Kate Meyers: My first reaction to reading Nicholas Kristof's New York Times essay about the President's Cancer Panel declaring that chemicals threaten our bodies was ... "Duh!"
I mean, sometimes I feel like EVERYTHING is bad for us -- so why go crazy with worry? But my rational, albeit nonscientific mind (I apologize to every teacher who tried to make me understand math or science) knows better. I listen to Michael Pollan when he tells me to eat REAL food (mostly greens) and not to eat too much. I exercise regularly. I don't smoke. I have a "Don't ask, don't tell" policy about chocolate and cheese popcorn. But beyond that, I do everything I can to stay healthy so that, hopefully, I will be around to help my children take care of their children.
So I'm ecstatic that great scientific minds are on the lookout to see what is causing so much cancer in us and in our children. According to Kristof, 41 percent of Americans will be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lives. Among the information in the Panel's 200-page report is the disturbing fact that only a few hundred (out of more than 80,000!) chemicals in use in our country have been tested for safety.
I hope that politicians are smart enough to get that CANCER isn't a partisan issue, and that they all support Senator Frank Lautenberg's Safe Chemicals Act. If an ounce of prevention now -- meaning more research -- can lead to a healthier environment in the future, then (duh!) let's get to it.