The use of chemicals has led to the contamination of the environment to the extent that there now exist a considerable number of exposure hazards.  These exposure hazards are oftentimes unknown to the non-expert.  Lack of awareness of the major exposure hazards results in much unnecessary exposure, increased disease risk imposed by this exposure and increased disease incidence.  In order to minimize the quantity of harm to human health that results from exposure to toxic chemicals steps must be taken to warn the public of avoidable exposure hazards.  Due to limited educational resources, it is necessary to prioritize the exposure hazards for which warnings will first be given.

 

Two major avoidable exposure hazards stand out as priorities for early warnings:  emissions from combustion of fossil fuels and persistent organic pollutants (POPs) contamination of all animal fats.  Both exposure hazards are encountered by a high proportion of the general population throughout the industrialized world.  Both exposure hazards impose a substantial quantity of disease risk at current levels of environmental contamination.  In the case of both hazards, simple strategies exist for minimizing exposure.  A tremendous quantity of harm could be avoided if widespread educational outreach were to be conducted on the subjects of combustion emissions and POPs contamination of animal fats.

 

At the current time, only a very small amount of educational outreach on these hazards is taking place.  The public is almost totally lacking in awareness concerning such matters.  Cancer Action NY has conducted educational outreach on exhaust exposure and POPs exposure cancer hazards since the founding of the organization in January 2000.  In addition to this educational work, Cancer Action NY advocates for the creation of educational outreach programs on the subjects of the major exposure hazards within governmental public health entities.  It is clearly the responsibility of the following entities to conduct educational outreach on chemical exposure hazards:  the National Center for Environmental Health of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP), the Division of Cancer Prevention and Control of the CDCP, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, the National Cancer Institute, the states’ public health departments and the counties’ public health departments.  No significant educational outreach on the combustion emissions and POPs contaminants exposure hazards is being provided by any of these entities.

 

The scientific knowledge, which supports the conclusion that combustion emissions and POPs contaminants of animal fats constitute major exposure hazards has existed for many years, certainly since the early 1990s.  Government has failed to warn the public about these exposure hazards because the corporations which control the federal government oppose raising public awareness of the connections between chemical exposure and disease.  The destruction of government’s ability to warn the public of avoidable disease hazards qualifies as the most egregious of all results of corporate control of government.

 

There is only one way to change our society to the extent that government will have the capacity to provide warnings of major disease hazards.  The people must regain control of their elected representatives.  The first step in taking control of elected representatives is the establishment of limitations on campaign spending.  The only funds allowed for campaign spending should be public funds.  Political races in which campaigns are financed with only public funds will lead to the election of people who truly represent the public.

 

The work required to establish publicly financed election campaigns is of considerable magnitude.  Our society will only take up this endeavor when a significant number of Americans become knowledgeable concerning government failures.  Cancer Action NY will continue to raise public awareness of the failure of the governmental public health entities to provide warnings of major avoidable disease hazards in hope that this awareness will soon bring the day when Americans stand up and demand representation in Congress and at all other levels of government, which gives no consideration to the interests of corporations when matters of public well being are at stake.

Advertisements