By BCPP Director of Science Rainbow Rubin, PhD, MPH
You deserve a say in what goes on in our world. This November 8th, it’s important to use our voices to shape a healthier future for our neighborhoods, cities, states, and country by casting a vote for elected officials who care about preventing breast cancer as much as you do.
Breast cancer affects people across the political spectrum. That’s because chemicals are equal opportunity offenders, exposing people on both sides of the aisle to an increased risk of breast cancer and other diseases that are on the rise. Fortunately, new laws across the country that would more strictly regulate chemicals and keep toxic products with cancer-linked chemicals off of store shelves are receiving strong bi-partisan support. Still, more elected officials need to hear from people in their districts that getting chemicals linked to breast and other cancers out of everyday products, and out of our air, water, and industry altogether, matters!
The good news is that a recent survey of voters commissioned by the Program on Reproductive Health and the Environment (PRHE) at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) showed that Americans overwhelmingly want government and industry to ensure that products on store shelves are free of harmful chemicals, and they are willing to pay more for that peace of mind.
The survey found broad agreement that the government should require products to be proven safe before they are put on the market. More than 90 percent of those surveyed support this requirement, and two-thirds strongly agree with these ideas.
The poll also found:
- 76% are concerned about the impact that chemicals and plastics have on climate change.
- 54% say chemical regulations are not strong enough, while 21% say they are about right and 10% say they are too strong.
- 93% agree (57% strongly) that it is important to remove harmful chemicals from where we live, work and go to school even if it increases the costs for some products and similar numbers agree that it is important for companies to keep harmful chemicals out of everyday products, even if it increases costs for some products.
Voters are concerned about all the chemicals they were asked about in the survey, and expressed the most worry about chemicals ingested through water, food, and food packaging. And about half (49%) wrongly assume that the chemicals in food and consumer products have been tested for safety, which is not true.
“People assume that what they buy is safe and that almost always isn’t the case,” said Tracey J. Woodruff, PhD, a professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences, who directs the University of California at San Francisco’s Program on Reproductive Health and the Environment and the EaRTH (Environmental Research and Translation for Health) Center. “The good news is this survey reveals overwhelming support for the government to do a better job of protecting people from harmful chemicals.”
“At a time when most issues are politically polarized, the issue of keeping people safe from harmful chemicals finds widespread agreement among Democrats, Republicans and Independent voters,” said Celinda Lake President of Lake Research Partners, which conducted the poll.
Our legislative track record confirms the same finding that health is something we can all get behind. That’s why so many of the 18 local, state, and federal laws we’ve championed over the past decade and a half received strong support from Democrats and Republicans alike.
By speaking up about what’s wrong and saying, “NO!” to cancer-causing ingredients in our products, we can create positive change for current and future generations. Let’s continue to show up and use our voices to create a healthier, safer, and more just world for all. Together, we can eliminate the preventable causes of breast cancer.
This November, make your voice heard by voting for leaders who will protect your health and safety by ensuring chemicals linked to breast cancer are no longer welcome in our consumer products, workplaces, and communities.
 Woodruff, T. (2022, October 11). Poll: Voters Agree on Need for More Protections from Chemicals. Program on Reproductive Health and the Environment. https://prheucsf.blog/2022/10/11/poll-voters-agree-on-need-for-more-protections-from-chemicals/