Proposal to reduce cancer in Delaware
Port Penn, DE, May 5, 2000. Green Delaware and the Wilmington River-City Committee are holding a press conference Friday in the Louis Redding Building in Wilmington, Delaware, to present a program to dramatically reduce the exposure of Delawareans to cancer-causing chemical and radioactive emissions.
Delaware has a very high cancer death rate, first or second or third in the US depending on whose numbers are used. State Public Health officials admit Delaware's cancer death rate is 13 percent above the US average.
The Tom Carper administration shelved plans to regulate toxic air emissions, and has declined to take measures to protect residents' health from industrial emissions.
Parts of New Castle County (DE) are in the "ingestion zones" (= within fifty miles) of 7 nuclear reactors (Limerick 1 and 2, Peach Bottom 2 & 3, Salem 1 and 2, and Hope Creek). While the nuclear industry has always claimed that it's radiation output is too small to cause health problems, more and more reports are linking proximity to nuclear facilities to breast cancer, leukemia, childhood cancer and birth defects, and other health problems.
So, Delawareans' health is subject to combined chemical and radiation insults, combined with the high smoking, poor diet, and poor medical care associated with social conditions and lack of public health outreach and education in Delaware. No wonder health is poor.
Any review of Delaware's supposed cancer control efforts shows one thing Delaware officials are determined to pin the blame on "lifestyle factors" (such as smoking and diet) and neglect environmental factors such as exposure to cancer-causing chemicals in our air and water. The great influence of the petrochemical industries in Delaware ensures that this will continue as long as the people tolerate it.
The cancer rate in Delaware is appropriately regarded as a public health emergency, requiring strong measures. Green Delaware [and..... ] calls for a phase-out of the production, use, or discharge of chemicals known or suspected or "reasonably anticipated" to cause cancer in humans. We propose a simple plan
Approximately 667 Chemicals have been listed as causing human cancer by the US Public Health Service, the International Agency for Cancer Research (IARC), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (office of Pesticide Programs) and the State of California. This list, with any necessary additions, shall be considered the "Delaware carcinogen" list.
The Delaware General Assembly should pass legislation requiring that an annual inventory be prepared listing all production, uses and discharges of these substances in the State of Delaware, and identifiable exposures from our-of-state sources.
Beginning in 2003, and continuing until 2013, all producers, users, and dischargers of Delaware carcinogens shall be required to reduce such production, use, or discharge by ten percent annually.
Any modifications or exemptions from this requirement must be approved by a body made up exclusively of environmental and public health advocates, with no representation of industrial interests.
All cancers shall be considered reportable illnesses in Delaware.
Delaware shall publish an annual report of the occurrence of cancer, and mortality from cancer, in Delaware, by Federal census tract, municipality, county, and proximity to facilities producing, using, or discharging Delaware carcinogens.
Look for more details in upcoming Green Delaware News. (C) Alan Muller
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This page was last updated on June 3, 2000.