Don't Miss Out

Subscribe to OCA's News & Alerts.

Open Letter from the OCA to the New Chair of the National Cancer Institute

Dear Dr. Niederhuber:

Congratulations!  Your well-deserved appointment bodes well for the future of cancer research.  There are several systemic problems, though, that impede creative solutions to NCI's core mission.  Title 42, Sec. 285(a) of the U.S. Code directs the National Cancer Program "to develop an expanded, intensified, and coordinated cancer research program...including an expanded and intensified research program for the prevention of cancer caused by occupational or environmental exposure to carcinogens."   Unfortunately, the NCI, CDC, EPA, NAS, and ACS have failed to mount a "coordinated" effort to research the additive and synergistic co-action of radiation and chemicals, primarily as a result of the opposition coming from the Pharmed Nuchem Industrial Complex (pharmaceutical, agribusiness, biomedical, nuclear, and chemical lobby).  In fact, the EPA steadfastly refuses to explore these interactions. 

Despite promises to involve all stakeholders, our federal agencies continue to stack their advisory committees with industry representatives and their surrogates and have done precious little to reach out to non-profit public interest organizations that represent a substantial segment of our population.  There are continuing violations of the Federal Advisory Committee Act and its mandate to rule out conflicts of interest and bias.  A stipend to fully cover lodging, meals, and travel should be provided to non-profit representatives.

What is needed is a Marshall Plan whose mission will be to follow the law and mount a "coordinated" research program into the additive and synergistic interaction of radiation and chemicals (over 80,000 chemicals now in US commerce) and their central role in carcinogenesis, mutagenesis, and teratogenesis.  Despite mounting scientific evidence to the contrary, our federal agencies, the ACS and NAS continue to emphasize lifestyle factors, i.e., smoking, diet, alcohol, as the primary causes--  what can best be described as Victimology Theology (It's your fault you have cancer!).

Our organization offers its cooperation and trusts you will give priority attention to these issues.

Success in your new post,

Lynn Howard Ehrle, M Ed,
Senior Biomedical Policy Analyst,
Organic Consumers Association Chair,
International Science Oversight Board, an OCA Special Project