Posted by: Chloe Schwabe | February 7, 2011

Big things come in small packages- cancer prevention

packaged food found to contain toxic chemicals

Next time you go to a vending machine to get a bag of chips as a late afternoon snack or open up a container of canned tomatoes for dinner, beware that big things can come in small packages. A new study found that food packaging materials can leach chemicals such as perflourochemicals, BPA, organotins, benzophene, and phthlates into the food. These chemicals are linked to a big thing called cancer.

February is Cancer Prevention month and it is a good time to examine prevention measures that are within our control, where our government may help us, and the areas that we cannot control.

For instance, how and what we eat is somewhat in our control. By eating more fresh food, we can avoid many sources of exposure to cancer from packaged and preserved food. We can also eat the colors of the rainbow, which includes many fruits and vegetables with anti-oxidants and health protective properties. We can cook and heat foods using glass, stainless steel, or cast iron to avoid the possibility of chemicals leaching from plastics or from PFCs that get in our food from scratched Teflon pans. We can also exercise, which can help protect our bodies and to fight some diseases.

Our government can also help us. Last year, the President’s bipartisan cancer panel named chemicals as one contributing factor to cancer development. Among the recommendations, the report highlighted the need to reform of the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976, the outdated law that regulates the chemicals in commerce. Currently, there are over 84,000 chemicals in commerce and only 200 have been tested for safety. Dr. Lynn Goldman, dean of the School of Public Health and George Washington University, said at a senate hearing last week that roughly 6200 chemicals absolutely must be tested and regulated because they are the worst of the worst. They include carcinogens, reproductive toxicants, and persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic chemicals (PBTs.) But we must also ensure that new chemicals are tested before they are put in commerce too.

Unfortunately, when Congress passed the landmark Food Safety legislation last year they decided not fix problems with food packaging regulation, which would have addressed many of the concerns raised in this study.

Some laws are working pretty well to protect public health and the environment from cancer and other diseases. Through bipartisan efforts, Congress repaired the pesticides law (Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodentia Act); and Congress passed the Clean Water Act and Clean Air Act.

Lastly, some cancers are out of our control. Certainly there are some cancers that are genetic.  For the cancer-causing factors that are out of our hands, we must put faith in God as the source of all resilience.We can also use the power of our faith community and prayer. In an interview with radio journalist Krista Tippet, Dr. Memet Oz discusses the power of faith as part of the healing process. Receiving spiritual support and sustenance, in addition to other treatments, can give people the extra push to recovery.

In honor of Cancer Prevention Month, consider taking time to make some changes in your life, to endorse these faith principles asking Congress to fix the Toxic Substances Control Act, or to visit a friend or family member who is fighting cancer, and to pray for a day when our government and human ingenuity will eradicate the environmental causes of cancer.



  1. Good post, I’d say thanks to writer becaus i have found a lot exciting knowledge.
    Keep it going! :). Best regards

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