How to Avoid Breast Cancer Risk from Chemicals in Consumer Products


Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in the United States, and it is often linked to environmental factors, such as exposure to chemicals. A new study has identified more than 900 chemicals that display breast-cancer causing traits, based on their ability to activate the estrogen receptor, cause cells to make more estrogen or progesterone, or alter the body’s hormones. These chemicals are found in many consumer products and the environment, and they could pose a serious threat to public health.

What are the chemicals that cause breast cancer?

The study, published in Environmental Health Perspectives, was conducted by researchers from Silent Spring Institute, a non-profit organization that works to protect human health and the environment from harmful chemicals. The researchers searched through multiple databases to find chemicals that have been shown to cause mammary tumors in animals, or that act as endocrine disruptors, which means they interfere with the normal functioning of hormones.

The researchers found a total of 921 chemicals that could promote the development of breast cancer. Ninety percent of these chemicals are ones that people are commonly exposed to in consumer products, food and drink, pesticides, medications, and workplaces. Some examples of these products are non-stick frying pans, ski boots, water-repellent clothing, food packaging, makeup and skin creams.

Chemicals in Consumer

The researchers also looked at how these chemicals affect the body’s hormones. They found that 278 chemicals cause mammary tumors in animals by activating the estrogen receptor or by increasing the production of estrogen or progesterone. Estrogen and progesterone are hormones that regulate the menstrual cycle and pregnancy. High levels of these hormones can stimulate the growth of breast cells and increase the risk of breast cancer.

Another 333 chemicals act as endocrine disruptors by altering the body’s hormone levels or metabolism. These chemicals can mimic or block natural hormones, such as thyroid hormones or insulin-like growth factors. They can also affect how cells respond to other hormones or signals. Endocrine disruptors can disrupt normal development and function of various organs and tissues in the body.

What are the implications of these findings?

The study provides a useful tool for regulators and manufacturers to quickly identify potential breast carcinogens based on their chemical properties and effects on hormones. The researchers suggest that these chemicals should be avoided or removed from consumer products and replaced with safer alternatives.

However, not all endocrine disruptors have been tested for their effects on human health yet. Therefore, it is important for consumers to be aware of their exposure levels and sources of these chemicals. Some ways to reduce exposure include:

  • Choosing organic food when possible
  • Avoiding plastic containers and bottles
  • Using glass or stainless steel containers instead
  • Washing fruits and vegetables before eating
  • Reading labels carefully before buying any product
  • Avoiding products with artificial colors, flavors, preservatives or sweeteners
  • Using natural cosmetics instead of synthetic ones

Breast cancer is a complex disease that can be influenced by many factors besides genetics. By avoiding exposure to harmful chemicals in consumer products and environment , we can lower our risk of developing this disease.


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