Credit: Chemistry World

Chief executive officer of Cancer Council Australia has supported the findings of the US cancer report calls for the removal of carcinogens and pesticides from food and water, stating more needed to be done to fully understand the issue.

Chemicals in food still accounted for a tiny fraction of cancer cases as compared to factors like smoking and obesity which are lifestyle-related, said Professor Ian Olver.

Nevertheless, he said, We should not ignore the fact there are a lot of chemicals in society that could have potential for causing cancer and we should properly evaluate these things before we let them into foodstuffs and the workplace.

He said, some of the tests conducted were inadequate - some has been over the top and did not account for exposure levels.

If the exposure level is too low, it will not harm the person even if it's dangerous at higher levels, he said.

According to the worrying President's Cancer Panel report, children were especially at risk of grievous harm from nearly 80,000 chemicals that are mostly unregulated in daily life.

The 240-page report revealed only a few hundred common chemicals had been tested for safety and US regulators chose to wait for evidence of risks rather than taking precautionary approach if there was question about the safety of a chemical.

Unfortunately, the same approach is done in Australia, said local environmentalists.

Craig Sinclair, director of Cancer Council Victoria's Cancer Prevention Centre informed that cancer risk associated from environmental factors was low compared with that of obesity, smoking and lack of fruit or vegetable consumption.

The Organic Federation of Australia has just recently called for a cut in pesticide use, supporting the US report about the link between chemical in food and cancer.

It validates what we have been saying for a long time about pesticides and fertilizers, he said.