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Pollution Linked to Cancer in Regions of China Per Recent Report

A report from a five year study conducted in China by the Ministry of Environmental Protection has linked pollution to high cancer rates in regions throughout the country. Per a translation from the Beijing Times, the Twelfth Five-Year Plan for Prevention and Control of Environmental Risks From Chemicals states: "a clear demonstration that because of chemical poisoning, 'cancer villages' and other serious [threats to] social health have begun to emerge in many areas."

The language of the state report set a precedent for state media and Chinese authority as the term "cancer villages" had not been acknowledged or officially used until now. Researchers attributed chemicals, industrial waste, hazardous smog and other environmental triggers to the staggering rates of the often deadly disease within "cancer villages." The report furthered: "Poisonous and harmful chemical materials have brought about many water and atmosphere emergencies...certain places are even seeing 'cancer villages.'"

The most recent report follows a 2009 journalist's map highlighting "dozens" of areas where cancer rates were high which spurred massive regional and foreign media attention. The environmental ministry also admitted the country utilizes "poisonous and harmful chemical products" which "pose long-term or potential harm to human health and the ecology." These chemicals have been officially banned within developed countries yet continue to be used in China.

Wang Canfa, a lawyer who practices environmental law representing victims of pollution in Beijing, offered a statement regarding the report and the response of Chinese authorities. He stated: "It shows that the environment ministry has acknowledged that pollution has led to people getting cancer. It shows that this issue, of environmental pollution leading to health damages, has drawn attention."

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