Published on Tuesday, 06 March 2012 11:04
It’s not often that we get celebrate a victory, but we all should today. Yesterday’s announcement by Breast Cancer Fund that Campbell’s Soup Company had committed to start phasing out the use of bisphenol A (BPA) in its can linings demonstrates that education and advocacy can lead to real change in fights against diseases such as breast cancer.
From the Breast Cancer Fund Press Release:
“Exposure to BPA, used to make the epoxy-resin linings of metal food cans, has been linked in lab studies to breast and prostate cancer, infertility, early puberty in girls, type-2 diabetes, obesity and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Childhood exposure is of concern because this endocrine-disrupting chemical can affect children’s hormonal systems during development and set the stage for later-life diseases.
Last September the Breast Cancer Fund released a report that found BPA in canned food marketed to children; Campbell’s Disney Princess and Toy Story soups tested the highest. A November Breast Cancer Fund report found BPA in Campbell’s turkey gravy and cream of mushroom soup. Both reports, as well as the growing consumer pressure on Campbell’s to get BPA out of its products, are part of the Breast Cancer Fund’s Cans Not Cancer campaign.
“Campbell’s decision to move away from BPA is a victory for consumers, who have been demanding this change,” said Gretchen Lee Salter, Policy Manager at the Breast Cancer Fund. “To truly be an industry leader, the company now needs to fully disclose the timeline for the phase-out and the alternatives that will be used.”
In the last six months, more than 70,000 letters were sent to Campbell’s by supporters of the Cans Not Cancer campaign—including nearly 20,000 from the non-profit Healthy Child Healthy World, which for 20 years has been empowering parents to protect children from harmful chemicals.
“Parents want to be sure when they serve Campbell’s Soup to their kids that it is free of toxic chemicals that contribute to disease,” said Rachel Lincoln Sarnoff, Executive Director of Healthy Child Healthy World. “I commend Campbell’s for taking this first step—as well as the concerned parents and consumers who made their voices heard in the boardroom and at the checkout counter.””
We want to congratulate Breast Cancer Fund for this achievement. We appreciate the staff and supporters of Breast Cancer Fund for their commitment on this issue. Without their commitment to this issue we would not be seeing this type of announcement from Campbell's Soup.
You can read the entire press release by following the link to the Breast Cancer Fund website.
Published on Wednesday, 29 February 2012 09:26
Here is a story we wish we could all see about America. Researches in the European Union (EU) have published a report showing significant drops in the death rates associated with cancer. One of the most significant drops came in the death rate associated with Breast Cancer. In 2012 the EU breast cancer deaths dropped 9%. Wow.
The researchers and physicians acknowledge that at the same time as this decline, diagnosis rates for breast cancer are increasing at a small amount but new treatments and early interventions have lead to the drop in deaths.
Now compare what is going on in the EU to what is happening in the United States. Here is text from a report published by the American Cancer Society in October 2011.
"A new report from the American Cancer Society finds that deaths from breast cancer in the United States continue to decline steadily. However, the decline has been faster for women who live in more affluent areas. Women from poor areas now have the highest rates of death from breast cancer.
“In general, progress in reducing breast cancer death rates is being seen across races/ethnicities, socioeconomic status, and across the U.S.,” said Otis W. Brawley, M.D., chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society. “However, not all women have benefitted equally. Poor women are now at greater risk for breast cancer death because of less access to screening and better treatments. This continued disparity is impeding real progress against breast cancer, and will require renewed efforts to ensure that all women have access to high-quality prevention, detection, and treatment services.”"
So why is the war against breast cancer working in Europe but not as well in the United States? It is likely a combination of many things, but we believe one point is probably more important for this drop in cancer death rates. That one issue is the fact that most nations in the EU are single payer health care systems. That means that the governments are the health insurance and health care provider. By being the provider of health insurance and health care, governments in Europe are more concerned about the financial costs of health care and take actions to “prevent” a health issue like breast cancer because it is “cheaper” to do that than it is to treat someone who has developed the disease/cancer. This type of prevention thinking has caused EU member nations to be aggressive in taking on identified health risks such as toxic chemicals. National governments such as the right of center French government have taken the lead in adopting laws to ban chemicals such as BPA from all food product containers. It is actions such as these that will lead to a healthier population and continued drops in the deaths associated with health issues such as breast cancer.
While the European Union has been moving forward on prevention, the United States has continued to drag its feet on prevention. Since we are a “free market” and for profit health care system, we have a medical system that is more concerned about profit than anything else. Pharmaceuticals use this “free market” to manipulate consumers into purchasing high costs drugs. In addition, the system only rewards hospitals and physicians for treating illness (surgeries, emergency room visits, etc.) and not keeping people healthy. When you add to this “free market health care system” the growing number of people who lack any type of health insurance you see how obvious it is why we don’t have the same type of declining death rates as they do in Europe.
In addition to the problems associated with a profit driven health care system, we also have a government system that is so controlled by those health care profit makers that it is impossible to get simple regulations adopted by regulatory agencies that would help prevent disease. The current debate over the regulation of BPA is a perfect example of how dysfunctional the regulatory system has become. Although more and more scientific evidence is being published about the health dangers of exposure to BPA, we continue to see the lobbyists for the corporations who produce BPA using their influence to stop the Food and Drug Administration or the Environmental Protection Agency from adopting any type of ban on the use of it in food containers (baby bottles, sippy cups, canned foods).
We appreciate the publication of these types of studies because it allows us to clearly see the differences between governments that continue to protect their residents from the dangers of toxins and our government that takes no actions at all. If we are ever going to get to a point where Americans are healthy we will have to start thinking about how our for-profit health care system is broken and actually the cause of many of our illnesses.
You can read the abstract of the study by following the link to the Annals of Oncology.