Environmental Cancer Risk

Investigate a known or potential environmental cancer risk and compose a 600-750 word essay (approximately 2.5- 3 pages typed, double-spaced) to describe the environmental agent, where it is found and how it is contacted, the type(s) of cancer that it is implicated in, and some of the evidence that the agent is a carcinogen.
Background: The majority of cancer risk, 90-95%, is believed to be due to environmental causes. We will investigate an environmental cancer risks or a potential risk to better understand how a risk is identified and evaluated, what some of the challenges are in reducing risk, which populations are most affected, and what is being done at the policy level to address the risk.

How to:

Select a topic. You may choose a topic from the references included at the end of this assignment.
Write an expository or descriptive essay that includes each of these elements:
Title: (2 pts) Clearly states the name of the environmental agent.
Introduction: (14 pts) the first paragraph
a. Briefly define and describe the agent. Is it a synthetic (human-made) or natural chemical, a physical agent, or an infectious agent?
b. Briefly describe how was this agent was first discovered to cause cancer or appeared to cause cancer (an occupational or geographic association, a product, or other), and when?
c. What has the policy response been to this agent? Was it confirmed to be carcinogenic or is it still disputed? Are there agencies that monitor this risk—if so, what are they and how do they monitor it?
Mechanism of action of the agent: (12 pts) Explain 2a above.
a. What is the active ingredient of the carcinogen?
b. How does it cause cancer (hormone mimic, DNA damage?)
Where is the agent encountered (12 pts) Elaborate on 2b above.
a. Where and how are you most likely to encounter the agent–is it airborne, in food, water, associated with a particular industry or product?
b. it a problem here in the Puget Sound Region? Washington state? The US or any other particular location around the world?
Scope of the problem caused by this agent: (12 pts) For the location of interest that you described in 4 above: How many people are get cancer as a result of exposure to the agent? In the state of WA or the US? How many die from it? Is it known?
Conclusions: (12 pts) This section should reflect on your findings, and include at least 3 of the following:
• Do the data on this agent prove that it causes cancer, or is it not yet resolved? If it isn’t resolved, what approaches could be taken to resolve it?
• Is the public aware of this risk, and should it be? What should be done to raise awareness?
• Are there social justice issues associated with this cancer risk?
• If policies have been enacted to reduce or eliminate this risk factor, have they been effective? Are there differences in response to this risk in the US vs. other nations?