The dangers of the crusade against cancer
by Dr Michael Fitzpatrick
Dr Michael Fitzpatrick
Toxic China?
by Kirk Leech
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spiked-health debates

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spiked-debates aim to provoke critical thinking on the issues of the day. Previous spiked-debates have discussed everything from global warming and human body parts to copyright and cultural diversity.

The NERC and MRC are sponsoring this series of debates on the environment and health with the aim of stimulating dialogue on issues in which science plays a part. The views expressed in this debate do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the NERC or MRC.

Pesticides, 'gender benders' and 'toxic salmon': are chemicals entering our food chain in harmful quantities? What do we know about the likely effect of manmade chemicals in everyday household products - from air fresheners to children's beakers - on our health? Should manmade chemicals be more of a cause of concern than natural ones?
(This debate is closed and is a read-only archive.)
Paul HarrisonSafeguarding health and the environment
Paul Harrison
acting director, Medical Research Council Institute for Environment and Health
'The current lack of information on the hazardous properties of many chemicals in everyday use must be addressed.'
Daniel OsbornBuilding blocks of life
Daniel Osborn
science director, Natural Environment Research Council's Centre for Ecology and Hydrology
'We need better ways of dealing with the chemicals we use and chemicals our activities produce.'
Elizabeth Salter GreenThe threats are grave
Elizabeth Salter Green
head of toxics programme, World Wide Fund for Nature
'There is a toxic soup cocktail, which can undermine the very biological processes that are fundamental to the viability of all species.'
Bill DurodiéA question of fear, not chemistry
Bill Durodié
senior research fellow, International Policy Institute, King's College London
'Many of the concerns about chemicals can best be described as conclusions in search of data.'
Tom AddiscottThe dangers of coffee and cabbage
Tom Addiscott
formerly AEN division of Rothamsted Research
'Chemicals can now be measured, and therefore worried about, at far smaller concentrations than before.'
Allan PaceyToxic testes?
Allan Pacey
senior lecturer in andrology, University of Sheffield
'In spite of all the scaremongering, scientists are still divided as to whether there has been any major change in semen quality across the world.'
Steffen ErlerCreating a safe chemical world
Steffen Erler
Centre for Environmental Strategy, University of Surrey
'Managing risks ultimately depends on a responsible society, right down to the individual.'
Debate home
The head-to-head
Paul Harrison
MRC Institute for Environment and Health
Daniel Osborn
NERC Centre for Ecology and Hydrology
Elizabeth Salter Green
World Wide Fund for Nature
Bill Durodié
King's College London
Tom Addiscott
formerly Rothamsted Research
Alan Pacey
University of Sheffield
Steffen Erler
University of Surrey
Reader responses
View the list of responses

Useful resources
Chemicals in Products
Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution (RCEP)

UK government response to RCEP report
UK Department of Health

Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation of Chemicals (REACH)
European Union

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