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An Ounce (June 2010)

In this issue:

Cancer Fact

Pollution Inside Cars: With the summer heat, many of us drive around with our windows closed and the air conditioning on. Unfortunately, along with cooler air, you may be breathing in a number of toxins. Part of the seat cushions, armrests, floor coverings and plastic parts in most car interiors contain PBDEs (Polybrominated diphenyl ethers), often used as fire retardants and plastic softeners. You may be breathing gases from these chemicals, along with trapped toxins from car emissions around you. It’s a good idea to open your windows for a while when you start your car. If you are driving in heavy traffic, though, close the windows and circulate interior air to reduce outdoor pollutants from entering.


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Welcome to the June 2010 Issue

There has been so much happening on the cancer and cancer prevention front these past few weeks, it is hard to decide what goes first in this issue of An Ounce. Some stories came out of the blue, such as the US President’s Cancer Panel’s report on links between cancer and the environment, which had longtime cancer prevention activists (like us!) pretty excited about the high profile response…at least until the American Cancer Society held sway with most mainstream media.

Other stories included the mixed and somewhat confusing results of the huge Interphone Study on cell phone use, and the May 19 release of the 2010 Canadian Cancer Statistics, which showed, no surprise here, that more people will be diagnosed with and die from cancer than ever before. We also offer a profile of Alyssa – a teen born with cancer, a report on the Canadian premiere of Living Downstream The Film, plus more on incineration, asbestos and KFC proffering pink buckets of its (in)famous fried chicken as a breast cancer fundraiser. Kentucky Fried Chicken as a good guy? Read on…

President’s Panel Report: “Grievous harm not adequately addressed”

Released in early May, the US President’s Cancer Panel report called Reducing Environmental Cancer Risk, What We Can Do Now, finally stated what we’ve been saying all these years: “The true burden of environmentally induced cancers has been grossly underestimated.”

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Waste-to-energy doesn’t deal with the root problem

Waste-to-energy doesn’t deal with the root problem: As a society, we’re still creating too much garbage

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The “waste circus” has arrived in Canada

A three-part series of articles on solid waste incineration projects in Canada was recently published in the Watershed Sentinel magazine. These articles provide an excellent overview of the mass burn incineration and “incineration in disguise” proposals popping up across Canada, with most in Ontario and British Columbia. As with most things political, the author reminds us to “follow the money”.

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Interphone study on mobile phone use and brain cancer risk: No clear answers

A 10 year study of cell phones and brain tumours cannot conclusively say if usage poses any serious health risks. The Interphone Study took 10 years and 25-million-dollars to complete. It involved 50 researchers in 13 countries including Canada, a combined population of 488 million people. The results were recently published in the International Journal of Epidemiology. The study was coordinated by the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).

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The Radiation App That iPhone Has Banned

On a related note, we have learned that a new app developed by an Israeli start-up called Tawkon has developed a new downloadable app to measure cellphone radiation. But it won’t work on your iPhone.

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Electrosmog and our health

People may not realize the amount of ’electrosmog’ – various forms of wireless technology – that surrounds us every day. While we watch for reports on the effects of cell phone use on our health, we should also be thinking about cordless phones, smart meters, and possibly even our cars.

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Alyssa Blondon – A Teenage Survivor’s Account

My life is different from that of most teenagers. You see, I was born with cancer – a kind called neuroblastoma. Shortly after my birth, my mom noticed something different about me. I had a bump on the top of my head, and when I lay flat, there was a curve on one side of my body. Doctors said nothing was wrong, but my mom knew differently. She persevered, insisting on tests. A few weeks later, I was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer, meaning it had spread to different parts of my body. I owe my life to my mom on two fronts!

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KF-C is for cynical

One might think that the Susan G. Komen Foundation, the huge American breast cancer charity, would have been so embarrassed by the torrent of bad press about its partnership with fast food giant Kentucky Fried Chicken that the only option would be to get out even faster.

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The Big Test for BPA

Although media attention has focused on BPA (bisphenol A) in baby bottles and as a liner in canned baby food and other foods, it can be considered pervasive in our everyday lives. And, based on scientific data, governments have taken action to reduce the levels of BPA in consumer products.

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Cancer Under the Radar – Young Adults Tell Their Stories

We have recently heard from Jane Shulman, a young friend of PCN. At the end of April, she wrote to tell us that she had been cancer-free for one year and to invite us to a book launch for Cancer Under the Radar, a new and poignant collection of photos, prose, art and poetry by 14 young adults sharing their personal experiences of what it means to be diagnosed with cancer.

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Ongoing resources to keep in mind!

There are a number of credible organizations making the connections between health and environment. We want to remind you to check them out regularly. In this issue of An Ounce, we are reminding you about three of them.

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What’s New?

There were a number of other interesting and informative items that caught our eye this week, including the Canadian Premiere of Living Downstream, momentum in the move to ban Triclosan, and Disconnect – a new book from Devra Lee Davis.

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