Diary of Unknown Symptoms

Mystery of the Internal Vibration

Entry for October 18, 2006


Chemical cocktail blamed for soaring breast cancer rate
By FIONA McRAE 
 
Cocktails of gender-bending chemicals, found in everyday products from CD cases to babies’ bottles, may be to blame for soaring rates of breast cancer, scientists have warned.

Experts fear the chemicals, used in pesticides, cosmetics, electrical goods and plastics, have the power to trigger the cancer which claims the lives of more than 1,000 British women a month.

The warning follows official figures which show the number of cases of breast cancer has almost doubled in a generation.

Almost 37,000 women in England and Wales were diagnosed with the disease in 2004 – 10 per cent more than in the previous year and 80 per cent more than in 1971.

Less than half of cases can be explained by genetics and lifestyle factors such as diet, leading to fears manmade chemicals may also play a part.

A report by the World Wildlife Fund points the finger at synthetic oestrogens – common chemicals with structures similar to that of the female sex hormone oestrogen.

Oestrogen, a key ingredient of the contraceptive pill and hormone replacement therapy, is already thought to fuel breast cancer, sparking fears manmade chemicals with a similar structure or action may have the same effect.

Among the chief suspects is bisphenol A.

Found in CD cases, lunchboxes, sunglasses, water bottles and babies’ bottles, and in the plastic lining inside tin cans and food packaging, the compound is a building block of many plastics.

Present in more than half of the cans of food on sale in British supermarkets, it is likely most of us have at least a little of it in our bodies.

Studies have linked it to a host of health problems, including breast and prostate cancer and birth defects.

It has also been implicated in infertility, miscarriage and diabetes.

Other suspects include polychorinated biphenyls or PCBs and pesticides such as DDT. Now banned, these industrial chemicals continue to contaminate our soil and are food.

Also of concern are artificial musks, used to scent perfumes, shampoos, shower gels and washing powders, and the aluminium compounds used to block the sweat glands and found in almost all spray and roll-on deodorants.

It is known that synthetic oestrogens affect the environment, leading to fish changing sex and snails’ reproductive systems going into overdrive.

Experts in pollutants say even small amounts of the chemicals could do untold damage to the body -and warn that no one knows the effect of a combination of chemicals.

It is thought puberty and the months before birth – both periods in which the breast tissue is developing – could be critical for exposure.

Studies have so far failed to either prove or rule out the possibility that the pollutants cause the cancer.

However, research shows that just one in 20 breast cancer cases are inherited. Even taking into account other factors such as diet and alcohol, only half of breast cancer cases can be explained.

Dr Andreas Kortenkamp (CORR), head of London University’s Centre of Toxicology, said: “The role of chemicals in breast cancer requires urgent attention and precautionary action is warranted to limit exposure.”

Elizabeth Salter Green (CORR), of the WWF, called on the Government to strengthen legislation on the use of chemicals.

In the meantime, women can cut their exposure by reducing their reliance on canned foods and heavily fragranced cosmetics.

“I have got no real synthetic fragrances in my house at all,” she said.

“Bisphenol A is in the linings of tin cans of baked beans and tomatoes and I choose not to use those.”

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October 21, 2006 - Posted by | Health | , ,

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