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Lecture

Notes based on Video shown in Lecture 1

3 Pages
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Department
Environmental Science
Course Code
EESA10H3
Professor
Jovan Stefanovic

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Video 1: Everyday Carcinogens
There is no one study that constitutes what we in the scientific community would call
absolute proof of a connection between cancer and the environment. Instead, what exists, are
many well designed, carefully constructed studies that all together tell a consistent story.
The first line of evidence comes from cancer registries and this is what measures the
incidence of cancer in a population.
oNon-tobacco related cancers have been rising in incidence among all age groups
from infants up to the elderly, among all ethnicities and among both sexes. And these
increases are definitely apparent since the early '70s and go back to about World War
II.
oIncrease of cancers including: Childhood cancer, testicular cancer, non-Hodgkins
Lymphoma, brain cancers among elderly and young girls.
oWe have no life-style factors that we can attribute to the diseases. They are not
related to smoking. They don't seem to be related to diet or exercise. We don't know of
any hereditary factors that would explain these diseases. So, we need to look at the
environment.
A second line of evidence comes from computer mapping which takes these same cancer
registry data and instead of displaying them over time so that you can look at time trends, it
displays their distribution over space. And when you do this the maps that result clearly show
that cancer is not a random tragedy.
oIncreased: breast cancer, bladder and colon cancer
oNon-Hodgkins Lymphoma: present where we have the highest intensity of
pesticide use in grain agriculture. These correlations are not necessarily causative but
they are provocative.
A third line of evidence comes from our own bodies. We know that a whole
kaleidoscope of chemicals linked to cancer exists inside of all of us. These include: pesticide
residues, industrial solvents, electrical fluids called PCBs, dry-cleaning fluids, unintentional
by-products of garbage incineration and dioxins and furans.
oThese chemicals turn up are breast milk, body fat, blood serum, semen, umbilical
cords, hair, placentas and even in the fluid surrounding human eggs.
oThe old scientific thinking was that in order to cause cancer a chemical had to
mutate your genes and damage your chromosomes.
oThe new thinking is showing that there are a whole set of chemicals called
endocrine disruptors that actually don't break our chromosomes, don't bother the
genes, don't cause lesions on your DNA but they are able to in some way mimic or
interfere with our hormones. Chemicals that have the ability to mimic hormones, that
actually get inside our cells, they are kind of like toxic trespassers, and instead of
damaging the genes they flip a switch during a time that that switch is not supposed to
be flipped. And if it's a gene that's regulating cell division then you can get runaway
cell growth which of course is one of the hallmark symptoms of cancer formation.
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Description
Video 1: Everyday Carcinogens There is no one study that constitutes what we in the scientific community would call absolute proof of a connection between cancer and the environment. Instead, what exists, are many well designed, carefully constructed studies that all together tell a consistent story. The first line of evidence comes from cancer registries and this is what measures the incidence of cancer in a population. o Non-tobacco related cancers have been rising in incidence among all age groups from infants up to the elderly, among all ethnicities and among both sexes. And these increases are definitely apparent since the early 70s and go back to about World War II. o Increase of cancers including: Childhood cancer, testicular cancer, non-Hodgkins Lymphoma, brain cancers among elderly and young girls. o We have no life-style factors that we can attribute to the diseases. They are not related to smoking. They dont seem to be related to diet or exercise. We dont know of any hereditary factors that would explain these diseases. So, we need to look at the environment. A second line of evidence comes from computer mapping which takes these same cancer registry data and instead of displaying them over time so that you can look at time trends, it displays their distribution over space. And when you do this the maps that result clearly show that cancer is not a random tragedy. o Increased: breast cancer, bladder and colon cancer o Non-Hodgkins L
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