Cancer can be associated with exposure to chemicals used at work and dumped into our water supply and the air. A number of harmful chemicals are related to lung, bladder, liver, skin, and lymphatic cancers. Some of the harmful chemicals citizens are exposed to at work or from pollution are asbestos, radon, coal gasification, arsenic, pesticides, and vinyl chloride. About 70% of industrial waste from companies is dumped into our water supply, causing pollution. These chemicals can cause damage to DNA, disrupt hormone production, cause infections, and organ damage. Children and teens are more at risk of developing cancer due to environmental pollution. Pollution has caused many responsible teens to feel pressured to try to save the environment and change policies in the world.
Teens See The Damage to the Environment Caused By Pollution
Many teens see the damage to the environment caused by pollution. It is linked to illness and climate change. In a poll taken, 46% of teen girls said that climate change was an important issue for them. Teen girls were more likely than boys to participate in a walkout over climate change than boys. Greta Thunberg is a climate activist from Sweden and has a large following of teens that attend climate change rallies to hear her speak. Isra Hirsi, a black Muslim teen, leads a group called Youth Climate Strike. This organization and others support youth activists across the US that advocate climate change. This organization is working to change laws on pollution linked to climate change and illness caused by pollution.
Teens Talk to Children About the Danger of Pollution
Jamie Margolin, a founder of a group called Zero Hour for climate change, spends many hours speaking to elementary school children about climate change. She tells them about the frightening changes pollution causes, like major illnesses. Every year the American Cancer Society estimates there are 3,000 new cases of cancer and this is one of the results of pollution. She tells them that they have the power to make changes. Jamie, now 18, has been involved in the organization for several years. She has met with politicians and ran international protests and joined with a group of children suing Washington for pollution and violating their civil rights.
Teens Become Involved Due to Natural Disasters and Illness
Many youth activists find a natural disaster like a hurricane or flooding inspires them to want to be involved in organizations to make changes. One youth became involved due to destructive wildfires in California. He became an advocate for Schools For Climate Change because he saw emissions as the cause of the fires. Teen Cancer America has many teens that volunteer after being treated for cancer and becoming healthy again. Matt B developed leukemia when he was 19 and received treatment from University Hospital in Cleveland, Ohio. He now advocates with the University Hospital on Capitol Hill for the importance of the Children’s Health Insurance Program. Many teens volunteer with Teen Cancer America working for change in the healthcare system and have become social workers, nurses, and medical workers to fight for change in our healthcare system and healthy lifestyles.
Youth Activist Groups Want To Halt Plastic Plants In Cancer Alley
The Sunrise Movement, a youth group, organized a 400-mile march that will follow the path of environmental disasters and their effect on health. They want President Biden to revoke a permit to allow a petrochemical plant to begin construction in Cancer Alley. This is an 85-mile area along the Mississippi with chemical plants and oil refineries that pollute the water and air. This region is known to have the highest risk of developing cancer and respiratory illness in the United States. It has a large black population and residents in that area are 50% more likely to get cancer when compared to the national average. We know these facts because HIPAA requires medical facilities to keep records of cancer patients for six years after treatment.
Teens are becoming advocates for political change due to pollution causing cancer and changes in the environment. They are afraid for their future and want to have a healthy life and environment in the future. The many teen groups that address pollution causing cancer and environmental change are a positive sign.