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Cancer War is Threatened by Recommendations of Presidential Commission

Chicago, August 30, 1996. — The following was released today by the Cancer Prevention Coalition, Chicago.

Cancer rates will skyrocket, if the June 13, 1996 recommendations of the President's Commission on Risk Assessment are implemented. "These recommendations will open the floodgates to cancer-causing and other toxic industrial chemicals in the air, water, food and the workplace," warned Samuel Epstein, M.D.

The Presidential Commission is proposing to roll back regulation of carcinogenic and other toxic industrial chemicals. It promises to "manage" health risks rather than preventing them. It also discredits animal tests for carcinogens and allows for "safe" exposure levels; the Commission's report goes to the President and Congress in early October. Similar proposals by the Environmental Protection Agency have recently met with widespread consumer and scientific opposition.

Since 1971, when President Nixon and Congress inaugurated the National Cancer Act, the National Cancer Institute's war against cancer has failed. After $30 billion in taxpayer spending, the incidence of cancer has reached epidemic proportions — now striking more than one in three and killing more than one in four — while our ability to treat and cure most cancers remains largely unchanged. Cancer costs are now over $100 billion dollars a year and are a major factor in the current health care crisis; per-case Medicare payments for cancer now exceed those for any other disease. "We are losing the war against cancer and this would be the knock-out punch" concluded Dr. Epstein.

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