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Study: Everyday chemicals that may increase breast cancer risk

The link between toxic chemicals and breast cancer has largely been ignored, said study author Julia Brody, executive director at Silent Spring Institute.
By Alex Cukan   |   May 13, 2014 at 11:24 PM   |   Comments

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NEWTON, Mass., May 13 (UPI) -- Gasoline and chemicals formed by combustion from vehicles, lawn equipment, smoking and charred food are among the largest sources of mammary carcinogens in the environment.

Ruthann A. Rudel, Janet M. Ackerman and Julia Green Brody of the Silent Spring Institute and Kathleen R. Attfield of Harvard School of Public Health identified the highest priority chemicals to target for breast cancer prevention.

"Every woman in America has been exposed to chemicals that may increase her risk of getting breast cancer. Unfortunately, the link between toxic chemicals and breast cancer has largely been ignored," study author Julia Brody, executive director at Silent Spring Institute, said in a statement.

"Reducing chemical exposures could save many, many women's lives. When you talk to people about breast cancer prevention, chemical exposure often isn't even on their radar. Studies that address toxic chemical exposure account for just a drop in the bucket of money spent on breast cancer."

The study found other mammary carcinogens included:

-- Solvents, such as methylene chloride and other halogenated organic solvents used in spot removers, specialty cleaners and industrial degreasers.

-- Pharmaceutical hormones such as hormone replacement therapy; certain flame retardants used in furniture; a chemical used in stain-resistant textiles and non-stick coatings; and styrene found in tobacco smoke and also used to make Styrofoam.

-- Drinking water. It can contain mammary carcinogens, such disinfection by-products or solvents.

The findings were published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.

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