MetroWest Daily News - March 13, 2021

Forum to discuss cancer-prevention tips returns to Wellesley
by Michelle Hillman

WELLESLEY - For the second year, the Wellesley Cancer Prevention Project will hold a community forum to discuss the relationship between the environment and cancer.

The forum, "In Our Own Backyard: Cancer and the Environment, Where Are We Now?" will be held at 7:30 p.m., tomorrow in the Wellesley Middle School Auditorium.

"We're hoping to look into awareness of things that can cause cancer that are out there in the environment," said Sara Frost Azzam, a member of the project's board of directors.

Azzam and others involved with the nonprofit prevention project are concerned about the Department of Public Health's findings that rates are higher in Wellesley than the rest of the state for certain types of cancers like breast, prostate and multiple myeloma, or bone cancer.

The goals of the prevention project, founded in 1997, are to:

One concern of Azzam's is the site of a former paint factory where hazardous materials were dumped for years. The site of the Henry Wood Sons Co. on the town's western border with Natick is contaminated and being cleaned by Wellesley College to the tune of $30 million.

The site contains hazardous materials including lead and chromium on a parcel of land that includes the northern shoreline and western cove of Lake Waban. The state is pitching in $1.4 million to clean land it owns around Lake Waban.

The factory, located at Paintshop Pond, south and across Rte. 135 from Morses Pond, where the town beach is, made paint pigments from 1848 to 1927. In 1932, Wellesley College bought the building.

Azzam said while there are environmental risks like Paintshop Pond that residents can't control, they can control chemicals in the environment by not using pesticide on their lawns, wearing sunscreen when outdoors and disposing of toxic chemicals properly.

The forum tomorrow evening will feature Ken Geiser, director of the Toxics Use Reduction Institute at the University of Massachusetts Lowell; Steve Johnson, chief of site management at the Needham Plume and Wellesley Paintshop Pond for the state Department of Environmental Protection; Dr. Jill Stein, author of "In Harm's Way: Toxic Threats to Child Development"; and Harriet S. Warshaw, chairman of the Wellesley Board of Selectmen.

Azzam hopes the forum will teach people about environmental risks and help people make informed decisions.

"There are so, so many chemicals out there," she said.

20 things you can do to reduce the risk of cancer

  1. Use sunscreen.
  2. Don't smoke.
  3. Be active, eat well, don't drink too much alcohol.
  4. Take off your shoes in the house to avoid tracking in pesticides.
  5. Test your home for radon.
  6. Dispose of toxins properly.
  7. Read and understand product labels.
  8. Avoid products with formaldehyde.
  9. Use natural products on your lawn and nontoxic pest control.
  10. Avoid strong solvents and glues.
  11. Avoid products with petroleum distillates and benzene.
  12. Don't use lumber pressure treated with arsenic.
  13. Ask your dry cleaner to avoid using suspected carcinogens. Avoid carpet and floor cleaners that use them. Avoid toxic household cleaners. Use baking soda instead.
  14. Use cedar, not moth balls to discourage moths.
  15. Use nail polish without Dibutyl Phthalate or DBP.
  16. Use non-chlorine bleach.
  17. Buy organic foods. Reduce nitrates like bacon and hot dogs.
  18. Use unbleached paper products.
  19. Trim fat from foods.
  20. Don't microwave foods in plastic wraps.