Springboard

Photo Credit: National Cancer Institute

For years, Silent Spring Institute has warned policy-makers, scientists, and consumers that chronic exposure at low doses to multiple chemicals over a person’s lifetime could hasten the development of cancer. It seems the rest of the world is finally hearing our call. In June, a global task force comprised of more than 170 scientists from prominent research institutions in 28 countries released a landmark study affirming the relationship between cancer and environmental chemicals.

A new study by Silent Spring Institute on adolescent girls aims to shed light on the influence of environmental chemicals on breast density, a known risk factor for breast cancer. At issue is whether exposure to harmful chemicals in consumer products during this important period of development leads to increased breast density, and as a result, an increased susceptibility to breast cancer later in life.

The city of Boston is considering changes to its fire code that would result in significant reductions in the use of toxic flame retardant chemicals in public spaces throughout the city. On November 9, city councilors heard testimonies from Silent Spring Institute’s Kathryn Rodgers, as well as many others in support of the changes.

Routine exposure even to small amounts of certain common chemicals can pose a risk to human health. How to best predict those risks is something the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is grappling with as its current approach to screening chemicals for toxicity comes under review.

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