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New Reports: Link Between Environmental Pollutants And Cancer

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By Leslie Byford

According to a report released by the President's cancer Panel, the public may be underestimating the link between exposure to harmful chemicals in the environment and cancer.

The report says nearly 80,000 chemicals are used daily by average Americans with the potential to cause cancer.

"Well, what we have found is that all of us are at risk and when we thought that just because people worked in construction or other areas there might be a greater risk, that was not proved," says Dr. LaSalle Leffall, chair of the President's cancer panel.

The panel hopes to convey that the severity of the issue is greatly underestimated, something Dr. Michael Thun, who works for the American Cancer Society, sees a little differently.

"Overselling the role of pollution in cancer causation has the risk of trivializing all the other ways that we know about how to reduce cancer," he says.

But, Thun says, the panel's report comes at an important time as Congress begins to rewrite the Toxic Substance Control Act.

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