- Withholding Information
on Causes of Cancer
- EXPERIMENTAL Data is withheld
- Denying the “Right to
The cancer establishment has failed to warn the
public, the media, Congress, and regulatory agencies of well-documented
experimental evidence, based on carcinogenicity
testing in mice and rats, on a wide range of avoidable risk factors
or causes of
cancer (12). It should further be stressed that only about 2,000
(2.6%) of the 75,000 industrial chemicals in use (listed in the
Environmental Protection Agency's Toxic Substances Control Act
inventory) have as yet been tested for carcinogenicity. Since 1970,
the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has evaluated
about 900 of these tests, more than half of which did not meet
basic scientific requirements. Clearly, industry should be held
responsible for the full costs of testing the overwhelming balance
of untested or poorly tested chemicals. This testing should be
undertaken on a crash basis by the National Toxicology Program;
surprisingly, this still has only limited testing capacity.
The validity of extrapolating experimental evidence
of carcinogenicity to human risk has been fully supported for decades
by independent scientists, blue ribbon
expert federal and other expert committees, and by the World Health Organization’s
International Agency for Research on Cancer. Additionally, such evidence has
been confirmed, generally decades later, for approximately half of the epidemiologically
confirmed carcinogens (12). Of striking relevance is the December 2002 report
of the International Consortium’s Mouse Genome Project which reported
that roughly 99% of mouse genes have a functional equivalent in the human
genome, that their biological programming is amazingly similar, and that
is thus an ideal laboratory animal for investigating the molecular basis
of human disease.
Examples of carcinogens identified by experimental
Environmental and Occupational
- Based on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA's) statewide
Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) law, 6.5 billion pounds of toxic chemicals, including
nearly 100 million pounds of carcinogens (identified experimentally and/or epidemiologically),
are discharged by industry into the environment annually; however, the TRI is
restricted to 20,000 industrial facilities and only 650 chemical pollutants.
This information is readily accessible, at the community and zip code levels,
in the Environmental Defense’s Scorecard (
this also details the health risks of high priority pollutants, particularly
- The fluoridation of drinking water, with industrial grade
fluorosilicate wastes, in spite of evidence that fluoride induces
a dose-related incidence
of bone cancer in rats.
- Some one million U.S. women work in industries
that expose them to over 50 carcinogens incriminated as causing
breast cancer in rodent and,
to a lesser extent, epidemiological studies.
- High concentrations of multiple residues of carcinogenic
pesticides in non-organic fruits and vegetables (23), that are of particular
in the diets of infants and young children.
- Irradiation of meat and poultry,
with 300,000 times or greater exposure to ionizing radiation
than a chest X-ray, induces the formation
of unique, volatile and stable, radiolytic products and increased benzene levels,
and genotoxic risks, besides major vitamin depletion (24). While
FDA requires a small radura label on irradiated food sold at retail, there are
no such requirements
for food served at school lunches and hospitals or in restaurants.
More disturbingly, as noted in the November/December 2002 Food Quality
FDA is considering
changing the radura label to a misleadingly euphemistic "cold
- Mainstream industry cosmetics and toiletries contain a wide range of
carcinogenic ingredients, such as phenyl-p-phenylenediamine, and diethanolamine.
They also contain "hidden" carcinogens from precursors such
as: diethanolamine, which apart from its own carcinogenicity following
application to mice,
interacts with nitrites to form the potent carcinogen nitrosodiethanolamine;
diazolidinyl urea and quaternium 15, which break down to release formaldehyde;
and polyethylene glycol, which is contaminated with two carcinogens,
ethylene oxide and 1,4-dioxane. Such exposures are of particular concern
of: the virtual lifelong use of multiple carcinogenic ingredients in
and personal care products; their application to large areas of skin,
and the concomitant presence of strong detergents in these products,
sulfate, which facilitate their skin absorption.
- The use of the highly potent and volatile 1,4-dichlorobenzene
as a room and toilet deodorizer.
- The extensive marketing of Raloxifene (Evista) since 1997
by women for the prevention of osteoporosis, and alleged prevention
of breast cancer, in spite
of Eli Lilly's own unpublicized experimental evidence
that the drug induces ovarian cancer in mice and rats at about
one third of the recommended therapeutic dose.
This is compounded by Lilly's admission, unpublicized
in full-page newspaper advertisements, that the "clinical relevance of these tumor findings is
unknown," and by the 8% increase in the incidence
of ovarian cancer from 1997 to 1999, the date of the
are supported by recent evidence that Evista stimulates
cell growth in estrogen receptor positive ovarian cancer
- The strongly promoted use of Tamoxifen by NCI and ACS
in chemoprevention trials on breast cancer prevention in healthy
despite evidence that its effectiveness is highly questionable, and that the
is a potent
in rats (17), apart from the absence of informed consent
regarding this grave danger. In July 2002, the FDA strengthened the Warnings
label to inform physicians about the increased risk of
uterine sarcoma, but without making any reference to risks of liver cancer.
- The over-prescribed use of Ritalin for "attention deficit disorders" in
children (and athletes), in spite of the evidence that it induces liver cancer
and rare aggressive hepatoblastomas in mice at doses similar to the "therapeutic" (26),
and in the absence of informed parental consent.
Cancer Before It Starts: How to Win the War on Cancer,
2003 by Samuel S. Epstein, M. D.
Cancer Prevention Coalition
University of Illinois at Chicago
School of Public Health
2121 W. Taylor St., MC 922
Chicago, IL 60612