Marking the life and legacy of our dearest friend Diana Ward, on Rachel Carson Day.
Every year, at this time, we at From Pink to Prevention campaign take time to mark the life of the extraordinary, visionary Rachel Carson (May 27, 1907 – April 14, 1964). Carson wrote and lobbied the USA government about the impact of toxic chemicals on the environment and human health.
This will be the first year we mark Rachel Carson day without our own extraordinary, visionary friend and campaigner, Diana Ward.
An Exhibition of Original Work by Diana Ward, marking Breast Cancer ‘Prevention’ Month launched on Wednesday 17 October.
On Wednesday 17 October UNISON hosted with a reception a new exhibition of 23 original cartoon works by From Pink to Prevention co-founder Diana Ward. Diana’s art-work is a unique way into the subject of the politics of breast cancer and it reflects on the decades of scientific evidence linking environmental and occupational risk factors to breast cancer. Continue reading
BREXIT, BREAST CANCER & CHEMICALS
Join us on Thursday 26th October 11am Portcullis House, Westminster for discussion on breast cancer, toxic chemicals exposure & regulation
Our From Pink to Prevention campaign is hosting this Breast Cancer Prevention Month event with the National Alliance of Women’s Organisations and Alliance for Cancer Prevention .As we come to the end of Breast Cancer Prevention Month, we will be considering the implications of Brexit on breast cancer and exploring the answers with a range of experts and campaigners. Event speakers include Helen Hayes MP; Zarin Hainsworth OBE & Chair NAWO; Helen Lynn From Pink to Prevention; Hilda Palmer Hazards Campaign; Nick Mole Policy Office Pesticide Action Network UK Chair Deborah Burton TPNS/From Pink to Prevention.
In this Breast Cancer PreventionMonth, the real impact of Brexit on breast cancer needs to be understood. Brexit gives us one more lens through which to better understand the scale of the exposures problem, its links to breast cancer and critically, why we need to stay within the EU regulations regime if we are to better protect citizens and workers.
RACHEL CARSON DAY 27th MAY
Man has put the vast majority of carcinogens into the environment and he can, if he wishes, eliminate many of them. The most determined effort should be made to eliminate those carcinogens that now contaminate our food, our water supplies, and our atmosphere, because these provide the most dangerous types of contact – minute exposure repeated over and over throughout the years.
Silent Spring 1962
RACHEL CARSON marine biologist, writer and conservationist
In the year 1962, Rachel Carson was not only another breast cancer statistic, but the woman whose writing skills and scientific acumen shocked the world upon publication of ‘Silent Spring’ in which her research findings of irreversible reproductive and genetic damage to aquatic-life forms resulting from the use of pesticides were presented in her signature narrative style. Her attention to smaller aquatic life forms at the bottom of the food-chain revealed the multiplier effect for life forms at higher levels, with major predictable effects for we humans in our position at the top of the chain. The changes being observed and recorded by Carson were an early warning of the future scenario for all life forms. As such they still stand as the first scientifically-based predictions of both real and potential harm to life from manmade chemicals.
Fifty years on and the shocking difference between then and now is that there are many thousands more manmade chemicals being produced and released into the environment than the number developed by the smaller scale post-war chemicals industry of Carson’s time. Many of these are linked to breast cancer risk and right now there is a battle to ensure that post-Brexit UK remains within existing EU chemicals legislation (REACH), which is regarded as the best in the world.
The UK House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) has today published the report of its inquiry on chemicals regulation after the EU referendum, which particularly focussed on the EU’s world-leading REACH system for regulating chemicals. The EAC criticise the UK Government’s lack of openness about its post-Brexit plans, and point out that most respondents want the UK to remain ‘as closely aligned to REACH as possible‘.
The EAC’s main conclusions
- The chemicals regulation framework established by the EU through REACH is difficult to transpose directly into UK law. Writing EU regulations into UK law could not be done simply by having a line in the “Great Repeal Bill” deeming REACH to apply in the UK. REACH was written from the perspective of participants being within the EU, with much of it also relating to Member State co-operation and mutual obligations, oversight and controls, and freedom of movement of products
From Pink to Prevention activities & toolkit this Breast Cancer Prevention Month
Dear friends, supporters and colleagues,
As we find ourselves mid-way through the global fundraising phenomena that is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we ask are environmental and occupational links to the disease ‘an elephant in the room’?
We want to draw attention to a breast cancer narrative that is excluded from the ‘pink’ limelight.
For decades now, scientists and activists alike have argued that the persistent exclusion of environmental and occupational risk factors for breast cancer (eg carcinogens and hormone disrupting chemicals) by government, breast cancer charities and industry is, at the very least baffling and, at worst, obstructing a basic public health right to know. We argue that the time has come for policy-makers to explain why they are refusing to acknowledge the evidence that links these risk factors to breast cancer.
Dear friends, colleagues and supporters,
As we continue our effort to ask The Big Question on environmental and occupational links to breast cancer, here are some links to our latest blogs and campaign updates.
MEETING WITH BREAST CANCER NOW
Earlier this month, Helen Lynn and Deborah Burton met with key Breast Cancer Now staff – Delyth Morgan (chief Executive) and Eluned Hughes (Head of Public Health and Information) to primarily discuss the reasons why their organisation (the UK’s leading breast cancer charity) persists in categorising environmental risks as doubtful along with the body of evidence that does link the two. We also wanted to ask if and when BCN could join with us and start to both accept and act upon the existing evidence (not least, share the information with the public who look to them for guidance). It was a constructive first conversation and we are looking forward to keeping the issue on their agenda.
Our latest blog about the meeting is here and our post-meeting follow up letter in full is here. Continue reading
In this October Breast Cancer Awareness Month, our campaign ‘From Pink to Prevention’ is trying to raise the level of debate about the much marginalised issue of environmental and occupational links to the disease. Sixteen campaigning organisations from England, Scotland, Germany, USA, Australia, Philippines, and several pan-EU networks have signed on to our statement which asks why, despite all the money raised, more and more of us are getting this disease?
In particular, we want to know why the breast cancer charities continue to focus solely on ‘lifestyle’ risk factors such as diet and exercise, while ignoring the potential 60% of breast cancer cases for which they have no explanation. What about the role of chemical, environmental and occupational exposures in this?
We argue that better diagnostics and treatment are not mutually exclusive with looking at how our profoundly polluted environment, homes and workplaces impact on our bodies and health – and we need action on this, if we are to heed the ‘precautionary principle’ .
Dear friends, supporters, colleagues,
From Pink to Prevention –a new campaign
Save the Date for our first campaign meeting on Tuesday 27th January 6.30pm – more details at end of page
Welcome to our new campaign: From Pink to Prevention. We want to:-
- put the questions out there about environmental and occupational links to breast cancer.
- offer up some answers as to WHY primary prevention is persistently ignored.
- make the barriers to primary prevention widely known.
- focus on the vested interests barrier and share that information with the public, media, sister campaign groups, politicians and policy-makers.
- identify some key ‘vested interests’ and view their real and potential impact on breast cancer policy, from government through to cancer establishment.
- provide readily accessible and thoroughly referenced information for the general public.
- offer simple but innovative actions that can be taken to bring about positive change.
A new campaign on breast cancer: environment, occupation & obstacles to getting both of these risk factors taken seriously in the breast cancer debate
FROM PINK to PREVENTION is a new breast cancer campaign that exposes the barriers to achieving ‘primary prevention’ – stopping the disease before it starts. Central to our campaign is one big fundamental question we seek to put to all those individuals, organisations and institutions with the power to make or to influence decisions affecting public and occupational health in general and breast cancer incidence in particular.
“Plasticizers overexposure a breast cancer risk: study,” 21 July 2014, Taipei Times
Overexposure to plasticizers nearly doubles women’s risk of contracting breast cancer, with that likelihood rising among those who have a poor metabolism, a comprehensive study by local researchers has found.
Nikola Biller-Andorno, M.D., Ph.D., and Peter Jüni, M.D., “Abolishing Mammography Screening Programs? A View from the Swiss Medical Board,” 23 April 2014, The New England Journal of Medicine
… The Swiss Medical Board’s report was made public on February 2, 2014 (www.medical-board.ch). It acknowledged that systematic mammography screening might prevent about one death attributed to breast cancer for every 1000 women screened, even though there was no evidence to suggest that overall mortality was affected. At the same time, it emphasized the harm — in particular, false positive test results and the risk of overdiagnosis. For every breast-cancer death prevented in U.S. women over a 10-year course of annual screening beginning at 50 years of age, 490 to 670 women are likely to have a false positive mammogram with repeat examination; 70 to 100, an unnecessary biopsy; and 3 to 14, an overdiagnosed breast cancer that would never have become clinically apparent.5 The board therefore recommended that no new systematic mammography screening programs be introduced and that a time limit be placed on existing programs. In addition, it stipulated that the quality of all forms of mammography screening should be evaluated and that clear and balanced information should be provided to women regarding the benefits and harms of screening.
“Toxic chemicals are the little monsters in children’s clothing,” Greenpeace, 14 January 2014
… latest investigation has revealed the presence of hazardous chemicals in clothing made by 12 very well known brands; from the iconic kid’s label Disney, to sportswear brands like Adidas, and even top-end luxury labels like Burberry.
The shocking truth is that no matter what type of kid’s clothes we shop for, there’s no safe haven – all of the tested brands had at least one product containing hazardous toxic monsters.
Stéphane Horel and Brian Bienkowski, “Special report: Scientists critical of EU chemical policy have industry ties,” Environmental Health News, 23 September 2013
Seventeen scientists who have criticized plans in Europe to regulate endocrine-disrupting chemicals have past or current ties to regulated industries. An investigation by Environmental Health News reveals that of 18 toxicology journal editors who signed a controversial editorial, 17 have collaborated with the chemical, pharmaceutical, cosmetic, tobacco, pesticide or biotechnology industries. Some have received research funds from industry associations, while some have served as industry consultants or advisors. The stakes are high in the controversy because it involves the European Union’s strategy to regulate hormone-altering chemicals – the first attempt in the world to do so. The new rules would have sweeping, global ramifications because all companies that sell a variety of products in Europe would have to comply.
Verónica Bayetti Flores, “Are mainstream breast cancer awareness initiatives hurting more than they’re helping?,” Feministing, April 29 2013
Yesterday the New York Times featured an article in its Sunday magazine about breast cancer, awareness initiatives, and what the real effects these initiatives have had on the lives of women. It’s on the longer side, but one that’s framed around the personal narrative of the author – a breast cancer survivor herself – and well worth a read:
Just about everywhere I go — the supermarket, the dry cleaner, the gym, the gas pump, the movie theater, the airport, the florist, the bank, the mall — I see posters proclaiming that “early detection is the best protection” and “mammograms save lives.” But how many lives, exactly, are being “saved,” under what circumstances and at what cost? Raising the public profile of breast cancer, a disease once spoken of only in whispers, was at one time critically important, as was emphasizing the benefits of screening. But there are unintended consequences to ever-greater “awareness” — and they, too, affect women’s health.
Press Release, Immediate release, Alliance for Cancer Prevention, 20/2/13
WHO/UNEP strongly endorse need to regulate as endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) identified as ‘global threat’.
A new report from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) comprehensively reviews the state of the science on endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs). It outlines the very serious and immediate threat to human health and wildlife from EDCs and signals the urgent need for effective regulation and testing of these chemicals.
The report estimates that as much as 24% of human diseases and disorders are due at least in part to environmental factors which include chemical exposures. “Many endocrine diseases and disorders are on the rise and the speed at which they are increasing rules out genetic factors as the sole plausible explanation”.