Tackling an
environmental disease

 HEA, UNISON, Co-operative bank and Scottish breast cancer campaign logos
Primary prevention is the answer

Citizen action


Information on this webpage is drawn from our 2005 report: Breast cancer - an environmental disease: the case for primary prevention, available free as a pdf, see Downloads. For current statistics and data, see our homepage.

Information is the key

Without essential information (and adequate resources) citizens cannot take, or be expected to take, either individual or collective responsibility for disease prevention. Without information we have no choice but to remain:

Sources of information

Where industry and government have failed in their responsibilities regarding provision of public information about human and environmental health hazards, comparatively less well-resourced citizens have taken on that responsibility themselves. Dedicating a huge effort in time and energy, national, regional and local non-profit, non-governmental organisations endeavour to fill important gaps in public and consumer information by:

Citizen action

Some recent breast cancer related actions taken by citizens include:

The Paris Appeal

In May 2004 a documented appeal was made to national decision makers, international organisations, the United Nations (UN) and the European Union (EU) to apply the precautionary principle to chemicals which constitute a danger to health and to support the proposed new EU chemicals legislation (REACH).

The Paris Appeal has already been signed by numerous international scientists, Nobel Prize winners, 400 non-government organisations and 90,000 EU citizens. It has also been signed by two million doctors representing the Standing Committee of European Doctors (CPME).

The Human Rights Act

Incorporated into the UK legal system since 2000, the Human Rights Act provides the appropriate framework for citizens deciding to take the 'civil action' path to gain public attention and progress for primary prevention or for related issues such as 'right to know' (RTK).
With no sign of leadership from government regarding primary prevention, and little evidence of a move towards safer, carcinogen-free developments from industry, it is clearly the responsibility of informed citizens to draw attention to, and gain support for, the primary prevention of breast cancer from those who influence policy, and from policy makers at all levels of government.
Little has been done to prevent exposure to carcinogenic chemicals in the environment, despite ample evidence that chemical pollution of our air, water, food and the workplace is the major cause of cancer. On the contrary, government, industry and a small coterie of scientists have combined to stymie efforts to introduce preventive measures, such as strict pollution control standards. But cancer remains a preventable disease. It is up to citizens to push for action.
(Epstein 1990)


contact us | about us | a campaign of Breast Cancer UK reg. charity number: 1138866 in England & Wales; reg. company number: 7348408|
Reg. address: Breast Cancer UK Ltd, Solva, Southwick Road, Denmead, Waterlooville, Hants. PO7 6LA UK | last updated: 05/10/2006