From: Silent Spring Institute
Published October 10, 2017 01:00 PM

Exposure to environmental chemicals is an important risk factor for breast cancer

Exposure to environmental chemicals, especially early in life, is an important contributing factor in the development of breast cancer, according to the most comprehensive review of human studies to date. The findings could help inform prevention strategies aimed at reducing the incidence of the disease, as rates continue to increase worldwide.

In 2007, researchers from Silent Spring Institute published in the journal Cancer a landmark state-of-the-science review on the link between environmental chemicals and breast cancer. The review identified 216 chemicals that cause mammary tumors in animals and provided a roadmap for studying these chemicals in humans. “That was a real wakeup call,” says Dr. Julia Brody, Silent Spring’s executive director and senior scientist. “Now, ten years later, we see the evidence is even stronger.”

Since the first review, hundreds of studies have been published on environmental chemicals and breast cancer. To capture and synthesize the human evidence, Brody and her team conducted a systematic search of the literature and identified 158 epidemiology studies published between 2006 and 2016. The researchers critically reviewed each study in light of emerging science on the biology underlying breast cancer, such as the influence of genes and hormones on the development of the disease.

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