An estimated 12.4% of women born in the US today will develop breast cancer at some point during their lives. Past research has indicated that exposure to some chemicals may increase the risk of breast cancer.
Monday, May 12, 2014 (Medical News Today)
Now, a new study has identified 17 “high-priority” chemicals women should avoid in order to reduce such risk and demonstrates how their presence can be detected.
Scientists from the Silent Spring Institute in Massachusetts say their findings, recently published in Environmental Health Perspectives – a journal from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) – significantly advance breast cancer prevention efforts.
“The study provides a road map for breast cancer prevention by identifying high-priority chemicals that women are most commonly exposed to and demonstrates how to measure exposure,” explains study author Ruthann Rudel, research director of the Silent Spring Institute.
According to the research team, only 5-10% of breast cancers are a result of high-risk inherited genes. Furthermore, they note that about 80% of women diagnosed with breast cancer are the first in their family to develop the disease. Such figures, the researchers say, are evidence that breast cancer is caused by additional factors.
The researchers first identified 216 chemical that have been associated with mammary tumors in rodents. Then they identified 102 of these chemicals as likely exposure to women. Finally, they cross correlated the rodent studies with human breast cancer studies. All studies measured breakdown products (metabolites) of each chemical or the chemical itself in the blood, urine or other samples.
The result was a consolidation of chemicals into 17 high-priority groups that may cause breast cancer in women. The number one source of breast cancer carcinogens in the environment was gasoline and chemicals created by combustion of gasoline, like benzene and butadiene. Such chemicals are present in vehicle fuel, lawn equipment, tobacco smoke and burned or charred food.
Solvents including methylene chloride and other halogenated organic solvents – often found in industrial degreasers, specialty cleaners and spot removers were also high on the list.
Other mammary carcinogens include chemicals found in flame retardants, stain-resistant textiles, hormone replacement therapy and drinking water disinfection byproducts.
This is the first study I have reviewed that compared the carcinogenic risks of petroleum products with those of HRT (hormone replacement therapy). I think this is a wake up call for all women.
Most of these carcinogens are more toxic after phase 1 liver detoxification. They tend to bog down in phase 2 liver detoxification. This is also the pathway used to detoxify the various forms of estrogen. One of the estrogen metabolites is 16-hydroxyestrogen. Although it can result from phase 1 detox of natural estrogen, it is the major metabolite from many HRT products. It is a potent carcinogen, involved in estrogen dominant breast cancer. I suspect that many of these carcinogenic chemicals disrupt normal estrogen detox in the liver.
THE BOTTOM LINE:
Be proactive about your environment. Limit exposure to these chemicals as much as possible. If you feel you may be at risk, check your homocysteine blood levels. A high test result indicates impaired sulfur amino acid metabolism necessary for phase 2 liver detox. You can also test the urine for estrogen metabolites – dehydroxyestrogen 2, 4 and 16. The ratio of these metabolites is a good risk assessment for estrogen dominant cancers.