In 2010, the President’s Panel on Cancer reported that, in the course of their lives, about 41 percent of Americans will be diagnosed with cancer and 21 percent will die of the disease. And, making a connection between cancer and the wide distribution of potential carcinogens in the environment, the panel added that only a few hundred of the more than 80,000 chemicals on the market have been tested for safety.
From Zebrafish to You
On average, an individual encounters about 80,000 synthetic chemicals every day. So says Robert Tanguay, a toxicologist at Oregon State University. Many of those chemicals — from fire retardants in fabrics to drying agents in paint — are untested for toxicity to people. Tanguay and his research team are working to change that. Their results are helping those who make the products we use as well as those who use them.
It boils down to a centuries-old debate among philosophers, scientists, veterinarians, farmers, ranchers, aquarists, and pet owners: What is our obligation to captive animals?
Kate Saili’s films won’t show in theaters any time soon, but they do feature zebrafish, a rising star in molecular biology, in a dramatic role — regenerating tissues that have been injured.