Life and Death in a Maine Mill Town

A powerful story that resonates here in our world of paper mills.

Yet it’s almost impossible to draw a straight line from our mill to cancer. Someone leaves town. They get cancer. Some people never leave. They get cancer. Or vice versa. My grandmother smoked.. She didn’t get cancer. You work in a paper mill like my father, grandfather, and great-grandfather, you get cancer. Some people do not. At least not yet. There are long delays between environmental exposures and cancer, too long to calculate, and each cancer comes with individual risk factors, symptoms, causes. If you think your town contains a cancer cluster, consider the criteria: clusters require a greater-than-expected number of cancers in a narrowly defined group, i.e., the people must have the same type of cancer, in a limited geographic area, over a limited period of time, and all these factors have factors, including the limitations of science itself. In addition, if several family members get cancer, it doesn’t count toward the cluster evidence you need. Ordinary cancers don’t count either. And it doesn’t appear the CDC analyzes how individual bodies respond to specific environmental factors. And even if a cancer cluster is found in your neighborhood, they may not be able to determine the exact cause or do anything about it. One in three people develop cancer over their lifetime, so maybe the question is, when will we get cancer?

BPA Increases Risk of Cancer in Human Prostate Tissue, Study Shows – Science Daily

As our legislature begins, a bill to ban fire retardant and other chemicals from Puget Sound is going to be promoted by the Toxics Coalition and supported by our Olympic Peninsula State Representatives, Kevin Van de Wege and Steve Tharinger. Here’s a good reason why you should support it also.

Fetal exposure to a commonly used plasticizer found in products such as water bottles, soup can liners and paper receipts can increase the risk for prostate cancer later in life, according to a study from the University of Illinois at Chicago published Jan. 7 online in the journal Endocrinology. Bisphenol A, or BPA, is widely used to soften plastics. Steering clear of the chemical is nearly impossible, says Gail Prins, professor of physiology at UIC and lead author of the paper.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140107135759.htm

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