` Columbia Journal - Health: Prevent Cancer Camp
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Prevent Cancer Camp

Health and consumer activists, trade unionists and ecologists have launched a brave new campaign to inform workers and consumers across the country about the threat of commercial carcinogenic chemicals in the home and workplace.

Mae Burrows, director of the Vancouver-based Labour Environmental Alliance Society announced the Prevent Cancer Campaign at the recent Canadian Labour Congress convention in Vancouver. She highlighted her work with labour and ecological organizations across the country, which seeks to inform people on the wide spread use of carcinogens in the work place and home and their effects on both human health and the larger environment.

"More than one third of Canadians are expected to experience some form of cancer in their lifetimes," she said. "A lot of this comes from exposure to carcinogens in the workplace."

The campaign is to encourage workers to push employers and chemical suppliers to make information readily available about the carcinogenic aspects of commercial materials. Despite the success of programs like WHIMIS, which informs people about the toxicity and corrosive or explosive hazards of workplace materials, Burrows says information about carcinogens and cancer risks is still hard to find in most cases. She says proper labelling and readily available information are critical in preventing cancer and other serious environmental illnesses.

But Burrows is also concerned about the politics of corporate capitalism and their largely negative effect on the efforts to both prevent cancer and find cures.

"There's a clear problem (in our economy) of putting profits before health," she said. "There are powerful corporate lobbies making big money from selling carcinogens in commercial chemicals. Also, cancer treatments are sold to make big money for pharmaceutical companies, while scientists often complain about being censored."

The Columbia Journal
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