Chemicals as carcinogens are widely believed to be the main cause of human cancer. However, when directly compared, nutrient imbalances are far, far more substantial in their effect than chemicals. I have taken this argument, as a seminar, directly to the two major chemical carcinogen testing organizations in the world (the International Agency for Research on Cancer in Lyon, France (a WHO organization) and the National Toxicology Testing Program (once in Research Triangle Park and once in Jefferson, Arkansas (an FDA/ NIH program) in order to get their critical comment. I only get comments that validate our work — almost all of which was supported by NIH funding. I also have been on 3 expert panels of the National Academy of Sciences where this topic was considered and have published extensively on the topic in professional peer-reviewed journals.
I am confident that there is an extraordinary amount of hype on the chemical carcinogen hypothesis and, although well intended by many who make this argument, I also am confident that this hypothesis has been extensively used to discredit the nutritional imbalance hypothesis primarily to protect the animal foods industry. I say this because when I was invited by Senator John Glenn to testify before his committee as to why the public is so confused about diet and health, his staff had received — in advance of my testimony — a crescendo of mail to the contrary and, upon a little snooping around by Glenn’s staff, discovered that almost all of it was generated by the animal and livestock lobbying groups!
This prejudice also is responsible for the $30 million spent at the Nutr. Adv. Article or breast cancer and Long Island, only to show no relationship. Cornell got some of that money and, although I publicly pointed out from the beginning that that was likely to be a fishing expedition, I also learned that, again, it was an attempt to divert attention away from the nutritional imbalance hypothesis. The final reports speak for themselves — no evidence of a link between breast cancer and pesticides, etc.
Some years ago I would have preferred the opposite because I am strongly opposed to the indiscriminate use of synthetic chemicals that get into our food. However, it is not their carcinogenicity that I worry about, but the real possibility of their toxicities of other kinds, most of which we don’t know prior to their use. But to continue to argue about their carcinogenicity is to discredit the proponents in the eyes of the scientists who know the data otherwise, thus to discredit legitimate environmental discourse.
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