For Immediate Release: 12 May 2010
Contact: Parker Lewis in San Francisco or Dustin Rhodes in Washington, DC;
Phone: 925.451.3866

Friends of Animals to the President’s Cancer Panel

A recent study by the President’s Cancer Panel of the National Cancer Institute is a wake-up call to the use of known carcinogens in agriculture and industry.

Environmentally induced cancer, the panel told President Obama, “has been grossly underestimated.” With nearly 80,000 chemicals on the market in the United States, many of which are used by people daily, exposure to potential environmental carcinogens is widespread.

The panel cited BPA, radon, and manufacturing and combustion by-products such as formaldehyde and benzene.

Meanwhile, research by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service indicates that millions of birds, fish, and bees are dying from pesticide exposure every year.

In the latest news, the United Nations declared that plants and animals are going extinct about 1000 times higher than the Earth’s normal or “background” rate. Chemicals are factors in the extinction rate — and the threat to biodiversity will be, over time, the worst peril to human life on Earth. No wonder our use of chemicals have the attention of governments worldwide.

What’s less known is the reality that animal agribusiness relies heavily on monoculture (single-crop) farming — and that, in turn, means heavy pesticide use.

If all this seems heavy, it is. But there’s an answer that addresses most all of the problems.

Increasingly, plant-based diets are recommended to sustain the world’s threatened bio-community and address humanity’s alarming cancer rates. The National Cancer Institute has determined that as much as a third of cancer diagnoses are related to diet.

“A vegan diet offers many health benefits; the American Dietetic Association and the Dietitians of Canada agree on this,” says Friends of Animals president Priscilla Feral.

“The dietitians of North America concur in their findings that fully vegetarian diets meet the needs of all stages of the human life cycle, and are suitable for athletes. They agree that vegetarians tend to have lower levels of saturated fat and cholesterol, and have lower death rates from ischemic heart disease; lower blood cholesterol levels; lower blood pressure; and lower rates of hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and prostate and colon cancer.”

A plant-based diet has also been shown to reduce the most potent greenhouse gases emitted by animal agribusiness: methane and nitrous oxide. Notably, nitrous oxide is connected with the use of chemical as well as manure.

Friends of Animals lauds the panel’s recommendations that we seek out organic foods and that we avoid BPA — which we can do, for example, by avoiding microwaving dinners in plastic containers. The group also points to the significance of what’s in those containers.

“We ask every resident of this continent to look into vegan diets,” said Priscilla Feral. “The health of our bodies and our planet are interconnected.”

Free online Vegan Starter Guide

1. Issued April 2010; available online in PDF format.

2. Sonia Shah, “Behind Mass Die-Offs, Pesticides Lurk as Culprit“ – Yale Environment 360 (7 Jan. 2010).

3. National Cancer Institute: “HHS and NCI Launch National Campaign to Address Diet-Related Diseases Affecting African-American Men: Major Campaign Urges Men to Eat 9 Servings of Fruits and Vegetables a Day to Reduce Chronic Disease Risk“