Community & Worker "Toxics Right To Know" Initiative

By Julie De Gregorio

Today, one in eight women in America will get breast cancer in her lifetime – an increase from one in 20 in 1964. Clearly, something has changed in America since 1964. Many scientists and public health advocates are pointing to environmental factors that include carcinogenic and endocrine disrupting chemicals.

The Breast Cancer Fund is spearheading an alliance of community, environmental, labor, and health advocacy groups in a multi-year effort to promote state-wide legislation for community and workers right to know about toxic exposures. This major initiative will expand reporting requirements by employers about toxics and other hazards, monitor compliance, and reward clean corporations.

The newly formed “Right To Know Alliance” plans a legislative agenda aimed at toxic use reduction, the expansion of safety and exposure issues for workers, and increased funding for the State registries to expand their scope for linking occupational data with birth defects and cancer.

Under the proposed legislation, purveyors and industrial users of chemicals that contribute to cancer, developmental harm, and/or neurological problems would be required to report the disparities between environmental exposure limits and occupational exposure limits. Such reporting would be a mandatory part of hazard communication and would be required as a disclosure on Material Safety Data Sheets.

The Breast Cancer Fund (TBCF), founded in 1992 by Andrea Martin, is a national nonprofit organization working to end the breast cancer epidemic through research, action, and policy initiatives. TBCF frequently works with local, state, and federal government officials to create policies that focus on the causes and prevention of breast cancer.

The Breast Cancer Fund has been an early and key leader in promoting research efforts that investigate the linkage between environmental toxins and breast cancer. TBCF has become expert on the growing body of evidence that indicates that environmental exposures to certain toxic synthetic chemicals pose significant risks for breast cancer. The Fund has attracted over 70,000 individuals and businesses who are committed to research and projects at the cutting-edge of the disease.

If we are truly committed to making cancer a national health priority, then we must place the need for a clean environment at the top of our political agenda. The two issues are inextricably entwined.

The Breast Cancer Fund is calling upon organized labor to join the fight against cancer by demanding that the government increase funding to address environmental and workplace toxic exposures that are linked to cancer and other diseases through “right to know laws” and increased funding for research.

For further information about TBCF or the Right To Know Alliance contact: Julie De Gregorio for The Breast Cancer Fund • 415 331-6501


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