The United States has a very individualistic culture, blaming outcomes on individual actions, rather than collective measures. Cancer, for example, is often attributed to certain individual behaviors, such as a poor diet or smoking. While individual action plays a significant role in preventing cancer, there are several systemic issues that also influence cancer prevention. The American Cancer Society frames cancer as a problem of individual behavior rather than a collective failure to protect our environment and human population from chemical toxins. Releasing toxic chemicals into the environment disrupts human biology and ecology interactions, increasing the risk of developing life-threatening diseases, such as cancer.
Focusing on individual health behaviors in regards to preventing cancer is important, but there should be a greater focus on regulating and preventing the release of environmental toxins, since this impacts the nation’s entire population. U.S. agriculture uses pesticides and synthetic organic chemicals linked to higher risks of developing cancer. Atrazine, for example, is used for weed control despite the increased risk of developing breast cancer with exposure.
The air we breathe, water we drink and food we eat is contaminated everyday due to the heavy usage of toxic chemicals in agriculture and industry. There needs to be more environmental regulations and outlaw of harmful chemicals to protect the health of our nation’s people and environment.
Salt Lake City