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Study Lists 17 Chemicals tied to Breast Cancer

Update Date: May 14, 2014 10:13 AM EDT

A new study examined the potential link between certain chemicals and breast cancer risk. The researchers from the nonprofit Silent Spring Institute and the Harvard School of Public Health concluded that 17 everyday items that produce certain chemicals could contribute to an increased risk of breast cancer.

For this report, the team examined the chemicals tied to mammary tumors in animals and compared the data to similar cases in humans. The team was able to identify 17 groups of chemicals that could be tied to breast cancer risk. The groups of items that release these harmful chemicals included vehicle exhaust, flame-retardants, stain-resistance textiles, paint removers, disinfection byproducts, gasoline, lawn equipment, tobacco smoke, and charred or burned foods.

"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," said study author Ruthann Rudel, research director of the Silent Spring Institute reported by the New York Daily News. "This information will guide efforts to reduce exposure to chemicals linked to breast cancer, and help researchers study how women are being affected."

The researchers stated that even though they did not find a cause-and-effect relationship, women and men could take extra precautions to be safe. They recommended seven tips that people should follow. First, people should reduce their exposure to gasoline and exhaust from diesel or other kinds of fuel combustion. Second, people can avoid burning or charring their food by using a fan while cooking. Third, when shopping for new furniture, avoid polyurethane foam, which contain flame-retardants. Four, avoid buying stain-resistant rugs, furniture and fabrics. Five, ask for wet cleaning at the dry cleaner's to avoid solvents. Six, use a solid carbon-block filter for water and seven, keep the house clean.

"Every woman in America has been exposed to chemicals that may increase her risk of getting breast cancer," said co-author Julia Brody. "Unfortunately, the link between toxic chemicals and breast cancer has largely been ignored. Reducing chemical exposures could save many, many women's lives."

The study was published in the journal, Environmental Health Perspectives.

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