The Journal of History     Fall 2002  TABLE OF CONTENTS
Dramatic Rise
in Cancer Rates for Children

They Speak in Whispers


Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) helps expose "taboo subject."

CBC Newsworld television will air in late October [2000] a moving new documentary inspired by a recent Workers Health and Safety Centre production of the same name.

They Speak in Whispers first tells the story of children afflicted with the disease we all dread: cancer. Through the eyes of these children and their parents, we witness the tremendous impact cancer has on their lives. We observe the determination with which they fight the disease. And we learn about potential cancer-causing exposures.

When Dan Steinke asked doctors about possible environmental causes of his only child's cancer, Steinke says, they responded in whispers. "You sensed it was like a taboo subject," he says.

In the last thirty years, cancer rates among children have increased dramatically. Since World War II, more than 70,000 chemicals have been introduced that have never been tested for their effects on the very young, including the embryo and the fetus. "Each one of us is now carrying around  500 measurable chemicals inside our bodies that were never there in anyone's bodies before the 1920s," says noted World Wildlife Fund scientist Theo Colborn.

Is there a relationship between increased rates of childhood disorders and diseases and environmental pollution, both inside and outside the workplace? This is the central question posed by the television production. To help provide answers, Colborn is joined by other eminent scientists, government officials, and courageous workers like Dan Steinke.

Clarence MacPherson, executive director for the Workers Centre says of the production. "It is a story about choices that were made in the past that have had disastrous consequences on our lives today. It is a story of how decisions made many, many years ago have come back to hurt our very young. It a story of great sadness. But it is also a story of great hope. For it connects us to one another and it shows how we are responsible for one another. If we can act on this simple belief, then we can all make the world a better place in which to live."

Ultimately, like MacPherson, They Speak in Whispers challenges the viewer to help prevent workplace and environmental pollution, which is wreaking havoc with the lives of the most vulnerable members of our society, our children. It challenges each of us to speak out, not in whispers, but with a voice strong enough to force change.

They Speak in Whispers premieres on CBC Newsworld's Rough Cuts Tuesday, October 24, 2000 at 10 p.m. ET and repeats Saturday, October 28, at 10 p.m. ET. Check your local listings for further information. Or visit the CBC web site.

Editor's note: This Web site is forbidden to me. See if it is forbidden for you also.


The Journal of History - Fall 2002 Copyright © 2002 by News Source, Inc.