Three additional projects create momentum for major, systemic reform of how exposures linked to breast cancer are understood, managed, and regulated.
Chemical Policy Reform
The Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act (LCSA) passed in June of 2016. In the wake of its passage, we shifted our advocacy efforts to focus on the EPA’s implementation of the legislation.
The EPA is responsible for issuing proposed rules on both the regulation of individual chemicals and on the general procedures that EPA will use for chemical safety reviews going forward. BCPP has been and will remain engaged with EPA staff to advocate for the most health protective interpretation of the statutory language.
The EPA has published a number of proposed rules which are now open for public comment. The ones of most interest to BCPP include rules on four chemicals linked to breast cancer and the procedures for prioritizing and evaluating chemicals. With the change in Administration, it is unclear how the law and our advocacy will fare, but we will continue to work with our coalition partners and allies in Congress to protect the gains made in the law and oppose any undermining of the law.
Breast Cancer Plan
In 2017, BCPP launched a collaborative project to develop a Comprehensive Breast Cancer Primary Prevention Plan for California (Breast Cancer Plan). The plan is a new effort to develop a policy platform that uses the best science and policy ideas to stop breast cancer before it starts.
What is the Prevention Plan?
In the United States, a woman’s risk of breast cancer is one in eight. Yet the majority of women who are diagnosed with breast cancer have none of the most commonly considered risk factors for the disease. This begs the question “why?” while it also raises further questions about how we reduce risk for the disease at the individual, societal, and policy levels. While all states have “cancer plans,” these generally focus on early detection, treatment, direct services and some lifestyle issues. Our project seeks to explore the full range of prevention opportunities that can contribute to a statewide effort to prevent breast cancer.
Through this project, Breast Cancer Prevention Partners seeks to identify the best ways to reduce women’s exposure to toxic chemicals in air and water, in the workplace and in everyday products; and to reduce exposures to ionizing radiation in occupational and medical settings. We want to identify ways to reduce the stress of oppression from racism and poverty. In addition to personal choices people make about food, exercise, tobacco and alcohol, we want to address structural issues such as food deserts and lack of safe, clean outdoor recreation areas in certain California communities that make it difficult for women and men to maintain a healthy weight and activity level.
The Breast Cancer Plan will develop a scientifically sound policy platform to reduce or eliminate breast cancer risks and promote healthy activities. Our vision is an effective and practical breast cancer prevention policy agenda for the state of California that can be used as a model for other states.
How is BCPP developing the Prevention Plan?
Over the two-year project, Breast Cancer Prevention Partners will hold a series of study groups to:
- explore the strength of the science behind known and suspected risk factors for breast cancer;
- explore potential interventions to address these risk factors;
- identify the strengths, weaknesses and gaps in our findings; and
- work with the broad array of stakeholders to disseminate and implement elements of the plan
The process will be guided by a multi-stakeholder Advisory Committee that includes some of California’s leading breast cancer, public health, social and environmental justice and disease prevention experts. The Committee will include leaders from California’s communities, non-profit organizations, researchers and government officials.
At the end of the process, BCPP will produce The Comprehensive Breast Cancer Primary Prevention Plan, which will serve as a road map for legislators, local and state regulators, community members and advocates to work toward a healthier California.
Cancer Free Economy (CFE) Network
BCPP staff are core leaders of the Cancer Free Economy (CFE) Network, a collaboration of diverse organizations and partners seeking to solve the linked problems of pervasive toxic exposures and surging cancer and other disease rates. CFE Network participants want to align and expand existing efforts into a shared system-wide strategy to get poisonous chemicals out of our bodies, our homes, workplaces, and communities — by getting toxic chemicals out of our economy. CFE is working to shift the current culture of risk reduction to an upstream, primary prevention approach. In addition to serving as part of the overall leadership team, BCPP leads the Communications team as they develop and implement the strategic communications plan for the network.