President’s Cancer Panel Report/Steingraber Excerpts

May 5th, 2010

Steingraber’s testimony to the 2008-2009 President’s Cancer Panel is prominently cited in the panel’s groundbreaking report. The report, “Reducing Environmental Cancer Risk: What We Can Do Now” makes a paradigm shift that more directly links cancer to environmental factors.


…genes and environment interact in ways that are so complex that it’s really not worth arguing in my mind about how much plays what role because… we cannot change our ancestors. So a rational place to begin a program of cancer prevention [is]… with the environment, and lifestyle is wound up in the environment.


…it seems to me that the indication of harm is our trigger for action but how much harm and how much weight of evidence do you want before you make a decision I think is the interesting question, and surely the answer is different depending on how many people are exposed.


I believe it is time for a new human experiment. The old experiment…is that we have sprayed pesticides which are inherent poisons…throughout our shared environment. They are now in amniotic fluid. They’re in our blood. They’re in our urine. They’re in our exhaled breath. They are in mothers’ milk….What is the burden of cancer that we can attribute to this use of poisons in our agricultural system?…We won’t really know the answer until we do the other experiment, which is to take the poisons out of our food chain, embrace a different kind of agriculture, and see what happens.

Read the President’s Cancer Panel’s Report. Read media coverage.