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Children Are Why We Care About Environmental Safety

Posted May 09 2010 12:00am

Cancer report cover 05.09.10 A few weeks ago, I received an email from Consumer’s Union asking me to visit their headquarters in Yonkers, New York. I would be attending an “event” regarding the organization’s “National School Safety Coalition.”

I was invited because this blog has often discussed children’s safety issues. My favorite topics are dangerous food, chemicals and toys.

It’s particularly ironic that I fly off on Monday, just days after a report called Reducing Environmental Cancer Risk was released by the President’s Cancer Panel.

Writes Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times:

It’s an extraordinary document. It calls on America to rethink the way we confront cancer, including much more rigorous regulation of chemicals. …

In particular, the report warns about exposures to chemicals during pregnancy, when risk of damage seems to be greatest. Noting that 300 contaminants have been detected in umbilical cord blood of newborn babies, the study warns that: “to a disturbing extent, babies are born ‘pre-polluted.’ ”

Because I’ve been swamped by birthdays, Mother’s Day and end of school year activities, I hope to read the report during my flight. But according to news accounts, the report focuses heavily on the 80,000, mostly unregulated, chemicals for sale in the United States.

Here’s an example of what the report sounds like:

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