Convenience at what cost: The connection between chemicals and breast cancer (Environmental Health Policy Institute, 6/16/2011)

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Our colleagues at Physicians for Social Responsibility posed to top researchers, physicians and advocates the question, “What are we learning about the relationship between environmental toxicants and cancer? How should our regulatory system respond to this information?

Of course this is a topic the Breast Cancer Fund is keenly interested—and deeply involved—in. Our staff Nancy Buermeyer and Connie Engel responded with a piece that focuses on breast cancer, of course, but also hones in on endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs):

One of the most disconcerting set of chemicals linked to diseases, including breast cancer, are those termed endocrine-disrupting compounds (EDCs), including BPA, phthalates and other chemicals found in our everyday products. EDCs disrupt the body’s hormone systems, which regulate nearly every aspect of the intricate and exquisite process of life—from the awe-inspiring process of fetal development to the dramatic changes in puberty to the everyday processes of turning food into energy. Since one of the known risk factors for breast cancer is increased exposure to estrogen, it stands to reason, and the research bears out, that exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals that look like estrogen to our cells would increase the risk of developing the disease.

EDCs are a perfect example of why the “dose makes the poison” logic is flawed. EDCs can sometimes exert their most significant effects at exquisitely small doses. This is no surprise, since the hormones normally affect physical processes at very low doses. (Read complete article.)

Their essay stands alongside essays from top experts in environmental health, which we highly recommend reading. You can view them all on PSR’s website.

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