At one time or another, all have been suspected of increasing the risk of
The important point to recognize is that most researchers agree that there
are no solidly proven links between these -- or other similar environmental
factors -- and the risk of breast cancer.
The troubling aspect of this, however, is that many believe it's just a
matter of time before we connect the scientific dots and see a picture of
"It's true that we have no direct links. But what we do have is a
compilation of epidemiological studies, cell culture studies, and animal data
that are all consistent and I believe are coming together to show us that some
of what women are exposed to every day may be increasing their risk of breast
cancer," says Janet Gray, PhD, professor and chairman of the department of
psychology at Vassar College. Gray, together with experts from the University
of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, recently compiled a report on what we know thus
far about the environmental links to breast cancer.
Gray says that while there may be no smoking gun that implicates any one
area of concern, or even one chemical, she says the evidence is starting to
mount indicating that steady, personal exposure to low levels of lots of
different chemicals does matter.
"What's really new in this field," says Gray, is that "finally
people are starting to look at interactions -- and the fact that exposure to
low doses of lots of different chemicals may yield a result similar to a
high-dose exposure to one chemical."
Our Chemical Exposure
And just how many chemicals are we exposed to on regular basis? According to
Richard Wiles, senior vice president of the Environmental Working Group (EWG),
more than you might imagine.
He reports that an ongoing EWG monitoring project which regularly tests
blood, cord blood, urine, and breast milk from 72 adults has so far identified
the presence of 455 chemicals that should not be in the body.