Monday, October 18, 2010


As much as I'm all for understanding environmental exposures and their connections to breast cancer and other cancers (and other diseases), I'm not entirely comfortable with the idea that we personally can avoid this and that product, and somehow save ourselves and our family from cancer. I just don't buy it.

My feeling is that the chemicals that are causing the problem are so ubiquitous that we really can't avoid them. These chemicals are in the soil and water, in our homes, and even in our bodies (even the President's Cancer Panel Report admits that "babies are born pre-polluted"). I don't think that making small changes in our lifestyles will really make a difference. But others feel differently. They feel that by eating organic food, avoiding microwaving in plastic, using natural cosmetics, etc., that they are at least doing something.

So I received this email today:

Dear Adena,

What's orange, yellow, and pink all over? The month of October! Fall's here with orange pumpkins, yellow leaves-- and the "think pink" campaign of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Everything is adorned with pink ribbons, from yogurt cups to NFL football helmets. But our friends at the Breast Cancer Fund know that it's not enough to just be aware of breast cancer. We need to start preventing this disease and protect our families from cancer!

Please join MomsRising and the Breast Cancer Fund for a free and important webinar briefing to learn about practical ways to protect your family from cancer causing toxins. We’ll talk about how parents can make safer purchases and choices for their families and participate in a larger movement to protect children from toxic exposures.
This hour-long, web-based presentation, based on the Breast Cancer Fund’s report "2010 State of the Evidence: The Connection between Breast Cancer and the Environment," will emphasize the newest science connecting exposure to unsafe chemicals and radiation to increased risk of breast cancer. This important report catalogues the growing evidence linking breast cancer to, among other factors, synthetic hormones in cosmetics and meat; pesticides in food; solvents in household cleaning products; BPA in food containers; flame retardants in furniture; and radiation from medical treatments. We know exposures early in life are linked to breast cancer later in life and other health concerns, which means it’s especially important to protect children from environmental chemicals and radiation.
See what I mean? I agree with them up to a point, but then, I don't agree with the idea that we have the ability to "protect our children from environmental chemicals and radiation." I just don't think we are that powerful. I think much bigger changes -- in manufacturing practices, in lawn care practices, and so on -- will be needed to really change things. Sorry, I don't mean to be a downer, but that's how I feel.

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