GENTECH archive


links of environemental substances and cancer in the Lancet

Hi all,

I've found that from the NLP. As I prefer to have rigorous sources,
does anyone have the reference from the Lancet ?
I have no access to the Lancet.

Pesticide pollution is linked to cancer


THE first firm evidence has been uncovered to link environmental
pollution with cancer in human beings. Researchers have found that
people with high levels of pesticides and chemicals known as PCBs in
their blood streams are far more likely to develop genetic mutations
linked with cancer of the pancreas.

The findings, reported in The Lancet, came as the Government announced
plans to carry out strict environmental and health toxicity tests on
1,000 chemicals by 2005.

Michael Meacher, the Environment Minister, said yesterday: "Only a few
hundred of the 20,000 chemicals in everyday use have been tested for
their impact on health and the environment. This is unacceptable."

There is growing concern about the effects of "gender bender" hormone
disrupter chemicals that are feared to be affecting the endocrine
system in humans and wildlife.

Mr Meacher said that the 1,000 target chemicals, ranging from flame
retardants to pesticides, amounted to "95 per cent of the total
tonnage of all chemicals produced". He would be looking closely at the
Lancet findings to see if the Government needed to step up action
against rhe chemicals concerned.

The cancer link has been made by Professor M iguel Porta and
colleagues at the Municipal Institute of Medical Research and
Autonomous University in Barcelona. They have been studying compounds
known as organochlorines including the pesticide DDT, and
polychlorinated biphenyls or PCBs used historically for insulating and
cooling electrical equipment.

Trace levels of such chemicals are found across the world in food and
water. They can build up and concentrate in the fat of animals,
including human beings.

The researchers looked at 51 patients with pancreatic cancer and
compared blood concentrations of the pollutants and the levels of
mutation of a gene called Kas, believed to cause pancreatic
cancer. KRas genes have been found to be targets for chemical
carcinogens in laboratory studies of animals.

The team found that people with high blood concentrations of DDT and
three common PCBs were more than five times more likely to have a
mutation than those with low levels.

The Lancet adds that the findings offer the "first link ; between the
most common genetic alteration in pancreatic cancer and an
environmental substance. It is also the first time that a mutation of
a Ras gene has been associated with serum concentrations of
organochlorines in any group of cancer patients." Professor Porta said
that the results "suggest new roles for organochlorines in the
development of cancers in human beings".

DDT is banned in Europe but is used in developing countries, from
where it is carried to Britain on the wind.

The Government's new strategy for the chemical industry states that
Britain suspended the manufacture of 209 different PCBs in the
mid970s.  Europe has set 2010 as the deadline for disposing of its

Mr Meacher added that the new PCB findings could lead to an urgent
speeding up of European stock destruction.  and tighter curbs
worldwide.  The minister pointed out that Britain had recently backed
moves to ban phthalates, used to make PVC plastic pliable, from toys
that babies suck.  Some teethers and teething rings still contain