Article Title

Fear of Cancer


While the cancer rate and related statistics remain remarkably high, people rarely consider the actual suffering of people living with and dying from cancer as the real sacrifice for, and structural result of, the everyday use of carcinogens such as those in gasoline, pesticides, and cosmetics. On the heels of the recently published President's Cancer Panel Report, "Reducing Environmental Cancer Risk: What We Can Do Now," this Article aims to better understand why "fear of cancer" litigation has failed to accomplish its intended purpose-to distribute the costs of known and potentially toxic chemicals-and examines how the relevant law justifies this failure from a legal standpoint. Because of cancer's long incubation period and the lack of knowledge about most chemicals in fear-of-cancer cases, plaintiffs must divert their claims for injuries resulting from toxic exposure toward the injury of "fear" of getting cancer as a result of such exposure. Through a review and analysis of the President's Cancer Panel Report and some of the main fear-of-cancer cases and literature, this Article suggests other ways of thinking about how the law might more effectively understand and represent toxic-exposure issues.

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