Is plastic causing a cancer epidemic? And most importantly – what can we do to stop it?

April 24 , 8:45 am 9:30 am EDT

Alarming new research suggests a disturbing link between plastic and a 79% surge in early-onset cancers. World-renowned pathologist, Professor Lukas Kenner, is terrified by his findings – and he’s bringing them to the UN Global Plastics Treaty negotiations in Ottawa.

Resilient Foundation, Plastic Soup Foundation, A Plastic Planet and the Plastic Health Council invite you to meet Kenner and other expert health scientists as they reveal their latest, cutting edge discoveries and extensive research linking plastics to human health. Join us to:

  • Watch an exclusive mini-documentary of Kenner explaining how plastic impacts cancer formation and the story behind his discoveries;
  • Engage in a candid discussion and Q&A with Prof Lukas Kenner, Dr Pete Myers, Dr Jane Muncke and Dr Christos Symeonides as they answer the critical question: is plastic making us sick?
  • Discuss actionable solutions: chart a course for policy, industry and public action to protect the health of future generations.

Presenters:

  • Professor Lukas Kenner, Medical University of Vienna, LinkedIn
  • Dr. Pete Myers, Environmental Health Sciences, LinkedIn
  • Dr. Jane Muncke, Food Packaging Forum, LinkedIn
  • Dr. Christos Symeonides, Minderoo Foundation, LinkedIn
  • Sian Sutherland, A Plastic Planet, LinkedIn

Location: O’Born Room, National Arts Centre, 1 Elgin St, Ottawa, ON K1P 5W1, Canada

November 29, 2023 , 4:00 pm 5:00 pm EST

While finding cures for breast cancer is crucial, directing resources toward prevention will have a much larger impact on society by reducing incidence of the disease. Prevention efforts can decrease the occurrence of breast cancer, alleviating individuals from the physical, emotional, and financial hardships associated with the diagnosis. 

Research indicates that over half of cancer cases are preventable, with environmental chemicals playing a large role in their development. Given that many of these chemical hazards can be avoided, they represent opportunities for proactive prevention. In Alaska, female breast cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed among Alaska Native women. An increasing number of breast cancer cases cannot be explained by known risk factors such as family history, age or reproductive history.

ACAT recently released Protecting Our Mamaqs: An Environmental Health Toolkit for Breast Cancer Prevention, which is designed to train community health aides and other health care professionals about environmental contaminants that are linked with breast cancer. “Mamaqs” is the Yupik work for breasts – the title reflects our commitment to addressing high rates of breast cancer among Alaska Native people.

In this webinar, Nancy Buermeyer, director of program and policy at Breast Cancer Prevention Partners, will discuss her organization’s work in eliminating toxic chemicals and other environmental exposures linked to the disease. For the last 3 decades, Breast Cancer Prevention Partners has been leading the way for science-based public education and policy advocacy to reduce the risk of breast cancer and other health harms liked to environmental chemicals.

Krystal Redman (KR), executive director of Breast Cancer Action, will discuss pinkwashing. This term, coined in 2002 by Breast Cancer Action, refers to situations in which a company or organization claims to care about breast cancer by promoting a pink ribbon product, while at the same time manufacturing, producing, or selling products that are linked to the disease. KR will discuss Breast Cancer Action’s Think Before You Pink campaign, which calls for more transparency and accountability from companies that take part in breast cancer fundraising, and encourages consumers to ask critical questions about pink ribbon propaganda.

November 16, 2023 , 1:00 pm 2:00 pm EST

The US military has used firefighting foams containing per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) for several decades. (PFAS are also commonly added to plastics.) The Department of Defense (DoD) has designated PFAS as emerging contaminants due to their long environmental persistence, contamination of drinking water supplies and potential associations with several health outcomes (including cancer). 

In this half-hour EDC Strategies Partnership webinar, Dr. Mark Purdue will present findings from a recent study investigating serum PFAS concentrations and their associations with testicular cancer risk among Air Force servicemen, using samples from the DoD Serum Repository.

The study found an association between military firefighting work and elevated serum levels of certain PFAS. The study also found a relationship between PFOS serum levels and risk of testicular germ cell tumors. 

Updated: October 3, 2023

A major federal complaint, filed by the U.S. Department of Justice (on behalf of the EPA) on February 28 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, brings to light how a neoprene plastic factory in St. John the Baptist Parish, Louisiana, is allegedly violating the Clean Air Act. Run by Denka Performance Elastomer since 2015 and previously by DuPont, the “Pontchartrain Works” facility, as it is known, presents an “imminent and substantial endangerment to public health and welfare due to the cancer risks from Denka’s chloroprene emissions,” according to the official complaint. Denka’s facility is the only such plant emitting toxic chloroprene in the United States.

The federal complaint states that air monitoring around Denka’s facility have consistently shown high levels of chloroprene in the air—up to 14 times what’s considered a safe lifetime limit. According to the DOJ, the goal of the complaint is to compel Denka to significantly cut its chloroprene emissions for the safety and health of surrounding communities. The complaint also calls on DuPont, which rents the land out to Denka, to hold the polluter accountable for cutting emissions. 

The EPA in 2010 concluded in a peer-reviewed assessment that chloroprene is “likely to be carcinogenic to humans,” and that “childhood may represent a potentially susceptible lifestage to chloroprene toxicity.” This is especially concerning given the close proximity of Fifth Ward Elementary School, and other schools, to Denka’s polluting facility. 

Residents of Reserve and LaPlace, in St. John the Baptist Parish, Louisiana, have long spoken out against the neoprene facility situated between both communities in predominantly Black neighborhoods that has been emitting toxic chloroprene gas and other pollutants since 1968. Despite community concerns and actions, including recent class-action lawsuits, requests for Louisiana State agencies to take action, and evidence that they carry the highest risk of cancer in the country (at least 50 times the national average for residents nearest the facility), as well as international attention on environmental injustice in southern Louisiana, and ongoing U.S. EPA air monitoring and visits to the facility producing worrying findings on toxic emissions and worker safety, the plant has continued to operate.

In June the EPA abruptly closed the investigation and its discussions with LDEQ, without resolution. According to a WWNO and WRKF investigation, documents and emails show that the two agencies had negotiated a 43-page agreement that would have helped prevent communities further environmental injustices by significantly changing Louisiana’s air pollution permitting process.

We’d been out here fighting so hard for so long, it felt good to have someone shouldering the burden with us, and it felt good to not be gaslit. After all of that fighting, they just abandoned us.

— Joy Banner, Co-Founder of The Descendants Project and St. John the Baptist Parish resident, told WNNO in the weeks following the case’s closure

To better understand the full impacts of environmental injustice on the Reserve and La Place communities, we encourage you to listen to and watch community testimony, which has been collected and shared by Concerned Citizens of St. John. This group has brought much attention to the environmental racism inherent in the unjust placement of industry in their communities and others like it. Environmental racism is a form of violence against Black people, and other underserved groups, and in St. John the Baptist Parish is inherently linked to the inhuman legacy of slavery in the United States.

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October 25, 2022 , 11:00 am 1:00 pm EDT

With the climate crisis on full blast, join Rise St. James in Washington, D.C. to demand that President Biden protect Gulf communities from fossil fuel pollution and declare a climate emergency. We will also be demanding that President Biden meet personally with leaders from St. James, including Sharon Lavigne.

What: Traditional Louisiana funeral procession to the White House, honoring Gulf community leaders who have died from of the toxic chemicals spewed by the fossil fuel industry.

When: Tuesday, Oct. 25, at 11 a.m.

Where: Meet at Freedom Plaza — 1301 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC

Please wear black to participate in this somber event. We will travel together from Freedom Plaza to the White House, which is about half a mile. There will be signs and other visuals for you to hold, so please do not bring your own.

The National Cancer Prevention Workshop hosted by Plastic Pollution Coalition member Less Cancer is now available to watch online. Typically a live event on National Cancer Prevention Day in the U.S. (Feb. 4) the workshop was virtual this year and featured over 10 hours of original programming with key leaders in cancer prevention, journalism, education and government. 

“Our bipartisan focus is on cancer prevention, not politics,” said Less Cancer Founder Bill Couzens. “We have one of our most dynamic lineups ever with more than 70 presenters including physicians, nurses, scientists, public health professionals, legislators, advocates and educators.”

Panel moderators, speakers, and roundtable conversations included:

  • Mona Hanna-Attisha, MD, author, What the Eyes Don’t See
  • U.S. Representative Don Beyer, Virginia
  • Rob Bilott, attorney, author of Exposure that became the movie “Dark Waters”
  • U.S. Representative Michael Burgess, M.D., Texas
  • U.S. Representative Madeleine Dean, Pennsylvania
  • U.S. Representative Debbie Dingell, Michigan
  • US Senator Maggie Hassan, New Hampshire
  • Arianna Huffington, Thrive Global founder, author, public speaker and Huffington Post co-founder
  • Jill Kargman, author, comedian, actress
  • U.S. Representative Ro Khanna, California
  • U.S. Representative Dan Kildee, Michigan
  • Miles O’Brien, journalist
  • U.S. Representative Chris Pappas, New Hampshire
  • U.S. Representative Cathy McMorris Rogers, Washington
  • U.S. Representative Fred Upton, Michigan
  • Christine Todd Whitman, former Governor of New Jersey and EPA administrator under George Bush

The National Cancer Prevention Workshop typically is an event on Capitol Hill on National Cancer Prevention Day that educates students, legislators, and provides continuing education credits for physicians, nurse and public health professionals. 

“While this year has proven to have some extreme hurdles to overcome, we possibly have our most interesting workshop,” said Less Cancer Founder Bill Couzens. “When we founded National Cancer Prevention Day in 2013, we had no way of understanding how many would embrace it. Our workshop has grown to include global participants from over 10 countries. The impact lasts all year as thousands of students register for the training on Coursera.”

Speakers included several renowned leaders including physicians, nurses, public health professionals, scientists, government organizations, NGOs, advocates and legislators. 

“We commend our colleagues at Less Cancer for taking an extra step in creating National Cancer Prevention Day,” said Dianna Cohen, Co-Founder and CEO at Plastic Pollution Coalition. “At Plastic Pollution Coalition, we believe in looking at the big picture and focusing on prevention from disease and pollution. We now know the chemicals used to make plastic are endocrine disruptors. On a personal level, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer that was estrogen receptive, and she died at age 43. How do we prevent exposure to chemicals of concern? We must focus on prevention of disease and upstream solutions to pollution.”

The workshop is available on YouTube and Coursera. 

National Cancer Prevention Day first came about through a House of Representatives resolution led by Less Cancer on February 4, 2013. It states that work to prevent cancer impacts human health, the environment, and the economy. 

For more information, visit www.lesscancer.org.

About Less Cancer

Founded in 2004, the Next Generation Choices Foundation is a 501(c)(3) public charity known more widely as “Less Cancer.” The organization works to educate the public, create proactive public policies, and offer continuing education credit to physicians, nurses, and public health professionals regarding cancer, over 50 percent of which are preventable. Less Cancer signifies a new paradigm for addressing cancer, one focused on prevention. This is a departure from previous treatment-focused approaches, which focus on beating, conquering, or curing cancer.