Toxic Chemicals Found to Raise Cancer Risk for 66% of Americans
At least two-thirds of Americans reside in areas where toxic chemicals such as benzene, mercury and formaldehyde in the air "pose an elevated cancer risk," according to a study released last Friday by the Environmental Protection Agency, the AP/New York Times reports. The study examined the health risks from 32 toxic chemicals based on 1996 emissions data and found that exposure to the chemicals over a lifetime could result in 10 additional cancer cases per one million individuals nationwide. In addition, the study found that about 20 million Americans reside in areas where lifetime exposure to the toxic chemicals could result in 100 additional cancer cases per one million individuals (AP/New York Times, 6/1). The study found that about 50% of the toxic chemicals resulted from emissions from cars, trucks and "other mobile sources of pollution." The other 50% resulted from sources such as forest fires or industrial emissions. Jeff Holmstead, an assistant administrator with the EPA, said that the study "should not be viewed as a major cause of alarm," adding that the "average cancer risk to someone in the United States is roughly one in three. (So these toxins represent) a very small portion of the overall cancer risk" (Shogren, Los Angeles Times, 6/1).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.