President's Cancer Panel urges consumers to demand organic.

President's Cancer Panel urges consumers to demand organic.

(Posted May 2, 2010) The President’s Cancer Panel report, released today, exhorts consumers to choose food grown without pesticides or chemical fertilizers, antibiotics, and growth hormones to help decrease their exposure to environmental chemicals that can increase their risk of contracting cancer. Organic products avoid the use of these chemicals.

The landmark report, “Reducing Environmental Cancer Risk: What We Can Do Now,” raises concerns for chemical exposures from many causes, and says relative to food:

Exposure to pesticides can be decreased by choosing, to the extent possible, food grown without pesticides or chemical fertilizers…Similarly, exposure to antibiotics, growth hormones, and toxic run-off from livestock feed lots can be minimized by eating free-range meat raised without these medications.

“Organic production and processing is the only system that uses certification and inspection to verify that these chemicals are not used on the farm all the way to our dinner tables,” said Christine Bushway, executive director of the Organic Trade Association (OTA).

The report is an unexpectedly strong endorsement, according to Nicholas D. Kristof, who wrote in the New York Times:

The President’s Cancer Panel is the Mount Everest of the medical mainstream, so it is astonishing to learn that it is poised to join ranks with the organic food movement and declare: chemicals threaten our bodies.