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Synthetic chemicals: The unfortunate predicament

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Ed. note: This is a post by Howie, EWG's social media intern. Howie's a student at American University here in DC. breast cancer awareness flowerWe’ve discussed the fact that breast cancer rates around the world have dramatically increased over the last few decades. And we’ve reported on various factors some scientists believe might be responsible for the increases. Women who were exposed to the pesticide DDT before they reached puberty were found to have up to a fivefold increase in their risk of contracting breast cancer. The presence of hormone disrupting chemicals in cosmetics and fish in polluted rivers might also been linked to the increased incidences.

It might not come as much of a surprise that all of these factors are linked to certain synthetic chemicals that could and should be avoided.

Breast Cancer Fund’s 2008 State of the Evidence report identifies new developments in distinguishing the linkages between synthetic chemical exposure and increases in risk of breast cancer.

New studies seem to confirm older findings that American and European women born in recent decades, in which there were increases in the amount of synthetic chemicals produced in those areas, have higher risk for breast cancer than women born in earlier decades.

Exposure to the pesticides atrazine, chlordane, malathion, heptachlor and 2,4-D are associated with increases in breast cancer risk.

Overexposure to bisphenol A (BPA) during development stages in the prenatal period or around the time of birth can alter mammary tissue structure and make women more vulnerable to mammary tumors later in life.

The report includes other new developments regarding the links between synthetic chemicals and increased breast cancer rates as well as a summary of previous related research.

Photo: spakattacks.