Hundreds of chemicals in consumer products could increase breast cancer risk

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Every day, people are exposed to a variety of synthetic chemicals through the products they use or the food they eat. For many of these chemicals, the health effects are unknown.

In a new study from Silent Spring Institute, researchers found that several hundred common chemicals, including pesticides, ingredients in consumer products, food additives, and drinking water contaminants, could increase the risk of breast cancer

The chemicals can cause cells in breast tissue produce more of the hormones estrogen or progesterone.

The team says the connection between estrogen and progesterone and breast cancer is well established, so people should be extremely cautious about chemicals in products that increase levels of these hormones in the body.

For instance, in 2002, when the Women’s Health Initiative study found combination hormone replacement therapy to be linked to an increased risk of breast cancer, women stopped taking the drugs and incidence rates went down.

In the study, the team combed through data on more than 2000 chemicals generated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s ToxCast program.

They identified 296 chemicals that were found to increase estradiol (a form of estrogen) or progesterone in cells in the laboratory. Seventy-one chemicals were found to increase levels of both hormones.

The chemicals included ingredients in personal care products such as hair dye, chemical flame retardants in building materials and furnishings, and a number of pesticides.

The researchers don’t yet know how these chemicals are causing cells to produce more hormones. It could be the chemicals are acting as aromatase activators, for instance, which would lead to higher levels of estrogen.

But women are exposed to multiple chemicals from multiple sources on a daily basis, and that these exposures add up.

The researchers hope this study will be a wakeup call for regulators and manufacturers in how they test chemicals for safety.

If you care about breast cancer, please read studies about this drug is promising against pancreatic and breast cancers and findings of drug metformin can affect breast cancer risk in women with diabetes.

For more information about breast cancer and your health please see recent studies about doing this can increase death risk in breast cancer and results showing that lower dose of this drug can reduce breast cancer risk with less side effect.

The study is published in Environmental Health Perspectives. One author of the study is Ruthann Rudel.

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