Causes of the cancer epidemic in New York
Wednesday, June 30, 2010 - 1:39 pm

To the Editor:

Janette Sherman, MD, has practiced medicine for several decades. Her patients were predominantly workers exposed to chemicals and suffering adverse effects of the exposure.

Dr. Sherman has thought carefully about the causes of excessively high cancer incidence in New York State. Her well-supported position is that New York is downwind and downstream from a very large number of pollution sources.

New York State is downwind from a large number of smokestacks that emit known and suspected human carcinogens in large quantities. These industrial facilities are virtually unregulated as a result of deficient enforcement efforts by US Environmental Protection Agency and the state regulatory agencies, self reporting of emissions and prior notice of infrequent stack testing.

New York State is downwind from a considerable number of nuclear power facilities. New York State, especially the St. Lawrence River Valley, is downstream from the entire Great Lakes drainage basin. The fish in the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River are heavily contaminated with dioxins and other persistent organic pollutants (POPs).

The state Department of Health publishes an advisory document on chemicals in sport fish and game. It is recommended that girls and women of child-bearing age consume no fish from Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River.

The vast number of industries located in the drainage basin of the Great Lakes have poorly regulated limitations on their waste water discharges due to the self reporting and deficiencies of enforcement described above.

Dr. Sherman describes the St. Lawrence River as the sewer for the waste water discharge pollutants and the vast quantity of pollution that , eposits into the Great Lakes drainage basin from the polluted air.

Dr. Sherman makes the very important point that we can not expect the federal and state governments, which exist under the undue influence of many corporate entities, to do anything substantial about reducing the public’s exposure to POPs. 

On June 18, 2010, I conducted an interview with Dr. Sherman.  The entire interview can be accessed on the website.  Click on Contributors, Click on C, Click on Cancer Action Network.  This brings up our entire program list.

Donald L. Hassig, Director

Cancer Action NY