( by Alain Geerts July 27, 2011. This article appeared on the site "Health and Environment" - Belgium.)
The European Cancer and Environment Research Institute has been created. ECERI - that's its name - has its headquarters in Brussels. This independent scientific organization was founded by the former French Minister of the Environment, Corinne Lepage, former Ecolo MEP Paul Lannoye, and Professor Dominique Belpomme, President of the Association for Research and Treatments against Cancer ( ARTAC ) . The Brussels initiative follows on the Paris Appeal proclaimed in 2004 which concluded that there is "a disturbing upward trend of cancers caused by environmental pollutants." The implementation of this statement about the dangers of chemical pollution has resulted in the creation of a totally independent research institute for the study of environmentally-related cancers, treatment and prevention.
The initiator of the Paris Appeal, Dominique Belpomme, oncologist and professor at Paris V, argues that "a large number of cancers are caused by the physical, chemical and biological degradation of the environment." He does not hesitate to assert along with the Director of ECERI, biochemist Philippe Irigaray, who is known to have established links between pollution and obesity, that two-thirds to three- quarters of cancers are due to the environment.
ECERI will function as a research center "without walls": it intends not only to coordinate a network of multidisciplinary researchers in the 27 Member States of the European Union, set up databases, organize seminars and training, but also to negotiate the necessary financing for public or private European institutions. The new institute will not limit its activity to cancer, but will include from the start "other diseases caused by environmental pollution, whether physical, chemical or biological." A member of ARTAC, Professor Patrick Fenichel, endocrinologist at the National Institute for Health and Medical Research (INSERM), insists on "the part played by exposure to chemicals, endocrine disruptors, heavy metals and non-ionizing radiation in the origin of emerging epidemic chronic diseases: allergies, asthma, diabetes and obesity, developmental diseases, infertility, hormone-dependent cancers, neurodegenerative or psychiatric diseases. "
Professor Belpomme also cites high blood pressure, autism, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. He hypothesizes that these conditions and many others suffered by adults could begin in the fetus, "because of its extreme vulnerability to all forms of pollution ... Oncogene viruses and radiation, chemicals that we have dispersed in the environment, play a much larger role in carcinogenesis than is commonly thought. "
For Corinne Lepage, the hypothesis needs to be verified through epidemiological and eco-toxic studies. Hence the interest in creating ECERI: "The current system of expertise," she says, "is largely in the hands of lobbyists and deprives society of an independent appraisal conducted for the sole purpose of serving the public interest." ARTAC insists: " It is urgent to intensify research into the links between health and environment, and begin teaching today what is affirmed scientifically in order to prepare the medicine of tomorrow. "
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