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Tens of Thousands Call on President Obama to Protect Americans from Cancer-Causing Chemicals

American Nurses Association, Breast Cancer Fund, League of Conservation Voters, Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network and Other Groups to Deliver Petition to White House with Over 70,000 Signatures

Last May the Presidential Cancer Panel presented President Obama with a report detailing the science and policies around chemicals and cancer. They concluded that the contribution chemicals make to cancer risk has been greatly understated and urged the President to “most strongly use the power of your office” to eliminate human exposure to cancer-causing chemicals.

One year later, little has changed. Of over 80,000 chemicals on the market today, only a few hundred of them have been tested for safety. Exposure to actual and potential cancer-causing chemicals is widespread. Toxic chemicals that cause cancer are in commonly used products including clothing, furniture, household cleaners, and plastics used by children, women, and men on a daily basis.

On Thursday, May 19, members of the Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families coalition will meet with White House officials to urge President Obama to take action on this important report, one year later. They will also present a petition signed by over 70,000 people from every state in the nation and Washington, DC urging the President to make cancer prevention a priority.

Representatives from the following groups will be meeting with White House officials from the Council on Environmental Quality and the Office of Public Engagement: American Nurses Association, Breast Cancer Fund, Greenpeace, Health Care Without Harm, League of Conservation Voters, MomsRising, Pesticide Action Network North America (PANNA), Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families, and the Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network.

“Last year’s report was a wake-up call to the President from two of the top scientists in the field, but the President hit the snooze button.” said Andy Igrejas, Director of the Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families coalition, noting that the Panel was appointed by President George W. Bush. “Today 70,000 Americans are making a reminder call: it’s time for Presidential Leadership on chemicals and cancer.”

Cancer takes a devastating toll on individuals and families. Consider these facts:

  • 1 in 2 American men and 1 in 3 American women will get some type of cancer in our lifetimes;
  • Cancer is the leading cause of death from disease in children younger than 15;
  • Breast cancer is the second leading cause of death in women, exceeded only by lung cancer.

“At a time when 1 in 8 women has breast cancer, and when scientific evidence is linking breast cancer to the chemicals in our food, our products, our air and our water, it’s more urgent than ever that the President make cancer prevention a national priority,” said Nancy Buermeyer, senior policy strategist with the Breast Cancer Fund. “Our health depends on it.”

Below are excerpts from the petition to be presented to President Obama on May 19.

“Every minute, at least one American will die from cancer. What is particularly frightening about this statistic is that, contrary to general assumption, many of these cancers could have been prevented.

Americans are exposed to cancer-causing chemicals on a daily basis, in the workplace, in classrooms, and even in our homes. Right now, it’s perfectly legal to add chemicals known to cause cancer to the products we use every day, including children’s toys, furniture, food containers and cosmetics. By setting the course for a national cancer prevention strategy that includes eliminating the use of cancer-causing chemicals, the President can reverse decades of failed policies that have allowed those chemicals to contaminate our lives and endanger our health.

President Obama, please do not wait any longer to act on the Panel’s recommendations. Help protect Americans by preventing the use of cancer-causing chemicals and instead promote safer, greener chemistry that will make our nation strong and competitive. We need your leadership to strengthen existing regulations governing toxic chemicals, including the ineffective 1938 Food, Drug and Cosmetics Act and the failed 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act.”

Read the full petition here