June 2020 Update from MBCC’s Executive Director

Dear Friends in Prevention,
 
I hope this finds you and your loved ones well during these truly challenging times.
 
At the heart of Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition’s (MBCC) work for nearly 30 years there has always been a focus on environmental justice – this is reflected in the many groups and organizations we have partnered with, and in our commitment to deliver the vital health information from the Let’s Talk Prevention program translated into seven languages (and more to come), so that as many people as possible can learn about ways to protect themselves, their families, and communities from environmental toxins. We want to acknowledge how this pandemic, disproportionate exposure to environmental toxins, and racial inequalities have overwhelmingly affected communities of color. We, at MBCC, are both heartbroken and outraged by the tragic deaths of George Floyd and of far too many others to count. All of us must do better. MBCC continues to actively listen to the voices of those who have been silenced for far too long, and we are committed to continuing to use our voice to influence policies that result in safer and healthier communities for everyone.
 
While the school year comes to an end, there still remains a great deal of uncertainty in terms of when and how educators and students will be able to safely return to school. I am pleased that MBCC recently expanded the Let’s Talk Prevention Actions You Can Take high school program to now include classroom materials for both middle and elementary school students. Given the challenges brought on by COVID-19 and the quick transition to remote learning, we felt compelled to modify both our existing and new materials to help support the needs of teachers, parents/caregivers, and students so they can utilize the modules both in and outside of the classroom. The modules cover topics ranging from reducing household toxin exposure to wireless radiation to the risks of PFAS (Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances) water contamination. (Please see the poster below for more information).
 
MBCC has also launched a new campaign to advocate for legislation to protect the health of all communities across the state. Building on the momentum of last year’s PFAS water contamination campaign, we are expanding these efforts to address harmful PFAS found in food packaging. We hope you will read more about this campaign here and join us in supporting two pending bills, S.1315 and H.3839, that would ban the use of PFAS in food packaging in Massachusetts.
 
While we are not able to fundraise through traditional means, MBCC is moving forward with Against the Tide as virtual events this summer. These multi-sport events provide much-needed funding for MBCC’s programs and community outreach, and we are deeply appreciative of all who join with us as a sponsor, volunteer, or participant. We will truly miss seeing so many of you on the beach in Hopkinton as we have for the past 27 years and in Brewster as we have for the past 20 years. We hope that, if you are able to do so, you will consider joining us as a virtual participant or making a donation. Now more than ever, MBCC needs your support towards the mission of cancer prevention for our children, grandchildren, and future generations.
 
Over the past few months, we have been continuously inspired by the strength and dedication of so many who day after day put the needs of their community above their own in the battle against COVID-19. As the state moves through the phases of re-opening, all of us at MBCC hope you and your families remain safe and healthy as we all continue to navigate the unprecedented challenges that lie ahead. 
 
With caring appreciation,

 
Cheryl Osimo
Executive Director
508-246-3047
cherylosimo@comcast.net


Message from MBCC’s Executive Director

Dear MBCC Friends,

During these uncertain times of growing concerns around COVID-19, we want you to know that we are closely monitoring the situation and will carefully assess if there will be a need to reschedule any upcoming summer events in a timely fashion. Rest assured that the safety and well being of our MBCC friends is our top priority.

We encourage you to rely on trusted sources for accurate information regarding COVID-19 by visiting either the Centers for Disease Control website at cdc.gov or your local health department’s website.

All of us at MBCC wish you and your family good health during these challenging times. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or concerns with regard to MBCC’s plans moving forward.

With caring appreciation,


 
Cheryl Osimo
Executive Director
508-246-3047
cherylosimo@comcast.net


Massachusetts moves forward to address drinking water contaminants

As part of Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition’s ongoing water quality campaign, the following comments were recently submitted to the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) in regard to their proposed rule to regulate PFAS contaminants in the Commonwealth’s drinking water supplies.

Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition (MBCC) applauds the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection for adopting an enforceable standard for PFASs in groundwater at contaminated sites in order to protect drinking water quality. MBCC is also pleased to see that MassDEP has proposed a drinking water standard that is also enforceable and is stricter than the national lifetime health advisory put forth by the United States Environmental Protection Agency.

MBCC continues to be deeply concerned about the serious health risks to Massachusetts residents from exposure to PFAS chemicals. We are encouraged by MassDEP’s approach for the proposed standard that includes the concentrations of PFOS, PFOA, and four additional PFAS compounds, as this approach recognizes the extreme persistence of PFAS compounds as a class. However, MBCC continues to be concerned that there are many more PFASs beyond these six compounds that also need to be addressed.

We know that scientists have determined that PFAS as a class of chemicals are both extremely persistent and mobile. It is because of these characteristics that MBCC urges MassDEP to consider additional approaches that will address PFAS as a class, in addition to this important first step of developing a standard to limit PFOS, PFOA, and other closely related compounds. Additionally, we know that scientists’ understanding of the effects of PFAS on the human body is continually evolving. With more and more information, scientists are discovering that there are health impacts at lower levels of exposure. Therefore, MBCC also urges MassDEP to be vigilant in making sure that its regulations and standards keep pace with emerging science.

MBCC believes that by casting as broad a net as possible when considering PFAS and ensuring that regulations reflect the most up-to-date research, the health of Massachusetts residents will be best protected.


Protecting Children from Drinking Water Contaminants Webinar Recording


MBCC Board Member Estelle Disch Speaks with Stoughton Media Access

Recently, Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition Board Secretary Estelle Disch spoke with Roxanne Morse of Stoughton Media Access about MBCC’s mission and program work.