Breast cancer is an epidemic. One in eight women will develop the disease, and nearly 40,000 women die from it yearly (though, thankfully, the death rate is decreasing). We all know women who have fought the disease — moms, sisters, grandmothers, friends, aunts, daughters, neighbors.
Meanwhile, the evidence mounts that common chemicals play a role in breast cancer incidence. Hormone-disrupting chemicals pose a particular concern, since breast cancer is sensitive to hormonal changes. One recent study found women who work in the plastics and food canning industries had a fivefold increase in premenopausal breast cancer. The conclusion? Exposure to hormone-disrupting chemicals, including phthalates, bisphenol-A, and flame-retardants, is a decisive factor in breast cancer incidence.
Because the government and industry are slow to take steps to protect people from the carcinogenic effects of everyday toxic chemicals, it falls to the consumer to take steps to reduce exposures to cancer-causing chemicals. Learning more about these chemicals and working to avoid exposure to them is a key cancer prevention strategy that everyone can embrace.
Bisphenol-A, phthalates, and parabens are three very common chemicals that have been linked in various studies to breast cancer. Exposure to all three can easily be reduced and sometimes avoided by reading labels and making informed choices when it comes to buying food, household cleaners, and personal care products. Here’s how:
This hormone-disrupting chemical is found just about everywhere. Lab studies have shown that BPA is linked to early puberty, a risk factor for later-life breast cancer. It can make healthy breast cells grow and survive like cancer cells and can even make breast cancer drugs less effective.
How to avoid: