Sunday, May 16, 2010

Our Carcinogenic World

The old rule of thumb was that only a few percent of cancer cases are due to environmental contaminants. A new report from the President's Cancer Panel suggests we have much more to worry about.

It's a big part of who I am to scoff at people who cling to new fears. My grandparents didn't need to drink filtered water and I'm sure not gonna start that as a new tradition.

However, a recent On Point episode kinda freaked me out. I normally don't pay much attention to environmental alarmists, but my attention was snagged when one of the guests (who was arguing that our world is contaminated) dismissed the blanket assertion of a caller that buying organic food was a reliable way to protect yourself from toxins. They also gave the specific example that some municipalities treat their drinking water such that it becomes contaminated with carcinogens - and that you should filter your water.

I guess the only options are heavy-handed regulation or living in a neurotic bubble?


1 comment:

  1. *sends sympathy* Here's the way I see it: we have dumped gobs of stuff into our air, water, and soil. We can't avoid ingesting it. Much of it likely does make us sick, and it is well worth our while to study what we our doing in order to learn what the worst of it is so that we can stop poisoning ourselves with it. But at the same time, we can cope. Our lives have been extended by decades; if our pollution takes some of that extention away, we are still coming out ahead.

    Only slightly related, are you aware that fiddleheads are carcenogenic? They were a staple food of North American peoples. Those folks didn't live long enough to be dying of fiddlehead-caused cancer.

    I'm not yet caffinated enough today to figure out what point I'm making. . .



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