Study Proves Cancer Cases NOT HIGHER on Kauai Then the Rest of the State of Hawaii

The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) jointly with the Hawaii Tumor Registry and University of Hawaii Cancer Center is releasing an evaluation of the incidence of cancer on Kauai and each of its census tracts. The evaluation found that there is not a higher incidence of cancer on Kauai compared to the rest of the state; except for melanoma of the skin, a cancer related to ultraviolet exposure.

The evaluation was conducted at the request of Kauai legislators and community members in response to concerns about the health impact of pesticides used by agricultural chemical companies.

Kauai Cancer Report

Click to view the full report

The analysis found that cancers of the breast, endometrium, Hodgkin lymphoma, liver, ovary, prostate and thyroid were lower on Kauai compared to the entire state of Hawaii. Higher rates of melanoma on Kauai were found and may be explained by a larger proportion of older adults of Caucasian ancestry with high levels of lifetime sun exposure residing in the northern region of Kauai.

“Cancer clusters are rare, especially those that are linked to environmental exposures. Doctors and scientists often cannot explain why one person develops cancer and another does not,” said Dr. Barbara Brooks, DOH Toxicologist.

Cancer may be caused by a variety of factors acting alone or together, usually over a period of many years. These risk factors include age, family history and exposures to viruses and bacteria, lifestyle choices, sunlight exposure and on the job exposure to chemicals.

Of the more than 12,000 cancer deaths in Hawaii between 2000 and 2005, it is estimated that nearly 30 percent could have been prevented by avoiding tobacco use and up to 35 percent could have been averted by improving nutrition and maintaining a normal body weight. Geographic, economic, and educational barriers and other social inequities influence lifestyle factors that increase a person’s chance of developing cancer.

Health Director Loretta Fuddy said, “DOH through its Foundations for Healthy Generations Initiative is committed to addressing the social conditions and physical environments where people live, work and play in order to improve the health of all groups in Hawaii.”

The Hawaii Tumor Registry conducts cancer surveillance and maintains a confidential database of information on all reportable cases of cancer, benign brain tumors and many blood disorders diagnosed in Hawaii. The Registry is jointly operated by the University of Hawaii Cancer Center and DOH.

The DOH Hazard Evaluation and Emergency Response Office provides leadership, support, and partnership in preventing, planning for, responding to, and enforcing environmental laws relating to releases or threats of releases of hazardous substances.

The full evaluation report is available on the DOH website at www.health.hawaii.gov.

 

‘Ōlelo Hosts ‘GMO Week’ of One-Hour Shows on Genetically Modified Organisms – Big Island to Simulcast on Nā Leo ʻO Hawaiʻi

‘Ōlelo Community Media has gathered people from both sides of the GMO (genetically modified organisms) debate for four nights of signature programming that aims to delve more deeply into this often divisive issue.

‘ŌLELO HOSTS ‘GMO WEEK’ OF ONE-HOUR SHOWS ON GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISMS

‘ŌLELO HOSTS ‘GMO WEEK’ OF ONE-HOUR SHOWS ON GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISMS

“The subject of GMOs is clearly one that many people in our community feel passionately about,” says Roy Amemiya, president & CEO of ‘Ōlelo. “We hope that GMO Week will help all of us gain a better understanding of both the pros and cons of GMO so that our community can create solutions that are in the best interest of Hawai‘i.”

Nā Leo ʻO Hawaiʻi will be simulcasting ‘Ōlelo’s pre-recorded and live shows debating the topic of GMO (Genetically Modified Organisms) June 24-27 at 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Channel 54.

Shows regularly scheduled on Channel 54 on Nā Leo ʻO Hawaiʻi, such as Astrology with Rollin Frost and Aloha Chapel will air on Channel 53. Program listings can be found at www.naleo.tv

GMO Week launches on Monday, June 24 and continues through Thursday, June 27, running from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. each night. The ‘Ōlelo signature productions will air on Oahu on ‘Ōlelo Channel O‘AHU 55.

Because Neighbor Island interest in GMOs is so great, the shows will be also available during the same times on all of the Neighbor Islands through Channel 54, thanks to the local community access providers Akakū in Maui County, Nā Leo ʻO Hawaiʻi on the Big Island and Hō‘ike Kauai.

The shows will also available for online viewing through ‘ŌleloNet On Demand by visiting www.olelo.org.

Monday, June 24 and Tuesday, June 25

GMO Week starts with two pre-recorded shows from panels that convened earlier this month. The June 25 show will present a continuation of what airs on June 24. On the first night, 30 minutes of programming from the pro-GMO panel will be presented first, followed by 30 minutes from the anti-GMO panel. On the second night, the order will switch, with 30 minutes from the anti-GMO panel to air first, followed by the pro-GMO panel.

Chad Blair of Honolulu Civil Beat served as the moderator for a pro-GMO panel that featured Dr. Dennis Gonsalves, director of the USDA Pacific Basin Agricultural Research Center in Hilo; Dean Okimoto, owner of Nalo Farms and president of the Hawai‘i Farm Bureau; and Adolph Helm, project manager for Dow AgriSciences’ Moloka‘i, Hawai‘i Mycogen Seeds, and the Seeds and Traits Research and Development Project, as well as a board member of the Hawai‘i Crop Improvement Association.

Beth-Ann Kozlovich of Hawai‘i Public Radio served as the moderator for the anti-GMO panel. That panel featured Walter Ritte, manager and teacher at Keawenui Fishpond and Learning Center of Moloka‘i; Gary Hooser, Kaua‘i County councilmember and chair of the Agriculture and Intergovernmental Affairs Committee; and Scott Cooney, an adjunct professor of sustainability at the Shidler College of Business at UH Manoa.

Wednesday, June 26 and Thursday, June 27

In an ‘Ōlelo first, the public statewide is encouraged to participate in two live discussions on GMOs through live tweets or pre-submitted comments by phone. Questions or comments by phone should be submitted by calling 834.5303 no later than 4 p.m. on June 27. To submit questions via Twitter, the community is asked to use the hashtag #olelogmo. The ‘Ōlelo web page on this topic is www.olelo.org/gmo.

Questions submitted by the community will be among those discussed by the gathered experts.

The pro-GMO position in both live shows will be represented by the individuals who participated in the pre-recorded panel earlier this month: Dr. Dennis Gonsalves, Dean Okimoto and Adolph Helm.

The anti-GMO position in the June 26 and June 27 live ‘Olelo shows will be represented by the following:

Wednesday, June 26: Dr. William Steiner, dean of the UH Hilo College of Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resource Management; Dr. Hector Valenzuela, professor and crop extension specialist at the UH Manoa College of Tropical Agriculture; and Councilmember Gary Hooser of Kaua‘i.

Thursday, June 27: Dr. Steiner and Councilmember Hooser will be joined by Bill Freese, science policy analyst with the non-profit Center for Food Safety in Washington, D.C.

‘Ōlelo hopes to air similar week-long signature productions three to four times each year to explore other important community issues in depth.

For more information, visit www.olelo.org.

Kauai Councilman Gary Hooser – “It’s Not About Eating The Corn” (Thoughts on GMO)

Sen. Gary Hooser

It’s not about eating the corn.

Not for me anyway.  The decision to eat or not eat the corn is only a small reason I support the labeling of genetically modified foods and hold deep reservations about the industry as a whole.

People on my island are getting sick. Many believe their sickness is being caused by the secondary and cumulative impacts connected to the growing of genetically modified organisms.

Yet when I’ve asked these companies directly and officially in writing to disclose what chemicals and in what quantities they are spraying, the industrial agrochemical GMO companies on Kauai have refused to do so.

For me, that alone is enough to keep me from buying their products or supporting their industry,  and to support full labeling requirements.
63 countries around the world including all of Europe, Russia, Japan, Australia and New Zealand require mandatory labeling of GMO products. Some countries have banned these products completely.

Many questions exist and many doubts persist. There are valid health concerns ranging from allergen sensitivities to hormonal disruption to cancer, related to the GMO’s and to the pesticide spraying that accompanies them.

There are concerns about the globalization and corporate ownership of the worlds food supply.  There are ethical and moral questions pertaining to the concept of corporations owning patents on living organisms both plant and animal, and to the increased diminishment of bio-diversity.  All valid reasons consumers may not want to buy these products and thus the need to require labeling.

For me, it’s personal.

Kauai is ground zero in the GMO industry.  These industrial agrochemical operations dominate the landscape of Kauai’s west side and are now moving into the southern and eastern land as well.  The fields of mostly genetically modified corn not intended for human consumption grow on approximately 12,000 acres of prime farmland stretching from the base of the mountains down to within just feet of the pristine ocean waters.

These crops are subject to spraying with toxic pesticides up to 6 days a week.

Over 200 residents of WaimeaValley have filed suit claiming negative impacts from pesticide laden dust blowing into their homes and onto their bodies.  Biologists estimate over 50,000 sea urchins died last year in near shore west-side waters.

People in all parts of Kauai County are growing increasingly concerned about the impacts that result from these companies spraying their fields with toxic and experimental chemicals that then flow into streams and near shore waters and cling to the dust which blows daily into neighborhoods and schools.

Yet these agrochemical companies, who are required by law to keep records of their pesticide use, tell me blithely to go elsewhere for the data.

About half the land used for GMO production on Kauai are public lands upon which zero property tax is paid.  But they refuse to disclose to the public what they are growing or what they are spraying on these public lands.  These large transnational corporations transfer their end products to related subsidiaries, benefit from Enterprise Zone and other GET exemptions and consequently pay zero GET tax on the products they produce.

State law and terms of the public lands lease/license require compliance with Hawaii’s environmental review law Chapter 343HRS, yet no documentation demonstrating compliance exists; no exemption declaration, no environmental assessment and no environmental impact statement.

Growing genetically modified organisms, using experimental pesticides and spraying a wide array of restricted and non restricted pesticides on a mass scale have impacts on our island, our health and our environment.  There are direct impacts, secondary impacts and cumulative impacts but we don’t know what those impacts are because they have never been properly evaluated – and the companies in question won’t even give us the information needed to make a proper evaluation.

So yes, I support labeling. Absolutely.

Labeling, mandatory disclosure and a permitting process that requires a comprehensive review of the significant environmental and health impacts to our island and our community caused by this industry – I support them all, because as you can see this is about much more than just eating the corn.

Gary Hooser
Member Kauai County Council – Former Director of the Office of Environmental Quality Control for State of Hawaii – Former Hawaii State Senator and Majority Leader