CANCER: Clinton to Propose More Funds to Study Toxins
President Clinton will propose increased funding today for research into potentially carcinogenic environmental toxins, the Los Angeles Times reports. If approved by Congress, the money would allow scientists at the CDC's Environmental Health Laboratory to quadruple from 25 to 100 the number of possibly toxic chemicals they monitor. The 56% budget increase also would enable researchers to use the latest technology available for the study of dangerous toxins and would fund studies of cancer "clusters" -- groups of afflicted people concentrated in one area and likely exposed to a harmful substance. CDC Director Jeffrey Koplan said, "There is hardly a state in the country that doesn't get confronted on a daily basis with questions about environmental health issues ... The lab is a unique testing facility which permits us to test for infinitesimal amounts of chemicals and toxins in the human body, and there are barely any other places in the world that can test for a spectrum of chemicals." American Cancer Society spokesperson Joann Schellenbach lauded the proposal, noting, "This will address the public's concern about the possible relationship between environmental pollutants and cancer risks" (Rubin/Cimons, 1/13).
Meanwhile, Rep. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) is calling for increased funding to fight another health threat -- tuberculosis. Noting that left unchecked, TB "could kill more than 70 million people around the world in the next two decades, while simultaneously infecting nearly one billion more," Brown said. He plans to introduce legislation to increase U.S. funding of international TB control from last year's $25 million to $100 million (Manning, USA Today, 1/13).