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The joy of giving


Movies open Festival of Trees



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Pat Charron of Thompson and Anne Marie Craven of New Braintree take a look at all the stunning Christmas trees at this year’s 12th annual Festival of (Giving) Trees’ opening day. Shawn Kelley. (click for larger version)
December 06, 2009
DUDLEY — Although they were shown in a location rather distant from the bulk of Festival of (Giving) Trees activities and therefore attracted only a small turnout, the event's two films emphasized a critical element of cancer treatment — preventing exposure to environmental toxins.

"Primary prevention is such a big deal in heart disease or cancer," said Harrington cardiac nurse Judy Flannery after watching the first film, "No Family History," at Tri-State Toyota Scion last week. "… Insurance companies don't pay for primary prevention, only secondary," that is, preventing recurrence.

"The problem in the U.S. is that we're up against all these major corporations that don't want to change things because it'll cost them money," she added.

Flannery was referring to the principle underlying both films, which is that many breast cancers are likely to be linked to exposure to any number of complex, toxic chemicals that are routinely found in common products, from cosmetics to household furnishings. Some are used daily, while others are still lingering decades after being banned (such as DDT), but many of those still legal have never been tested for their effect on health long-term.

"If we suspect something could be harmful, we should err on the side of caution," said the films' presenter, Cheryl Osimo of the Silent Spring Institute and Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition. The organizations are two of the beneficiaries of the Festival; the third is Harrington Hospital's Cancer Center.

Osimo argues that about a third of the personal care products on the market today "contain at least one chemical that could cause cancer," but notes there are also a lot of unknowns in exactly how such chemicals are linked to the disease and other health issues.

For more on this story, please see Monday's Southbridge Evening News.

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