Exposure to plasticizers and other chemicals in childhood may hike adult cancer risks, report says
WEDNESDAY, March 19 (HealthDay News) -- In the decades following World War II, both breast cancer rates and the use of synthetic chemicals soared in the United States -- and a new report contends there's a strong connection between the two.
Produced by the Breast Cancer Fund, a non-profit group whose mission is to identify environmental links to breast cancer, The State of the Evidence: 2008 concludes toxic chemicals in the environment, along with increased radiation exposure, are the main culprits in the sharp rise of breast cancer incidence.
The report cautions that "in-utero" [in the womb] and early childhood exposure to carcinogens through plasticizers, estrogen-mimicking substances and other chemicals may increase the risk of breast cancer in adult life.
"As we looked at the research comprehensively, the themes of interactions of timing and mixtures of chemical exposures and also radiation exposure as risks emerged. In bringing this broad focus to environmental causes of breast cancer, we hope to find ways to lower the future incidence of breast cancer not only for adults but, most importantly, for our children and grandchildren," said Dr. Janet Gray, an endocrinology researcher at Vassar College, who edited the report.
However, some public health experts say there's no scientific proof establishing a link between environmental contaminants and breast cancer.
Based on a review of more than 400 breast cancer studies, The State of the Evidence noted that more than 80,000 synthetic chemicals are currently used in the United States, although complete toxicological screening data are available for only 7 percent of them. Many of these substances are known to remain in the environment for many years and accumulate in body fat and breast tissue.
One group of chemicals
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