New Research Catalogs Chemicals Linked to Breast Cancer

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Researchers compiled a list of chemicals linked to breast cancer risk.

Researchers from the Silent Spring Institute and the Harvard School of Public Medicine teamed up to complete a study involving existing breast cancer data. The study compiled information from reports by international cancer authorities and the National Toxicology Program in order to identify chemicals linked to breast cancer that women are commonly exposed to. Each study researchers looked at involved breast cancer in rodents. Researchers then assessed chemicals linked to cancer to see how they would affect humans.

The resulting report contains a comprehensive list of carcinogens that may impact human biomarkers to increase a person's risk of developing breast cancer. Estradiol-17b was one of the included chemicals. It's commonly found in oral contraceptives, and is thought to enter wastewater, then reach the public at large through drinking water. Vehicle exhaust, paint removers and flame retardants are also on the list. 

These and other chemicals were shown to cause mammary cancer in rats, which indicates a potential risk for humans as well. While the chemicals won't certainly cause cancer, researchers do ask women to avoid the sources as much as possible. For example, they can purchase furniture without polyurethane, which is typically treated with flame retardants. 

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