Cancer epidemic: scientists blame radiation

Cancer epidemic: scientists blame radiation

Project Trans European Environmental Educational (TRE.E.E.) Health Network
EC Seminar:
"Is Cancer Predominantly an Environmental Disease?"
A.S.P.I.S. Project Co-ordinator:
P. Nicolopouiou - Stamatias.
Professor of Pathology
University of Athens Medical School
Kos Island,
International Hippocratic Foundation

The consensus statement of Kos on cancer and environment

The participants to the third meeting of ASPIS on environment and cancer in the Hippocratic Foundation on the island of Kos (7-9 September 2000), reached agreement on the following points:

1. A world-wide cancer epidemic, resulting in 8 million new cases each year, is under way.

2. In industrialised countries this epidemic, especially for non-smoking related cancer, is in large part due to environmental carcinogens. Environmental exposure in this context should be understood as exposure to anthropogenic chemicals and radiation in water, air, soil, food and consumer products. Consequently this exposure is involuntary

3. The majority of these cancers could be avoided and prevented by reducing exposure to environmental carcinogens.The above statements hold in a state of knowledge characterised by scientific uncertainty, concerning mechanisms of carcinogenesis.We recommend that to overcome this cancer epidemic the following objectives should be adopted:

3.1. The regulatory measures should be based on the principle that protection of health takes precedence over economic considerations. They should reduce existing carcinogens in the environment, allow only for minimal or unavoidable risk policies in the future and possess sufficient deterring effect.
3.2. Expand the research on cancer prevention. The instruments we propose to achieve the above objectives include:
3.2.1. An extensive review and substantial reinforcement of the risk assessment requirements (e.g. on synergistic or multiple exposure)
3.2.2 Risk assessment committees should be based exclusively on the principles of excellence, independence and their sessions be fully open.
3.2.3. Authorisations should be withdrawn or not be granted unless producers, who bear the burden of proof, establish the absence of potential carcinogenic effects.
3.2.4. Authorisations should be granted only when validated control and detection methods are available and operational.
3.2.5. Authorisations should be limited in time, not automatically renewable and their effects be continuously followed up and monitored by the public authorities.
3.2.6. Adoption of clear and mandatory labelling requirements.
3.2.7. Reduction or elimination of confidentiality requirements on toxicological and other health data.
3.2.8 A functional group policy taking into account the different biological endpoints. Examples of this include policies targeted toward the reduction of the xenoestrogen, carcinogen and POPs load.
3.2.9. A policy applying the following:
(a) precautionary principle,
(b) chemical hygiene concept,
(c) strict liability.
3.2.10. A communication strategy aimed at
(a) raising environmental awareness,
(b) transparency of the decision basis and record
(c) the right to know, including access to international, national and small cancer data.
3.2.11. Economic instruments aimed at internalising environmental and social costs.
3.2.12. An ethical basis including the right to live in healthy environment with a minimal carcinogen stress.

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This page was last updated May 2001