Chemicals and Radiation Linked to Breast Cancer
In our daily lives we are exposed to toxic chemicals and radiation from a wide range of sources, and large and growing body of scientific evidence tells us that some of these exposures can increase breast cancer risk. Exposures to breast carcinogens—chemicals that directly cause breast cancer—are an obvious concern. But we also must pay attention to exposures to chemicals that disrupt the body’s hormones—chemicals known as endocrine-disrupting compounds—as well as to physical agents such as ionizing radiation. Below is a catalogue of chemicals and physical agents that have been linked to breast cancer. Click on each link to discover what the science is telling us.
Chemicals classified as carcinogens have been determined to directly cause cancer. The following chemicals have been classified as mammary carcinogens by the National Toxicology Program (NTP) and/or the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).
Hormone- or endocrine-disrupting chemicals influence cancer risk indirectly by changing the body's natural hormonal balance. Certain cancers, including breast cancer, are sensitive to hormonal changes.
- Bioidentical hormones
- Bisphenol A (BPA)
- Bovine growth hormone (rBGH/rBST)
- Cadmium and other metals
- Chlordane, Malathion and 2,4-D
- Dieldrin and Aldrin
- Diethylstilbestrol (DES)
- Hormone replacement therapy (HRT)
- Hormones in personal care products
- Infertility drugs
- Mycoestrogens (Fungal estrogens)
- Oral contraceptives
- Perfluorooactinoic acid (PFOA)
Ionizing radiation (the kind used for medical imaging, for example) is a known carcinogen. Other physical agents, such as light at night and non-ionizing radiation (the kind given off by cell phones, for example) may also be of concern.