Transcript: President’s Cancer Panel Report on Environmental Risk
Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.
The official U.S. Presidential Cancer Panel Report from the National Cancer Institute on Reducing Environmental Cancer Risk. What can we do now? That’s what we need. We know there’s a problem, but what can we do about it?
First, to review: one and a half million new cases of cancer a year. Men, women, and children, and half a million deaths. “With the growing body of evidence linking environmental exposures to cancer, the public is becoming increasingly aware of the unacceptable burden of cancer resulting from environmental and occupational exposures that could have been prevented through appropriate national action.” Especially children, who “are considerably more vulnerable than adults to increased cancer risk from virtually all harmful exposures.”
Unfortunately, the report concludes, “the grievous harm from this group of carcinogens has not been addressed adequately by the National Cancer Program. The American people—even before they are born—are bombarded continually with myriad combinations of these dangerous exposures. The Panel urges you, Mr. President, most strongly to use the power of your office to remove the carcinogens and other toxins from our food, water, and air that needlessly increase health care costs, cripple our Nation’s productivity, and devastate American lives.”
Strong words, but, what can we do? They don’t give much dietary guidance. Basically they just say, choose organic and free-range: “Exposure to pesticides can be decreased by choosing, to the extent possible, food grown without pesticides or chemical fertilizers and washing conventionally grown produce to remove residues. Similarly, exposure to antibiotics, growth hormones, and toxic run-off from livestock feed lots can be minimized by eating free-range meat raised without these medications if it is available. Avoiding or minimizing consumption of processed, charred, and well-done meats will reduce exposure to carcinogenic heterocyclic amines and polyaromatic hydrocarbons.”
Unfortunately, they don’t go into specifics, in terms of which types of fruits and vegetables, and which types of meat are the most contaminated. I assume they avoided going into the details so as to not upset any particular agriculture sectors, but it does diminish the report’s practical usefulness.
Thankfully, though, there is a large body of new evidence now, in which thousands of different food samples have been tested, to help guide our day-to-day grocery store decisions—which we will cover next.
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