Tackling an
environmental disease

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

Industry and trade unions


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.


Industry manufactures, produces, transports and markets products in a great variety. Most are produced to enhance and improve our daily lives. However, many chemically based, chemically treated and radiation-emitting products are proven and potential threats both to health and environment. Industry is the major source of toxic substances creating hazardous conditions in the environment. But to what extent is industry responsible for human and environmental health?

In theory, all industry sectors, from laboratory to mine, from manufacture to market, have legally mandated responsibility for preventing adverse effects on human and environmental health as a result of their decisions, activities and products. In reality it is the business of industry to profit from its products. Key figures in the UK cancer establishment have said: 'The pharmaceutical industry will always fund areas that are in their best direct interests. Cancer prevention is not currently one of these People value treatment more than prevention so that is where the profit now lies.'
(Dalgleish Richards Sikora 2004)

History shows that industry:

Even when proposed changes are informed by science and endorsed by government, co-operation from industry sectors with a record of persistent and powerful opposition to change and of judging change in terms of real or perceived industry benefit is highly unlikely without government leadership and legislative reform.
'Industry' is not a homogenous entity A general observation is that market leaders, at least initially, are against new legislation as any change threatens their position, but that innovative, dynamic companies frequently embrace new legislation as a way to acquire a greater market share.
(International Chemical Secretariat April 2004)
The need to reduce levels of chemical and radiation pollution is creating opportunities for new partnerships between science and industry. Whether by design or default, scientists and industries responding to such opportunities will benefit future generations and the quality of the environment that supports future life.

Trade Unions

Trade unions could:

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