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We wish you a Happy New Year!

The Prevent Cancer Now team thanks you for your support, collaboration and words of encouragement through 2015, and wish you health, peace and happiness in 2016!

Daily exposures to some chemicals and assorted radiation may gang up to contribute to cancer and other chronic diseases. Some of us feel that we are part of a large, uncontrolled experiment affecting our health and the environment, but…

A large, uncontrolled experiment? That’s not how science works!

Scientific experiments should be conducted ethically, with forethought, detailed design, extensive data collection and analysis before conclusions can be drawn.

The current situation of willy-nilly exposure to tens of thousands of untested chemicals is not scientific. It is just plain reckless. Although a significant number of these chemicals are expected to be harmful alone and in combination, there is virtually no useful tracking of exposures, doses or effects for most of the chemicals in commerce.

Advocating for the safest approaches

In 2015, Prevent Cancer Now spoke out about contributors to cancers such as: endocrine disruptors; pesticides; petrochemicals including bitumen; wireless radiation; asbestos; trash incineration; various radioactive exposures from nuclear operations, natural sources and medical imaging; as well as federal and provincial scientific methods and processes to back claims of “safety” or otherwise, regarding our environmental exposures.

Our recommendations appeared in two Parliamentary Health Committee reports, on pesticides and radiofrequency radiation, as well as on a poster at a 2015 international conference. California’s past chief epidemiologist noted the importance of our poster on the scientific review of wireless radiation health effects.

A 2015 low-point was Health Canada’s re-assessment of glyphosate, in the popular herbicide “Roundup.” This was based upon confidential information, including an antique 1990s US dietary assessment. Glyphosate use has since increased many fold as more genetically engineered Roundup-tolerant crops are being planted. The International Agency for Research on Cancer had recently found that glyphosate probably causes human cancer (see PCN glyphosate overview, Health Canada submission, and summary of recent scientific debate here and here).

Also disappointing in 2015 was a complete communications breakdown surrounding a study (wrongly) interpreted to conclude that cancer was simply a case of bad luck.

Coming up – seeking better knowledge and wise actions!

By 2020, about 1600 currently used chemicals are slated to be reviewed by Health Canada and Environment Canada, under the Chemicals Management Plan (CMP). In the initial phase (CMP1) the government identified the substances of less urgency for human health and the environment, to be assessed under the upcoming phase (CMP3). A rigorous examination of so many chemicals is untenable, so most will be screened and assessed in groups with similar chemicals. Building public confidence in the novel scientific methods, that are not yet well validated, will hinge on transparency, and precautionary approaches to uncertainties.

Assessment of needs and alternatives

Unlike Scandinavian requirements for improved public good and best practices, North American chemicals management does not include assessment of needs and alternatives. Canadian regulators need to take a critical look at Canada’s current chemical inventory and question why some chemicals are still being used when safer substitutes are available to achieve the same end point, without harming human health or the environment.

Selection of substitute chemicals is important. The most high-profile CMP action has been the banning of bisphenol A (BPA) from babies’ items; however, a common BPA substitute – bisphenol S (BPS) – appears to be no better than BPA.

Federal frameworks that determine our chemical exposures are not robust, and Health Canada lacks the necessary skills and scientific infrastructure for rigorous scientific review. Prevent Cancer Now will continue to work to identify sensible, science-backed safest options, and to make these the norm.

Please support Prevent Cancer Now’s quest for
Least-Toxic Approaches, and a
Scientific Renaissance in 2016!

Donate here and support cancer prevention.

Volunteer for a science project, public event or fundraising.

Contact us with your kudos, criticisms and requests for help.

Prevent Cancer Now is a Canadian national civil society organization including scientists, health professionals and citizens working to stop cancer before it starts, through education and advocacy to eliminate preventable causes of cancer.


For further information please contact:

Meg Sears, PhD
Co-chair and science advisor, Prevent Cancer Now