their systematic phase-out under international laws. It calls for ‘internalisation’ of the cost of hazardous chemicals by industry, including proving the safety of chemicals on the market and for stronger treaties to create a level playing field globally. (By Rory O’Neill)

Original piece from Risks on line bulletin for health and safety reps and others: subscribe here.

CIEL news release and full report, Driving innovation: How stronger laws help bring safer chemicals to market, CIEL, February 2013. Forbes.com.

Silent Killer: What they don’t want you to know.

Canadian newspiece on occupational cancer exposures rising women’s risk of breast cancer. Women are being exposed to a ‘toxic soup’ of carcinogens and hormone disrupting chemicals in the workplace, which the researchers have shown can elevate breast cancer risk for those working in the plastics industry up to 10 times.

“Our regulatory system, the system which actually says how much you can be exposed to both in the environment and in the work place does not account at all for this, its not addressed”. Jim Brophy.

http://www.operationmaple.com/fyi/silent-killer