.10500540_10207076585295793_1475848205287202680_nAmid the purely political talk about the horserace and polling, and who will have or avoid a “gotcha” moment, I hope the Democratic debate addresses real problems that affect Americans.

My focus is on what the candidates would do to promote some basic environmental and health policies that would lead to a healthier society. So much of the U.S. GDP is involved in health care, and so much political energy has been expended around Obamacare, will the politicians address this fundamental issue?

I would hope Anderson Cooper could point out that the emerging scientific consensus indicates that up to 50 percent of all cancers are preventable. That science should inform policies that can make a tremendous impact on preventing cancer, and also a number of other illnesses including diabetes and heart disease. What would they do to protect our health?

Candidates have pressure from all sides in the health and environment debate. Will they listen to the commercial forces to look the other way on issues like from toxic chemicals in consumer goods or nutritional guidelines to increase corporate profit? What would they do to protect our health?

Can Anderson Cooper point out that in America toxic chemicals have permeated their way into every facet of American life? They are found everywhere, from foods to home products to personal care products, even in toys and baby care products and clothes. Many of these same toxic chemicals allowed in the United States are not allowed in other countries, specifically the European Union. One bill, the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, is in the works, but it has been strongly influenced by the chemical lobby with few assurances for protecting human health. What would they do to protect our health?

When I founded Less Cancer I was concerned about cancer organizations perpetuating the health care model of “break and fix,” in which incidences of cancer are steadily increasing along with corporate profits. Treating cancer patients has become its own industry. A president can look at the rate of escalating disease and see a spreadsheet or see human lives. What would they do to protect human health?

Preventable cancer, increasing obesity, toxic environmental factors in our daily lives, a drain on the economy and suffering in millions of lives: What would they do to protect human health?