The health of New York State residents could be vastly improved by the enactment of a law that requires the New York State Department of Health (NYS DOH) to develop and implement an educational program that both increases the level of public understanding of basic cancer biology, and raises awareness of the cancer preventive value of reduced exposure to diesel engine exhaust, gasoline engine exhaust, the dioxin and dioxin-like contaminants of animal fat foods, and arsenic present in CCA pressure treated lumber. Populations at elevated risk would receive ultimate outreach investment. Those known to consume sport fish from Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River would be the focus of such targeted outreach. Another group that needs special attention are children living in neighborhoods with high ambient exhaust levels.
AN ACT to amend the public health law, in relation to the prevention of cancer through public education
The people of the State of New York, represented in Senate and Assembly, do enact as follows:
Section 1. Article 24, Section 2400, of public health law is amended by adding two new paragraphs, to read as follows:
(a) The Commissioner of the New York State Department of Health shall, in consultation with the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and non-governmental organizations committed to cancer incidence reduction, develop and implement an educational program directed at preventing cancer by seeking to make all of New York Stateís residents aware of those exposures to carcinogenic substances and agents, which can be avoided or minimized. The cancer risk factors that shall be addressed in the first phase of this educational program shall include: cigarette smoking, consumption of persistent pollutant contaminated animal fat foods, exhaust exposure, failure to consume sufficient quantities of fruits and vegetables on a daily basis, and the arsenic exposure of contact with CCA pressure treated lumber.
(b) The educational program so established shall commence by focusing upon the prevention of lung cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer, colorectal cancer, bladder cancer, leukemia and lymphoma. On a yearly basis, the Commissioner shall make a determination as to whether additional cancers should be included in the Departmentís cancer prevention education program, and whether additional risk factors need to be addressed.
Section 2. This act shall take effect on the first of September next succeeding the date on which it shall have become a law.
FURTHER LEGISLATIVE PRIORITIES:
Legislation requiring that labeling make known to consumers the presence of any carcinogenic contaminants in foods is a necessary part of facilitating exposure avoidance behavior.
Open waste burning must be banned statewide. The banning law must include provisions for the establishment of an educational effort aimed at rapidly eliminating open burning of plastics in those regions of the State where animal feed crops are produced.