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An Ounce - Winter 2012

In this issue:

Cancer Fact

Over 1,000 tonnes of asbestos have been removed from Parliament since August 2011. Too dangerous for MPs, but safe for the developing world?


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Can citizens stop a project to revive Canada’s deadly asbestos trade?

By Kathleen Ruff

Fifteen months ago, in October 2010, Indo-Canadian businessman, Baljit Chadha, made an offer to purchase the Jeffrey asbestos mine in the town of Asbestos, Québec. The mine, now closed down, had been in operation for 130 years and for most of the 20th century was owned and operated by the U.S.-based Johns Manville Corporation. In 1982, however, faced with thousands of claims on behalf of workers who were dying (or had already died) from asbestosis and mesothelioma, Johns Manville filed for bankruptcy and sold the mine to Québec owners.

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Misreading Research: What the news said vs. what the science said

By Maggie MacDonald

In medieval times, kings employed tasters to try their food and drink and test it for poisons, before the kings would consume it themselves. In these democratic times, the public entrusts the testing to scientists and regulators. While far more people are protected from harm than in the days of medieval tasters, when it comes to science reporting on environmental causes of cancer, calls for precaution regarding potentially harmful substances are being lost in media reports that misinterpret or minimize important findings.

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Why iPads and iPhones are Not Kids’ Toys

By PCN Staff with content from Devra Davis, PhD, MPH

According to SodaHead.com, a discussion community with more than 10 million visitors a month, cellphones and iPads rank as the most-wanted items among youngsters, with 65% placing these devices at the top of their wish lists. Parents’ planning to succumb to the lobbying and get their kids’ the latest electronic gadgets would do well to ponder experts’ warnings before buying them. Would you give your child the keys to the car or a shot of whiskey just because she really wanted it?

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One Simple Change for Health and for the Environment

By Camille Labchuk

What if you knew that making one simple change to your diet could substantially reduce your risk of cancer, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and a whole host of other diseases? What if this one simple change could save our healthcare system billions per year? What if we could save millions of people from getting sick in the first place, instead of focusing on treating them after they become ill?

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Did you know . . . six facts about cancer

By Magda Havas

Did you know that in the 1920s in the U.K. and a few years later in the U.S. there was a never-before-seen spike in the incidence of childhood leukemia for children between the ages of 2 and 4? According to Dr. Sam Milham (1), this spike was associated with the introduction of electricity into the home. For every 10% increase in the number of homes served by electricity, the leukemia mortality rate for ages 2-4 increased by 24%!

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Fracking, shale gas and cancer: Health risks at every step

By Barb Harris

“We’ve got to push the pause button, and maybe we’ve got to push the stop button” on fracking, said Dr. Adam Law, an endocrinologist at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York. Law was among doctors at a conference in Virginia calling for a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing for natural gas in populated areas until health effects are better understood. The January 2012 conference was organized by the Mid-Atlantic Center for Children’s Health and the Environment and Physicians, Scientists and Engineers for Healthy Energy.

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Burning Public Money

By Linda Gasser

Communities across Canada have been invaded by hordes of incinerator vendors and their entourages, who pitch incineration as the magic solution to waste woes to municipalities large and small from Ontario to British Columbia. They range from salesmen for foreign vendors with no history of operating incinerators (e.g. Partners Energy Group and Meaford, Ontario) to politically connected domestic vendors such as Plasco Energy, who last December managed to convince the City of Ottawa to cut a deal with them even though their demonstration plant in Ottawa (which had 25 emissions exceedances) failed to process permitted waste volumes and meet energy production claims. Multinational corporations such as Covanta Energy salivate as they realize that their plans to secure a toe-hold in Canada and to access public dollars are coming closer to fruition, with the help of industry friendly politicians like their friends on Durham and York Region councils.

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BizNGO: Businesses and NGOs working together to promote safer chemicals in products and manufacturing

By Bev Thorpe

Chemicals are increasingly viewed as contributors to the rising levels of cancer in Canada and the US. Almost one in two Canadians can expect to be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime. As the President’s Cancer Panel in the US noted in 2010, “the true burden of environmentally induced cancer has been grossly underestimated. With nearly 80,000 chemicals on the market in the United States, many of which are used by millions of Americans in their daily lives and are un- or understudied and largely unregulated, exposure to environmental carcinogens is widespread.”

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Healthy Beauty for Life

By Laura Woodward

Parents should be proactive when their teenagers begin experimenting with cosmetics and personal care products. A large number of the chemicals in these products on the shelves of grocery stores and pharmacies are largely untested for potentially harmful health effects.

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Petition to the Auditor General of Canada: Properly manage carcinogens in cosmetics!

By Sandra Madray

There are continued concerns about the presence of toxic substances and in particular, carcinogens, in our cosmetics and personal care products in Canada. While some of us may feel a certain level of frustration that we are still being exposed to carcinogens through our daily use of cosmetics and personal care products, others are totally unaware of the presence of carcinogens in these products.

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“12 Days of Prevention” Holiday Campaign a Big Success!

By Dallas Shannon

Prevent Cancer Now would like to say a big thanks to everyone who participated in our “12 Days of Prevention” campaign during December, which took place in the days leading up to the holidays.

Every day we released a new cancer prevention tip into our social network (newsletter subscription list, Facebook and Twitter).PCN supporters were kind enough to forward and share our tips with their friends and family.

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CAPE Pushing for Pesticide Ban in B.C.

By Britt Karlstrom

Having scored pesticide bans in the Maritimes, Ontario and Québec, the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment (CAPE) is now campaigning to win a province-wide prohibition on toxic lawn products in British Columbia. If successful, the initiative will protect over4.5 million Canadians.

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PCN Shorts

Pink Washing, Cellphone Dangers, New Resources on the PCN Website, Follow us on Twitter! …

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