Monitoring the science about chemicals and health

We monitor scientific developments around how chemicals affect health. Although many of the issues are new, there is a substantial and fast-growing body of peer-reviewed papers indicating that low-dose, chronic exposure to chemicals routinely used in consumer goods is harming people’s health.

As more stories appear in the news, public concern about these issues is growing. This concern needs to be matched by an understanding of what the evidence for harm is, which in turn needs to feed into public health and chemicals policy so people are protected from unnecessary harm.

There is a long and unfortunate history of society taking action on hazardous chemical agents only after substantial harm has been proven. We are not a Society which believes chemicals are bad. We do, however, believe that chemicals should have a solid pedigree of safety before they are placed on the market.


CPES was established because while most cancer initiatives focus on early diagnosis and treatment, not prevention, there has been an ever-increasing scientific literature reporting links between exposures to man-made chemicals and cancer and other diseases. However, a lot of this literature is confined to specialist journals and not ‘clinical’ journals, in part for the simple reason that randomised human trials testing chemical exposures cannot be done for ethical reasons.

Therefore the Society was created to convey this research to key audiences including doctors, scientists, regulators, policy makers and politicians. Although our work benefits everyone it is targeted to “technical” audiences who have the power to reduce human exposure to hazardous chemical and pollution. We depend entirely on individual donations and therefore need the support of all people who want to prevent cancer and other diseases. We act on your behalf to make the case to the people who can do something about it.

What we do

We monitor the scientific literature and collate it in our on-line archive. Each month we review the previous month’ s news and science and we choose 5 top science and 5 top news items to report in our monthly e-publication Health and Environment (you can subscribe here). In addition, each month we write a feature article about a specific topic such as epigenetics, cancer rates, endocrine disrupting chemicals, etc. Our specific aim is to make complex subjects as clear as possible so that readers can understand what the issues are, with plentiful contextual information should an interested reader wish to find out more about a subject.

Selected news and science items are relayed individually to people who are interested in the subject in question. CPES does not do primary research but collates studies from the scientific literature which we provide for free to interested parties. (Read about our staff and Board of Trustees here.)

Priority issues

As a Society we are currently particularly concerned about the use of flame retardants in consumer goods and people’s general exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs).

Flame retardants are heavily-used to slow ignition and spread of fire in the home. However, there is a growing body of evidence that they pose a significant environmental health threat, while they may not even be especially effective at stopping fires. CPES is advocating a re-evaluation of fire safety standards, to maintain the highest degree of safety and protection for consumers, but which do not result in the unnecessary use of hazardous substances.

Endocrine-disrupting chemicals interfere with hormone signaling in the body and can therefore affect health in many ways. From a regulatory perspective they present a number of complex problems and only now are beginning to be dealt with in chemical regulation. CPES is arguing for rules which will clearly identify EDCs and supports measures which will reduce public exposure to problematic substances.

Contact Us

CPES is dependent on individual donations and we welcome your support. If you have any questions, please contact Paul Whaley at:

We support

  • The use of sound, independent science in evaluating the safety of chemicals
  • Independence of decision-making bodies and advisory committees from vested interests
  • Development of societal understanding of how chemicals affect human health
  • Substitution of hazardous substances for safer alternatives
  • Investment in green chemistry to develop safer approaches to chemical use
About CPES

The Cancer Prevention and Education Society is a Charity (No. 1089082) & Company Limited by Guarantee (No. 4157505). Registered in England and Wales. Registered Office: The Cancer Prevention & Education Society, Meads House, Leighterton, Tetbury, Gloucestershire, GL8 8UW.


Please help!

To continue our work, we are dependent on donations and volunteers. Please do get in touch to find out how you might be able to help out by contributing money or time by sending an email to Paul:


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