Breast cancer campaign wants hormone disruptors kept within REACH

Environmentalists and a powerful union have join forces to fight the 'myth' that cancers are unavoidable while calling on Europe to take a firm line on carcinogenic chemicals when it votes on REACH next month.

The Women’s Environmental Network (WEN) and public services union Unison, launched their campaign, The Big See, this week claiming we are being conned into accepting breast cancer as commonplace when more could be done to prevent it.

“The government and the cancer establishment are blindfolding women to the truth and we are being sold a myth that breast cancer is inevitable at some point during our life,” Helen Lynn, WEN’s campaign co-ordinator told edie.

“Every October we’re sold a pink ribbon and told about awareness but we think it’s time to do more, and look at prevention rather than a cure that isn’t a real cure but usually just a five or ten year extension to someone’s life.”

“We’re trying to raise awareness about links between breast cancer and the environment.”

Ms Lynn said that while up to 10% of cases could be hereditary and a further 20% could be linked to abnormal oestrogen levels, late pregnancies and other factors this left more than two thirds of cases ‘unexplainable’.

“We think it’s got a lot to do with the chemicals that are accumulating in our bodies, particularly in our breast tissue,” she said.

“There are some 300 chemicals that shouldn’t be there, and wouldn’t be there if the REACH agreement is strong.”

Even high-risk groups would probably have a reduced risk of being affected if the chemicals were not so prevalent in the environment, she argued.

“Without a strong REACH a lot of the substances we are concerned about could continue to accumulate in the environment.

“But it looks like it is in danger of being watered down.”

The network and the union are now calling on those concerned about the situation to lobby their MEP.

Sharon Greene, UNISON’s national women’s officer said:

“We want to challenge our decision-makers and those with power to take action to prevent these cancers occurring. We cannot just accept 300 women dying every week.

“As individuals there’s a limit to what we can do to protect ourselves against breast cancer, UNISON wants our 1.3 million members to lobby MEPs to clean up our environment by voting for strong REACH legislation, and get our own Government to take action.”

WEN and UNISON say they do not want people to stop giving to cancer charities, nor to take away from the detection, treatment and care of breast cancer.

The campaign aims to shake up people’s views about breast cancer, and stop the Government being complacent about its ‘cancer forever’ policies.

Throughout the month members of WEN and UNISON will be sharing what they claim is incontrovertible evidence that man-made chemicals routinely released into our environment are a major cause of breast cancer.

By Sam Bond

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