Foundation for Advancement in Cancer Therapy

Non-Toxic Biological Approaches to the Theories, Treatments and Prevention of Cancer

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A Call To Action! The People R Us
By Consuelo Reyes

As we totter toward a new millennium, our bodies are being bombarded by a smorgasbord of toxic and carcinogenic substances never before encountered by humankind to the point of biological intolerance.

Is it any wonder that the cancer incidence and cancer death rate are rising at epidemic levels? In the 1970's when President Nixon declared "War on Cancer," 1 out of 6 Americans were expected to develop or die from cancer in the course of their lifetime. In 1998, according to the American Cancer Society, the lifetime risk had risen to 1 out of 2 for men, 1 of 3 for women. How long will it be before it is 1 out of 1?

The writing has long been on the wall from Rachel Carson's Silent Spring in the early '60's to statements in the early '70's like this from Wilhelm Heuper and W.0 Conway, tWo senior scientists at the National Cancer Institute (NCI): "Cancers of all types and all causes display, even under already existing conditions, all the characteristics of an epidemic in slow motion...(fueled by) increasing contamination of the human environment with chemical and physical carcinogens and with chemicals supporting and potentiating their action." Or, this statement in 1973 from Dr. G.B. Gori of NCI: "Carcinogenic effects from drugs, from environment and pollution and from food additives and water supplies are to be checked more carefully." Ninety percent of all cancers, he said, are caused by "chemicals that humans encounter in their daily lives."

Yet here we are some 30 years later and what has been done? Contamination in our food and water becomes more pervasive each year. Is there nothing this great, wealthy nation can do to stem the tide?

Surely, you say, our tax-payer-supported "watchdog" agencies--Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), et al--are doing everything possible to insure the public health. Well, to use the current vernacular, it is time to get real! Our federal regulatory agencies are distinctly not putting the well-being of the people first. In far too many instances these entities seem to march to the beat of powerful industries who use money and political clout to protect their interests, flaunt regulations in the face of sloppy enforcement, and dangle the promise of the revolving door before compliant bureaucratic regulators. These government agencies rely primarily on short-term, often skewed industry studies that show minimal harm from chemicals and new technologies with near total disregard for long-term effects wrought by repeated violations of nature.

In short, the situation is out of control! Some cases in point:

Genetic Engineering. This is the "exciting," new food frontier government sanctioned process whereby genes are transferred among animals, plants, bacteria, or even human cells to create new life forms that would never occur spontaneously in nature. Some examples: corn genetically-altered to resist powerful pesticides, permitting even greater applications of poison; plants that produce their own pesticides; tomatoes given DNA from flounder, a cold-water fish, to survive freezing temperatures. Still in the works: salmon 37 times larger than normal due to the addition of chicken and cow growth hormones; lean pork from a pig made sterile and arthritic by the transgenesis of human growth hormones, and on and on.

Even FDA admits that genetically engineered foods carry substantial risks: toxic substances ordinarily found at below-detectable levels in food may be increased via gene manipulation; nutritional loss; long-term effects on humans--unknown.

Yet, our FDA embraces this new technology. "Informed" by industry giants like Monsanto, Upjohn, Dupont which have invested billions in research and development, the agency decided that genetically engineered foods are no different than regular and need not be specifically labeled! Despite the huge outcry from farmers, scientists, doctors, ministers, even world-renowned chefs, the genetically engineered bandwagon is going full steam ahead.

Food Irradiation. Exposure of our food supply to deadly gamma rays has been approved for general use by FDA since 1986the brainchild of U.S. Department of Energy as a means to dispose of hazardous nuclear wastes. Irradiation is being pushed especially by USDA as a panacea for killing bacterial pathogens in food. But irradiation destroys essential nutrients and creates radiolytic byproducts in foods, some of which are known carcinogens and mutagens (like benzene in beef). In truth, zapping fresh food is an excuse to continue the filthy practices in processing plants. It also exposes irradiation facility workers and nearby communities to radioactive leaks from accidents. FDA, confident the public will get over its "irrational" alarm over all this, requires minimal labeling on irradiated produce, none on zapped ingredients in processed foods.

Toxic sludge as fertilizer. According to the Harper Collins Dictionary of Environmental Science, sludge is "a viscous, semisolid mixture of bacteria and virus-laden organic matter, toxic metals, synthetic chemicals, and settled solids removed from domestic and industrial waste water at a sewage treatment plant." In other words hazardous waste, including radioactive contaminants, that should not be spread on food producing soil!

In the early '90's, pressured by polluting industries to reduce regulations and disposal costs, EPA began to promote the use of sludge (treated sewage) as fertilizer on farm fields. Despite serious health/environmental concerns, it was the cheapest disposal method available. But it was a hard sell! Studies showed that some of the toxins and radioactivity did enter into the food and also the ground water, exposed animals and farm workers became sickened.

In 1991 our EPA in its wisdom hired public relations experts to find a more appealing way to market the stuff. Soon, the word "sludge" disappeared and in its place, voila, the more salutary-sounding "biosolids" was born. Same stuff, new name! Following an aggressive P.R. campaign (paid for by our tax-payer dollars), biosolids as fertilizer started selling around the country! In 1992 EPA produced new regulations classifying "biosolids," (formerly "sludge') as Class A fertilizer, officially defined as "nutrient-rich organic byproduct of the nation's wastewater treatment process."

So our bureaucrats play with the public's safety by playing with words. What is wrong with this picture?

Pesticides (herbicides, insecticides, fungicides, rodenticides, etc.). These are synthetic poisonous chemicaLs designed to kill or repel pests. There are some 25,000 registered pesticides worldwide, made up of 750 "active" ingredients of which 70 are known carcinogens. Hundreds of "inert" ingredients are often more toxic than the active components.

Long-term intake of multiple pesticide residues on foods and in water has been implicated in cancer, birth defects, hormone disruption (including lower fertility rates), etc. Children are especially at risk because their smaller bodies receive proportionally higher doses of toxins per body weight than do adults. Because their cells divide more rapidly than those of adults, exposure to carcinogens is of real concern. (Childhood cancers have risen by one third since 1950.)

How are pesticides in foods regulated? A few years ago when environmental groups successfully sued EPA for ignoring the 1958 Delaney Clause which banned outright the use of carcinogenic pesticides in processed foods, our industry-friendly EPA responded by helping to repeal Delaney! In its place the "negligible risk" policy, whereby a level of pesticide residue on food is "acceptable" if it doesn't cause cancer in any more than one in every million people from each crop use of each pesticide. Forget about effects of consuming different pesticides at once, cumulative effects, increased vulnerability of children, elderly, people with weakened immune systems, etc. Forget the fact that as late as 1992 the agency acknowledged that only 2% of the "active" ingredients in pesticides had even been completely tested, while no tests are required on "inert."

In plain English, how would you like to be one of those "negligible" deaths factored so neatly into EPA policy?

Adulteration of farm animals. The abominable practices of factory farming animal confinement in filthy conditions leading to dependence on antibiotics to prevent diseases, hormone injections to improve marketability, etc. These animals, by nature vegetarian, are fed rendered feed leftover body parts of livestock; waste products of meat production including bones, fur, feathers, blood, fat; animals that have died of unknown causes or those killed by vehicles on the road (roadkill). Implicated in the "mad cow" epidemic in England, rendering remains a multibillion dollar business in the U.S. to which EPA, USDA, et al, have given essentially a wink and a nod. Guidelines are fraught with loopholes and essentially unenforced. Despite the fact that organically-raised meats are an excellent alternative-from the animal's and people's point of view our USDA has done essentially nothing to encourage safer methods that could threaten the health of the factory farm culture. (Indeed, it was USDA that spearheaded the move to include sludge fertilizer, bioengineered and irradiated foods, as acceptable under the proposed new "certified organic" standards! Thanks to overwhelming public outrage, USDA seems to have put this notion on hold--for now.)

Fluoride added to public water supplies for supposed dental benefits. Fluoride is a cumulative poison, more toxic than lead. One of the most reactive of all elements, it interferes with cell development, i.e., it is mutagenic and, therefore, can set the stage for cancer.

Most Americans are under the impression that the fluoride added to their public water supplies is natural, pure or refined. Absolutely not! The actual fluoridating compounds are toxic industrial waste products, today mostly fluosilicic acid from the phosphate fertilizer industry, which can also contains trace elements of Rude metals such as lead, cadmium, arsenic, etc. In the words of Rebecca Hammer, Dep. Assistant Administrator, U.S. EPA, March 30, 1983: "In regard to the use of fluosilicic acid as a source of fluoride for fluoridation, this agency regards such use as an ideal environmental solution to a long-standing problem. By recovering by-product fluosilicic acid from fertilizer manufacturing, water and air pollution are minimized and water utilities have a low cost source of fluoride available to them." In other words, let's recycle "hazardous waste" via human waste dumps! What a wonderful "solution!"

EPA's union of scientists, engineers, toxicologists (NFFE Local 2050) has long opposed their agency's fluoridation policy. In a July 7, 1997 unanimous vote, the 1200 member union condemned fluoridation, citing evidence of "a causal link between fluoride/fluoridation and cancer, genetic damage, neurological impairment, and bone pathology. Of particular concern are epidemiological studies linking fluoride exposure to lowered IQ in children."

To this day EPA ignores the warnings of its own professionals in favor of industries which have found an easy, cost effective way of disposing of their toxic waste. Fluoride chemicals via the water are now rampant in the food supply: in produce, processed foods, baby formulas, soft drinks, reconstituted fruit juices, etc.

In spite of the fact that the American Dental Association (ADA) has acknowledged that children are likely receiving a daily overdose of fluoride, ADA continues to promote water fluoridation.

It is painfully clear that EPA, FDA, USDA, et al, are not doing their best to protect the people's health. What is needed, however, is not a nitpicking over every regulation, every miscalculation of these entities, but an overriding vision with the goal that as a nation we must do everything possible to reduce our dependence on toxic chemicals. Otherwise, what is the hope of the future a stoic acceptance that every male and female will at some point in their life be stricken with cancer?

This vision can be accomplished with an active government commitment to sustainable agriculture working with nature to produce balanced, nutrient-rich foods without the unending spiral of ever more powerful poisons that lead to environmental and human health degradation. In the long run this is the most productive and cost effective method. And it is eminently da-able as we see from the example of the small but very fast-growing organic food production sector in the country.

This is a call to action! Join the growing movement to tell our legislators that we cannot continue on this self destructive path. Sign the "SOS" petition included in this issue of Cancer Forum. Make copies, share with friends and try to fill out as many as possible and return them to FACT. At the opportune time we will present the petitions to the appropriate Congresspersons as a mandate for hearings on this vital issue. This is about the health of our nation! This is The People's business!

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