More Than 900 Chemicals Linked to Breast Cancer, Study Says

A new study has found that more than 900 different chemicals, used in everything from beauty products to food, may increase the risk of breast cancer.

Researchers have discovered 921 different chemicals that may increase the risk of developing breast cancer, 90% of which can be found in everyday products used in homes and workplaces.

The study, published in Environmental Health Perspectives, identifies 279 chemicals that have been shown to cause mammary tumors in rodents and 642 chemicals that stimulate estrogen or progesterone signaling. Increased hormonal activity has been linked to breast cancer.

Conducted by researchers at the Silent Spring Institute, a nonprofit breast cancer prevention research group, the list includes ingredients such as parabens and phthalates, which are used in many common skin, makeup, and hair products. Other chemicals on the list include PFAS, routinely found in non-stick cookware and fast-food packaging, and pesticides that are used on food.

The new study is an expansion of a previously compiled list, which featured more than 200 breast cancer-causing chemicals, released in 2007.

Breast cancer recently surpassed lung cancer to become the most commonly diagnosed cancer type, according to the study, and it is also the leading cause of cancer death among women worldwide. It is the most commonly diagnosed invasive cancer in the United States and the second leading cause of cancer death among women. The average lifetime risk for a woman to develop BC is 12.8%, and it is a cancer that particularly affects young people.

"Identifying exposures that raise the risk of BC through established mechanisms, such as genotoxicity and endocrine disruption, can inform prevention and reduce the burden of disease," the study authors wrote.

In addition to compiling the list, the authors argue in favor of strengthening hazard identification, including improved assessments for mammary effects, developing tests for more key characteristics of these carcinogens, and more comprehensive chemical testing.

The authors "argue that many of these should not be considered low hazard without investigating their ability to affect the breast, and chemicals with the strongest evidence can be targeted for exposure reduction."


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