What You Need to Know. What You Can Do.
This training addresses concerns about the connection between cancer and exposure to toxic substances in the environment. It contains information about which types of substances are known either to cause or likely to cause cancer, and what can be done to reduce exposures to them. It also explains how scientists discover which substances are likely to cause cancer. Although toxic substances may cause other health effects, cancer is the focus of this training.
At the end of this training, you will find information about the federal government agencies responsible for reducing exposures to harmful substances and where to go for more information. These agencies develop policies to limit our exposure to agents that can be hazardous to our health such as lead in gasoline and paint, asbestos in building insulation, bacteria in our water supplies, air pollutants, and pesticides. Some harmful exposures, however, result from personal choices or lifestyles.
The good news is that a large number of cancers can be prevented. It is estimated that as many as two-thirds of all cancer cases are linked to environmental causes. This number may even be higher. Many of these are linked to lifestyle factors that can be modified. For example,
This training was created by scientists at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) in response to many public requests for information. The content has been guided by responses from a series of focus groups that were conducted prior to producing the booklet. People from local communities throughout the country participated in these groups.
NCI and NIEHS are 2 of the 27 institutes/centers that make up the National Institutes of Health (NIH), an agency of the Federal Government’s Department of Health and Human Services supported by your tax dollars. NIH is the major supporter of medical research in universities and academic centers throughout the country. To date, 102 Nobel Prize winners have been supported by funds from NIH, more than any other scientific institution in the world. For details, go to the NIH Web site at www.nih.gov.
NCI was established by Congress in 1937 as the Federal Government’s principal agency for cancer research and training. Research projects include a broad range of topics:
Additional activities include
Since the passage of the National Cancer Act in 1971, which broadened NCI’s responsibilities, the institute has built an extensive network that includes
NCI’s mission also includes
For more information, go to NCI’s Web site at www.cancer.gov.
NIEHS was established by Congress in 1966 to reduce human illness caused by hazardous substances in the environment. The National Toxicology Program, which is headquartered at NIEHS,
NIEHS conducts and supports
as well as
NIEHS is a leader in understanding the effect of environmental pollution on
For more information, go to the NIEHS Web site at www.niehs.nih.gov.
The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) acknowledges the work that the writers, editors, and reviewers have provided to produce this educational resource.
The use of trade names and commercial sources is for identification only and does not imply endorsement by ATDSR or the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Web links to non-federal organizations are provided solely as a service to our users. These links do not constitute an endorsement of these organizations or their programs by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), ATSDR, or the federal government, and none should be inferred. CDC and ATSDR are not responsible for the content of the individual organization Web pages found at these links.
The original publication [PDF - 614 KB] and the instructional content of this training course are in the public domain. You are free to use text from the publication and adapt it to your needs. Please credit the NCI publication or the ATSDR training course as your source. Illustrations in this publication, however, may be owned by the artist. To inquire about permission to use any of the illustrations, please contact NCI's Office of Communications Services at (301) 496-4394 or write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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