EPA: Toxic Chemicals Are Cancer Risk
WASHINGTON (AP) - Toxic chemicals pose an elevated cancer risk
to two-thirds of Americans living in nearly every part of the
country, says an assessment by the Environmental Protection Agency
(news - web sites).
A long-awaited study of health risks from 32 toxic chemicals,
released Friday, concludes that 200 million people live in areas
where the cancer risk from exposure to these substances is higher
than what the EPA considers a minimum level of concern.
The assessment, based on 1996 data, found that automobile and
truck emissions are a major cause of exposure to the chemicals,
with power plants and other industrial sources also involved.
The study, described as a "snapshot" of health risks from air
toxins, found that the chemicals can be expected over a lifetime
of exposure to cause 10 additional cancers for every 1 million
people. These risks can be found across virtually the entire
country, said the study, which was reviewed by outside scientists.
"More than 200 million people live in census tracts where the
combined upper bound lifetime cancer risk from these (chemical)
compounds exceeded 10 in 1 million risk," said the report. It
added that 20 million people live in areas where the risks are
even higher -- 100 additional lifetime cancers for every 1 million
The EPA considers a cancer risk of greater than one in a million
or greater as a matter of concern, although those levels do not
always trigger regulatory actions.
"The risks are very much in line with what we expected all along,"
said Jeffrey Holmstead, head of the EPA's air office.
[06/03/2002; Environmental Protection Agency ]
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