Breast Cancer & the Environment

There are almost100,000 chemicals used in the marketplace and the vast majority has never been tested for impact on human health.   Many products that contain unregulated ingredients are used by millions of Canadians every day who are not aware of the inherent health risks associated with daily exposure to potential environmental carcinogens.  There is a growing body of evidence that we should all be aware of.


In the 1960's, 1 in 20 women were diagnosed with breast cancer.                                    Today, it's 1 in 9.


The increase in the rate of breast cancer over the last few decades is staggering considering the billions spent on research.


 *** Articles & Reports ***


Breast cancer and the environment: why research and preventive action are needed    

In 2010, the President’s Cancer Panel in the United States drew attention to “the unacceptable burden of cancer resulting from environmental and occupational exposures,” which it said was “grossly underestimated.” The Panel stressed the need “to identify the many existing but unrecognized environmental carcinogens and eliminate those that are known from our workplaces, schools, and homes.” In Europe, attention has been drawn to the need to identify “hidden” groups whose occupational exposure to carcinogens is underrepresented in intervention strategies (European Agency for Safety and Health at Work. Workshop on Carcinogens and Work-Related Cancer. (2012). .....Perhaps we need to learn how we should respond to the increasing evidence. In the mid-1960s, during the debates between the tobacco industry and governments about the carcinogenicity of cigarette smoke and lung cancer, the United States Surgeon General and Sir Austin Bradford Hill produced guidelines for inferring causality. By finally applying those guidelines to the evidence concerning breast cancer and environmental exposures, a robust relationship is developing. Public health communities and governments should respond to the breast cancer epidemic (emphasis mine) by drawing on this growing body of knowledge and adopting bold initiatives at the political level.

State of the Evidence: The Connection between Breast Cancer and the Environment

The Breast Cancer Fund's landmark report summarizes and evaluates the scientific evidence linking exposures to chemicals and radiation in our everyday environments to increased breast cancer risk.  Shockingly, this is the 6th edition!

Breast Cancer and the Environment: Prioritizing Prevention

The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences highlights the need for coordinated, targeted efforts to identify and mitigate the environmental causes of breast cancer. Read the summary of Recommendations from the Interagency Breast Cancer and Environmental Research Coordinating Committee.  "Prevention is the key to reducing the emotional, physical, and financial burden of breast cancer. Despite decades of productive breast cancer research, the number of women diagnosed with the disease continues to rise."


True Breast Cancer Prevention Requires Looking at Environmental Chemicals

The Institute of Medicine (IOM) report on breast cancer and the environment. For the first time, a major medical organization issued a clear statement saying that science now documents plausible biological links between environmental chemicals and breast cancer risk.

Breast Cancer Risk in Relation to Occupations with Exposure to Carcinogens and Endocrine Disruptors: A Canadian Case-Control Study  

An summary of the Canadian Study that garnered world-wide attention about the occupational risks related to breast cancer.  "These findings also have important implications for the general public where exposures to similar agents may occur, albeit at much lower levels. Because lower exposure levels may not be protective in the case of carcinogens or endocrine disrupting chemicals, the findings point to the need to re-evaluate the occupational and environmental exposure limits established by government, keeping in mind that there may be no determinable safe levels."


*** BOOKS ***  

Living Downstream: An Ecologist's Personal Investigation of Cancer and the Environment (2010), by Sandra Steingraber

No Family History: The Environmental Links to Breast Cancer (2009), by Sabrina McCormick

From Pink to Green: Disease Prevention and the Environmental Breast Cancer Movement (2009), by Barbara L. Ley

Cancer: 101 Solutions to a Preventable Epidemic (2007), by Liz Armstrong, Guy Dauncey, Anne Wordsworth

The Secret History of the War on Cancer (2009), By Devra Davis

Toxic Exposures: Contested Illnesses and the Environmental Health Movement (2007),  by Phil Brown and Lois Gibbs

Slow Death by Rubber Duck: The Secret Danger of Everyday Things (2009), by Rick Smith and Bruce Lourie 

There's Lead in Your Lipstick: Toxins in Our Everyday Body Care and How to Avoid Them (2010), by Gillian Deacon

Ecoholic Body: Your Ultimate Earth-Friendly Guide to Living Healthy and Looking Good (2012), by Adria Vasil

Body Toxic (2009), by Nena Baker

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