Study lists chemicals linked to breast cancer
Publish Date: Jun 14, 2014
Study lists chemicals linked to breast cancer
  • mail
  • img

WASHINGTON - Certain chemicals that are common in everyday life have been shown to cause breast cancer in lab rats and are likely to do the same in women, US researchers said Monday.

The paper in the peer-reviewed journal Environmental Health Perspectives lists 17 chemicals to avoid and offers women advice on how to minimize their exposure.

They include chemicals in gasoline, diesel and other vehicle exhaust, flame retardants, stain-resistant textiles, paint removers, and disinfection byproducts in drinking water.

"The study provides a road map for breast cancer prevention by identifying high-priority chemicals that women are most commonly exposed to and demonstrates how to measure exposure," said study author Ruthann Rudel, research director of the Silent Spring Institute.

"This information will guide efforts to reduce exposure to chemicals linked to breast cancer, and help researchers study how women are being affected," she said.

Some of the biggest sources of mammary carcinogens in the environment are benzene and butadiene, which can come from vehicle exhaust, lawn equipment, tobacco smoke and charred food.

Other concerns are cleaning solvents like methylene chloride, pharmaceuticals used in hormone replacement therapy, some flame retardants, chemicals in stain-resistant textiles and nonstick coatings, and styrene which comes from tobacco smoke and is also used to make Styrofoam, the study said.

Carcinogens can also be found in drinking water, researchers said.

Every woman exposed

"Every woman in America has been exposed to chemicals that may increase her risk of getting breast cancer," said co-author Julia Brody.

"Unfortunately, the link between toxic chemicals and breast cancer has largely been ignored. Reducing chemical exposures could save many, many women's lives."

Brody described the paper as the first to comprehensively list potential breast carcinogens and detail ways for experts to measure them in women's blood and urine.

The study also recommends seven ways for women to avoid these chemicals:

- Limit exposure to exhaust from vehicles or generators, don't idle your car, and use electric lawn mowers, leaf blowers and weed whackers instead of gas-powered ones.

- Use a ventilation fan while cooking and limit how much burned or charred food you eat.

- Do not buy furniture with polyurethane foam, or ask for furniture that has not been treated with flame retardants.

- Avoid stain-resistant rugs, furniture and fabrics.

- If you use a dry-cleaner, find one who does not use PERC (perchloroethylene) or other solvents. Ask for "wet cleaning."

- Use a solid carbon block drinking water filter.

- Keep chemicals out of the house by taking off your shoes at the door, using a vacuum with a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter, and cleaning with wet rags and mops.

The research was funded by the Avon Foundation. The Silent Spring Institute is a 20-year-old organization made up of scientists who focus on the environment and women's health.

It is named after the best selling environmental book "The Silent Spring" by Rachel Carson, who died of breast cancer in 1964, two years after the book was published.

Dale Sandler, chief of epidemiology at the US National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, described the paper as a "terrific" resource for epidemiologists who study environmental causes of breast cancer.

"This paper is a thorough review of toxicology data and biomarkers relevant to breast cancer in humans," he said.


 Breast cancer on the rise

Breast cancer more aggressive in men

Keep the fire burning after breast cancer

Women screened for breast cancer

Change your diet, beat breast cancer


The statements, comments, or opinions expressed through the use of New Vision Online are those of their respective authors, who are solely responsible for them, and do not necessarily represent the views held by the staff and management of New Vision Online.

New Vision Online reserves the right to moderate, publish or delete a post without warning or consultation with the author.Find out why we moderate comments. For any questions please contact

  • mail
  • img
blog comments powered by Disqus
Also In This Section
Why diets don
A healthy food for one person may lead another to gain weight, according to a study out Thursday that suggests a one-size-fits-all approach to dieting is fundamentally wrong....
Drug shields infants from HIV in breastmilk: study
Giving anti-AIDS drugs directly to infants breastfed by their HIV-positive mothers significantly reduces their risk of contracting the killer virus, researchers said....
Antibiotic resistance levels high worldwide: WHO
Antibiotic resistance, which can turn common ailments into killers, has reached dangerous levels globally, the World Health Organization warned Monday, saying widespread misunderstandings about the problem was fuelling the risk....
Alcoholism drug may help design HIV cure
A treatment for alcoholism can reactivate dormant HIV, potentially allowing other drugs to spot and kill the virus hiding out in human immune cells, researchers said Tuesday....
Prostate cancer on the rise in Uganda
Dr Fred Okuku, an oncologist says cases of prostate cancer are on increase and according to the recent statistics 300 to 400 cases are registered annually....
Ebola vaccine trials get underway in Uganda
ARE you aged 1-70 years and in good health, the Makerere University Walter Reed project is looking for volunteers for the trial of an experimental vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus...
Is Uganda ready for the pope's visit?
Can't Say
follow us
subscribe to our news letter