On the 16th June 2015, the organisation ‘From Pink to Prevention’ sent an open letter to ‘Breakthrough Breast Cancer’ (recently changed to ‘Breast Cancer Now’); the UK’s largest breast cancer research charity, asking them to review their current literature and acknowledge the environmental and occupational links to breast cancer. Currently these issues are seriously downplayed with no mention at all of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDCs) and the carcinogenic role they play.
‘Endocrine Disruptors’ are chemicals that interfere with the body’s endocrine system and produce adverse developmental, reproductive, neurological and immune effects in both humans and wildlife by interfering with hormone actions. What’s worrying though, is that these disruptors are found in so many everyday products – plastic bottles, metal food cans, toys, food, make up and cosmetics, detergents and pesticides.
The World Health Organisation and United Nations Environment Programme both say that EDCs are a threat to health and the environment globally, and need to be resolved sooner rather than later. So what can we do to help?
- Visit the From Pink to Prevention website www.frompinktoprevention.org
- Demand safer alternatives and full disclosure on substances and chemicals both at home, and at work.
- Pay attention to what you buy – avoid PVC and polycarbonates marked with a triangle with a 3 or a 6 in the middle.
- Be your own workplace detective and identify processes and practices of concern and the use of substances and chemicals in your workplace.
These are just four things you can do. There are plenty more on the website, but by visiting it, spreading the word and holding the government, manufacturers, companies and cancer research charities to account for their rather worrying lack of action and acknowledgement of EDCs, we can help stop breast cancer before it starts, rather than concentrating solely on treating it once we have it.
Sarah Woolley (Shop Steward, Greggs Branch 580/Executive Council Member)