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The Increase Of The Cancer Rate In Our Country And Other Industrial Countries

2277 words - 10 pages

For my topic, I decided to research the increase of the cancer rate in our country and other industrial countries. My concern for this is personal because I lost my mother to cancer when I was ten years old.My mother was a healthy woman who was active and physically fit. She did not smoke, and she had no family history of cancer. Yet when she was 36 she had emergency surgery for abdominal pain, and advanced colon cancer was discovered.My mother's cancer had metastasized, meaning it had already spread to other parts of her body. Doctor's told her that there was no cure, but that chemotherapy might slow the progress of her disease. Knowing that the chemotherapy would make her sick, and would ...view middle of the document...

And although roughly 900 pesticides are registered in the U.S. (2), more than 160 have been classified as known or suspected carcinogens by the U.S. Environment Protection Agency and other organizations. While the EPA has acted to ban or restrict the use of many known or suspected carcinogenic pesticides, many others remain in use. For example, certain chemicals widely used as wood preservatives, including arsenic, chromium, and creosote is known or probable human carcinogens (3). The reason why these are so dangerous is because if they are absorbed into the plants, then we could come into contact with the chemicals as a result of bioaccumulation. Bioaccumulation is an increase in the concentration of a chemical over time in a biological organism compared to the chemical's concentration in the environment. Compounds accumulate in living things any time they are taken up and stored faster than they are broken down (metabolized) or excreted. So in other words, it is the build up of persistent chemicals as you go up the food chain. This can a serious threat to humans, because by the time we eat the food that has these persistent chemicals, the PPM (parts per million) will be at a dangerous level. An example of a situation where this might occur is when a farmer sprays his or her crops with DDT. Now although these chemical was sprayed on the crops, some of it may seep into the ground and become absorbed into the plants around it. When it becomes absorbed, the plant will now contain this chemical with a fairly low PPM. As time goes by, this plant may be eaten by a smaller animal. When the small animal eats this plant, it will gain the chemicals that were originally absorbed into the plant, and the PPM will double. So if the plant had absorbed a chemical with a PPM of 10, the small animal now is infected with the same chemical with a heightened PPM of 100. Then if the small animal is eaten by a larger animal, that larger animal is now infected with the chemical that has a PPM of 10,000. At this point, a human might catch and kill this larger animal. If the human was to eat this animal, then the chemicals that were once in this large animal are now in us, and the PPM has now doubled to 100,000, which is a very dangerous PPM level.The process in which a chemical accumulates as goes higher in the food chain is I called biomagnification. Biomaginification is the accumulation of a chemical in an organism at higher levels than are found in its own food. It occurs when a chemical becomes more and more concentrated as it moves up through a food chain -- the dietary linkages from single-celled plants to increasingly larger animal species. (20)In the past decade, the EPA has taken strong measures to eliminate such harmful carcinogens. One example occurred in1976 when The Toxic Substances Control Act was enacted by Congress to give EPA the ability to track the 75,000 industrial chemicals currently produced or imported into the United States. EPA repeatedly...

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