Breast Cancer Awareness – Mr. Pruitt Do Your Job

I will not be silent! What about you?

Breast Cancer Awareness Month prompted me to write to EPA chief Scott Pruitt requesting that he do his job, which is protecting human health and the environment.

As an American, a mother, and a breast cancer survivor I am outraged that Administrator Pruitt is purposefully enabling industries to pollute our air, water, and land. It is shocking and frightening that the top ranking environmental official in the United States is actively trying to dismantle the organization that he is supposed to be leading while endangering the health and well-being of Americans all across the country.

I doubt I am the only person who sees a connection between carcinogens and other harmful substances in our environment and people getting cancer and a myriad of other horrible diseases. Pruitt should be eliminating pollution and toxins from our environment not adding to them.

On Monday, October 9, 2017, I saw the news stories reporting that Pruitt announced he is repealing the Clean Power Plan instead of implementing it. Watching Pruitt on video proclaiming, “The war on coal is over” was disturbing. As the head of the EPA, he should be declaring, “The war on air pollution is on.”

This same man says that he is first and foremost, a family man. If he really is a family man then why is he not doing everything in his power to protect human health and the environment? After all, his daughter and son need a habitable planet to live on along with billions of other people and living creatures.

I will not be silent!

Even if someone shreds my letter as soon as it arrives at EPA headquarters and it never makes it to Pruitt’s desk, I felt compelled and obligated to write it and put it in the mail. I am including a copy of the letter in this post.

Write Your Own Letter

You can join me by writing your own letter to Administrator Pruitt. In my dreams, a million letters written by concerned Americans decorated with pink ribbons magically make it past Pruitt’s censors and fill his office to the ceiling.

Make a Public Comment Online

If you do not feel like writing a letter, or even if you do, you can share your thoughts with Administrator Pruitt by making a public comment related to the EPA’s fiscal year 2018-2022 strategic plan.

The 38-page draft strategic plan outlines the EPA’s priorities for the next four years. If you are at all concerned about the state of the environment and/or climate change, it is worth your time to read it and then make a public comment.

Making a public comment is easy. The following link will take you directly to EPA-HQ-OA-2017-0533 on the regulations.gov website. From there you can read the draft plan and enter a public comment (you may make an anonymous comment if you do not want to provide your name).

For my public comment, I excerpted a paragraph from my letter to Administrator Pruitt and then uploaded a copy of the letter as an attachment.

The deadline for public comments is October 31, 2017. Make your comment today!

My Letter to EPA Administrator Pruitt

2017-10-09 EPA Administrator Pruitt Letter - Breast Cancer Awareness and EPA Strategic Plan

 

Reader Note: if you are interested in learning more about breast cancer, the EPA, Scott Pruitt, or environmental legislation, you will find information in the posts and resources sections below.

Featured Image at Top: Portraits of Women Forming a Map of the United States Representing Breast Cancer Awareness – Image Credit iStock/bubaone

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Breast Cancer Awareness Month – Our Environment

Farm Worker Spraying Pesticide on Lettuce and Cabbage Crops

Imagine preventing the people we love and ourselves from getting breast cancer by ensuring our environment is clean and healthy. Expand that vision to all cancers.

This October, during Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I propose we look beyond the pink ribbons and feel-good activities. Let us talk about the pink elephant in the room, the possible link between our environment and cancer.

Breast Cancer Risk

Throughout Breast Cancer Awareness Month, there is a deluge of articles and blog posts written to help you evaluate your breast cancer risk mostly by reviewing your genetics, family cancer history, and lifestyle choices (often referred to as environmental factors). Competing for space are advertisements for pink merchandise and reports on efforts to find a cure for cancer.

I am not against learning about breast cancer and ways to reduce risk, or pink ribbons (I am wearing one as I write this), or research to help people with cancer live happy and fulfilling lives. What bothers me is the emphasis on preventing cancer through personal choices.

“A person’s cancer risk can be reduced with healthy choices like avoiding tobacco, limiting alcohol use, protecting your skin from the sun and avoiding indoor tanning, eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, keeping a healthy weight, and being physically active.” —Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

This is good advice—for everyone.

Breast Cancer and the Environment

The thing is, while you are busy living your healthy lifestyle (which I am definitely for) you may be missing a crucial piece of the cancer causation puzzle—the environment. You, me, everyone is part of the environment and we depend on it for oxygen, water, food; a place to live, work, and play; for beauty and spirituality.

How does breathing polluted air, drinking contaminated water, eating food doused in pesticides; living, working, and playing in spaces made with and filled with toxic materials and being exposed to carcinogens just by walking around contribute to you or your loved ones getting cancer?

It is a complex issue requiring a lot more research. However, lack of research does not necessarily mean there is no problem.

  • Has anyone ever proven that spraying poison on food in the form of pesticides and herbicides is good for people’s health?
  • Has there been a scientific study showing that emissions from coal-burning power plants improve the condition of people’s lungs?
  • Is there peer-reviewed research demonstrating that the unpronounceable ingredients in cosmetics are safe and improve life expectancy?

It seems to me that a clean and healthy environment on planet Earth is crucial for each one of us to be healthy, happy, and cancer free.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month – Call to Action

Okay, so now perhaps you are willing to consider that our environment may be contributing to the possibility of you and/or your loved ones getting cancer. So what can you do about it?

Take action.

First, eat your fruits and vegetables, be physically active, and get enough sleep. There is no downside to living a healthy lifestyle!

Become Informed

Read the ingredients on your favorite snack package or preferred shampoo brand bottle. Then go look up the ingredients on the Internet. Do you still want to eat that or wash your hair with it? Do this repeatedly. Involve your kids and everyone can learn something.

Make your Voice Heard

Write a letter or e-mail to your congressperson, the mayor of your town, or the President of the United States letting him or her know you are concerned about cancer and how our environment might be contributing to it. Government agencies track issues of concern to their constituencies and data can be a powerful tool.

Hit the Streets

Join a group of people in your community who are working on something important to you. Do you worry about pesticide residue on the lettuce you buy at the grocery market? Are you losing sleep over the expansion of a natural gas fracking operation near your home or your child’s school? Are you concerned about pollution in a favorite stream or lake? Locate a group via your friends, family, coworkers, web browser or social media.

For my action, I am doing some research.

In his, National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, 2016 Presidential Proclamation, President Obama announced the White House Cancer Moonshot Task Force, which is striving to make a decade’s worth of progress in preventing, diagnosing, and treating cancer in just 5 years. I want to find out if and how the environment is being included in this national cancer research project.

What are you doing? Share your Breast Cancer Awareness Month action with other readers.

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