CHILDREN'S CANCER ON THE RISE

From The Cancer Chronicles #10
© Autumn 1991 by Ralph W. Moss, Ph.D.


[At the end of June, 1991, The New York Times published an article on the rise in childhood cancer. On 6/16/91 the Times printed the following letter from Prof. Samuel S. Epstein of the University of Illinois and myself--RWM]:

The article of June 26 understates the problem of childhood cancer and overstates the mystery. Scientists, it says, are "just now learning of the latest statistics" that show a 4 percent increase in childhood cancer from 1973 to 1988. But last year, the National Cancer Institute reported a 28 percent increase in the incidence of childhood cancer from 1950 to 1987.

It is also stated that scientists have "few clues to the reasons for the jump." Yet, more than 20 studies in the United States and elsewhere have demonstrated clear associations between childhood cancers and exposures to carcinogenic chemicals. The three most common childhood malignancies, kidney and brain cancers and acute leukemia, are often related to occupational exposure of fathers and mothers. Such exposure includes organic solvents, hydrocarbons, paints, dyes and pigments. Children of mechanics and mining and aircraft workers are also at risk.

You gloss over the substantial association between childhood cancer and exposure to pesticides. Clusters of acute leukemia are found in agricultural counties with heavy pesticide use, particularly for cotton production. Additionally, brain tumors have been associated with home termite treatment. Of 34 pesticides repeatedly applied commercially to lawns, at up to Þve times agricultural rates, 10 are well recognized carcinogens.

As documented by the Food and Drug Administration, residues of numerous carcinogenic pesticides are commonly found in most fruits and vegetables.

Additionally, milk and other dairy products are often laden with carcinogenic pesticides and antibiotics. Factory farm meat, particularly liver, veal, frankfurters and ham-burgers, are also contaminated with carcinogenic pesticides, besides growth- stimulating sex hormones and other feed additives.

The Bush Administration has þung open the þoodgates to carcinogens in our food...[it] has in effect revoked the 1958 Delaney law, which banned intentional contamination of food with any level of carcinogen.

Instead, the EPA now allows residues of any carcinogenic pesticide in any food at levels posing allegedly 'acceptable' or 'negligible risk,' as determined by manipulated numbers. In this, it has surprisingly been joined by Rep. Henry A. Waxman of California and Senator Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts. However, even the understated EPA estimates show risks of up to 60,000 excess annual cancers when applied to the numerous pesticides contaminating a plateful of food.

The Delaney law is crucial in protecting children from carcinogens in food. The fetus, infant and young child are much more susceptible to carcinogens than adults. Reasons for this include children¹s rapid rate of growth and cell division, immaturity of detoxifying systems and their proportionally greater food consumption. This hypersusceptibility results not only in increased rates of childhood cancer, but also in delayed cancer in adult life. Illustrative are the rare vaginal cancers in young women whose pregnant mothers were treated with the carcinogenic DES.

Only a sharp phaseout and ultimately a ban on the manfacture, use and disposal of carcinogenic chemicals, and their replacement with non-carcinogenic alternatives and technologies, is likely to reverse the burgeoning toll of childhood cancers. Such action is also likely to reverse the cancer epidemic now striking one in four Americans. The highly politicized Federal agencies and a lethargic, confused Congress are unlikely to act without any effective grass roots citizen action.


Ralph W. Moss, Ph.D. is director of the The Moss Reports for cancer patients. Dr. Moss is the author of eleven books and three documentaries on cancer-related topics. He is or has been an advisor on alternative cancer treatments to the National Institutes of Health, the National Cancer Institute, the American Urological Association, Columbia University, the University of Texas, the Susan G. Komen Foundation and the German Society of Oncology. He wrote the first article on alternative medicine for the Encyclopedia Britannica yearbook. He is listed in Marquis Who's Who in America, Who's Who in the World, Who's Who in the East, and Who's Who in Entertainment (as a film documentarian). This Web site does not advocate any particular treatment for cancer. We urge you to always seek competent medical advice for all health problems, especially cancer. Before consulting our site please read our full Disclaimer statement.



home - moss reports - books - - contact - order - news
members - chronicles - faq - free email newsletter