A distinction should be made between “carcinogenic” products and those that promote progression of existing cancers.

Following our article, featured in the "Magazine" section of this site, regarding a report by the French research agency INSERM which – at last! -- incriminates pesticides in the progression of cancer statistics in France, I feel I should make an additional note.

Despite its institutional tendency to maintaining the status quo, the French Academy of Medicine’s statement in September 2007, affirming that pesticides, and other comparable substances, “are not carcinogenic”, is understandable. A substance is only described as “carcinogenic” if it can, alone, spark the mutations that are at the origin of tumors. This is the case of the molecules contained in tobacco and asbestos, for example. It is not the case with pesticides and other “endocrine disruptors” which act by stimulating the hormonal receptors of cells. They do not cause mutations in the cells’ DNA. However, they are capable of stimulating the growth of tumors that have been caused by other agents. And thus they do contribute to the appearance of cancers that in other circumstances would probably have been limited by the body’s natural mechanisms for self-defense.

The same reasoning applies to refined sugars and to omega-6 vegetable oils. These are not “carcinogenic”, but they feed the progress of existing micro-cancers, and can help them overcome natural defense mechanisms.