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Toward a Cancer Free Economy December, 2013. Lowell Center for Sustainable Production Premise. Our systems of production and consumption are not only root causes of environmental and health problems, but also significant contributors to solutions. . Collaborating partners.

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lowell center for sustainable production premise
Lowell Center for Sustainable ProductionPremise
  • Our systems of production and consumption are not only root causes of environmental and health problems, but also significant contributors to solutions. 
collaborating partners
Collaborating partners
  • Jamaica Plain New Economy Transition (JPNET)
    • Chuck Collins, Carlos Espinoza-Toro
  • Lowell Center for Sustainable Production
    • Dick Clapp, Polly Hoppin, Molly Jacobs
  • Jamaica Plain Centre-South Main Streets
    • Mary Hannon
  • Toxics Action Center
    • Sylvia Broude, Claire Miller
  • Funding/technical assistance: Toxics Use Reduction Institute
    • Joy Onasch
are we winning
Are we winning?
  • 1 million people will be diagnosed with cancer in the US this year
  • 13 million people in the U.S. are living with cancer
  • Direct costs in 2009: $243 billion
  • Since the 1970’s, billions of dollars spent on cancer research
    • National Institutes of Health
    • Volunteer organizations
      • American Cancer Society
      • Komen for the cure
      • Pan Mass Challenge
slide6

Yet rates of some kinds of cancer are dramatically increasing. These 4 also have well-established environmental causes.

Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma

Thyroid

Kidney

Liver

All ages, both sexes

slide7

Deaths from childhood cancer have been falling for 35 years…

But the numbers of kids getting the disease rises steadily

All cancers, <20 years old

Rapidly increasing number of cancer survivors

All cancer, all children <20 years, U.S. SEER data

why are cancer rates rising
Why are cancer rates rising?
  • It’s not genes
    • These trends are too rapid
  • It’s (mostly) not better diagnosis
    • There have been only modest improvements in cancer diagnosis since the 1970s (e.g. PSA test for prostate cancer).
  • That leaves environmental causes
    • Diet, water, air pollution, chemicals in food, indoor environment
slide9

The (broken) production cycle of the chemicals economy

Chemical production

Product manufacturing

Oil refining

Wholesaling

Oil production

Retailing

Disposal

Consumption

Lowell Center for Sustainable Production 9/28/13

slide10

Carcinogensare released at every step:

air, water, soil, food contamination.

CANCER

CANCER

Chemical production

CANCER

Product manufacturing

Oil refining

Wholesaling

Oil production

Retailing

Disposal

CANCER

Consumption

CANCER

CANCER

Lowell Center for Sustainable Production 9/28/13

slide11

The production cycle causes cancers.

The cancer organizations could intervene more effectively

Cancer Organizations

  • Research on cure
  • Research on early diagnosis
  • Patient support
  • Prevention: healthy behaviors
  • Prevention: environmental

Lowell Center for Sustainable Production 9/28/13

how cancer develops
How Cancer Develops
  • A complex, multi-causal disease
  • Six or eight “hallmarks” that have to occur before a cell becomes a cancer cell
  • But, “virtually all cancer is BOTH genetic and environmental”
    • Factors outside the body cause genetic damage inside the body
    • Can be multiple exposures that cause a series of genetic changes over many years
chemicals in the environment workplaces part of a comprehensive cancer prevention strategy
Chemicals in the Environment & Workplaces: Part of a Comprehensive Cancer Prevention Strategy
slide14

President’s Cancer Panel

“The true burden of environmentally induced cancers has been grossly underestimated.”

The panel recommended “removing carcinogens and other toxins from our food, water, and air that needlessly increase healthcare costs, cripple our nation’s productivity and devastate American lives.”

encouraging words from federal panel
Encouraging words from federal panel

“A precautionary prevention-oriented approach should replace current reactionary approaches to environmental contaminants in which human harm must be proven before action is taken to reduce or eliminate exposure”

encouraging words from federal panel1
Encouraging words from federal panel

“‘Green chemistry’ initiatives and research, including process redesign, should be pursued and supported more aggressively…”

slide17

The goal of a cancer free economy can drive innovation

Green Chemistry:

“Green chemistry is the utilization of a set of principles that reduces or eliminates the use or generation of hazardous substances in the design, manufacture and application of chemical products.”

-Anastas and Warner, Green Chemistry: Theory and Practice, 1998

some initial steps
Some initial steps
  • Inventory businesses that use cancer-causing substances
    • Dry cleaners that use PCE (perchloroethylene)
      • Linked to bladder cancer & NHL
    • Auto body shops that use degreasing solvents (e.g. TCE (trichloroethylene) and repair asbestos brake shoes
      • Linked to NHL, leukemia, kidney & liver cancers (TCE), lung cancer & mesothelioma (asbestos)
    • Nail salons/beauty salons that use formaldehydeand that release from products VOCs (volatile organic compounds)
      • Linked to leukemia and nasal cancers (formaldehyde)
  • Promote safer alternatives
    • Boston Public Health Commission Green & Clean program
    • TURI wet cleaning processes