U.S. Congressman John Carney (D-DE) today reacted to Republican efforts to discredit a biennial National Institutes of Health report that identifies substances that can cause cancer. According to the National Institutes of Health, the "Report on Carcinogens" (RoC) is a "congressionally mandated, science-based, public health report that identifies substances in our environment that may potentially put people in the United States at increased risk for cancer."
As the majority party, Republicans on the House Science, Space & Technology Committee organized the hearing, titled "How the Report on Carcinogens Uses Science to Meet its Statutory Obligations, and its Impact on Small Business Jobs," in an attempt to undermine the legitimacy of the RoC. They contend that it adversely affects small businesses, despite the fact that the RoC is not a regulatory document and does not propose policy solutions.
Congressman Carney, a member of the Delaware Cancer Consortium, led the fight for Delaware's Cancer Right to Know Law, which gave the public access to data about cancer clusters in Delaware.
"The government has a responsibility to provide the public with access to important information about substances that can cause cancer. That's why I've worked so hard with the state's Division of Public Health to identify cancer clusters in Delaware and ensure that citizens have access to that information." said Congressman Carney. "Today's hearing was extremely disappointing. The National Institutes of Health is a universally respected agency that conducts world-class research to make scientific determinations on a host of critical topics, including cancer. Members of Congress may differ on policy approaches, but we should start with a basic set of facts using the best science available. Unfortunately, today's hearing was indicative of what's been very frustrating for me during my time in Congress: some members simply refuse to accept that certain scientific facts exist. We ought to be using science to have a policy debate on those established facts. In the case of cancer risk, this is critically important to help protect people from exposure to carcinogens."