Cancer & Environment Network of SW PA

Cancer is of great concern to people and institutions in SWPA, but few cancer-focused constituencies are engaged in efforts to reduce environmental exposures contributing to the disease. Collaborative work by these constituencies is the premise of this initiative, along with partnerships with others experienced in environmental health and solutions to stimulate action in research, policy, programs, purchasing and clinical practice to reduce environmental risk factors and strengthen cancer prevention. Environmental risk factors of concern in the region discussed at the 2019 Cancer and Environment Symposium, the launching point of this network, include air pollution, radon, carcinogens in consumer and building products and exposures associated with oil and gas development.

Our vision

Our vision is a future free of cancer, and an economy that doesn’t rely on hazardous materials and technologies, but instead on approaches like green chemistry and product design that emulates ideas found in nature. For Southwestern Pennsylvania, this is a future in which all people have secure well-paying jobs that do not make them sick, and live in healthy homes in healthy neighborhoods, without racial disparities in exposure to toxics and in cancer rates.

We Imagine:

  • local, regional and state governments that act boldly to reduce hazardous exposures before they cause disease; to dismantle policies that perpetuate inequities in social and environmental conditions which in turn affect well-being; to hold dirty industries accountable so it no longer pays to pollute, and to incentivize investments that establish Southwestern Pennsylvania as a hub of innovation for a green economy
  • expansion of businesses that improve air and water quality, provide nutritious foods and safe products, and maintain healthy workplaces
  • engaged residents who believe that everyone has a right to good health and a clean environment, and that both of these are foundations of a thriving economy


This Network is advised by The Lowell Center for Sustainable Production of the University of Massachusetts-Lowell, and convened and stewarded by a diverse group of local and national leaders in the fields of environmental health and cancer prevention. Women for a Healthy Environment serves on the Network’s Leadership Team.