Cancer Risk From Chemicals 'Grossly' Understated
Carcinogens in food, water systematically ignored
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted May 6, 2010 10:09 AM CDT
A terminally ill brain cancer patient watches as President Barack Obama addresses a joint session of Congress on health care reform on September 9, 2009.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – Environmental factors play a much bigger role in causing cancer than currently acknowledged, and President Obama needs to do something about it, the President's Cancer Panel concluded today. “The true burden of environmentally induced cancer has been grossly underestimated,” the authors found after two years of testimony and research. The potential carcinogens the panel cited include pesticides, fertilizers, household chemicals, car exhaust and more. Babies are subjected to so many harmful chemicals in the womb that they're born “pre-polluted.”

“There has been disproportionate emphasis on lifestyle factors” rather than environmental ones, one doctor tells ABC News. “This report marks a sea change.” In the New York Times, Nicholas Kristof calls the report “an extraordinary document,” since it comes not from the fringe, but from “the Mount Everest of the medical mainstream.” Check out Kristof's list recommendations drawn from the report, from buying organic food to microwaving in glass, never plastic.