Early Chemical Exposures May Affect Breast Health: Report

Scientists say common chemicals should be tested for their possible harm to milk gland development

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While efforts are being made to curb some of these chemical exposures, the experts said required testing is crucial. Rudel speculated that women with genetic predispositions to breast cancer might be at higher risk from these exposures.

The study authors declared no financial conflicts of interest.

The review is "raising a necessary red flag," said Olga Naidenko, a senior scientist at the Environmental Working Group, an advocacy organization in Washington, D.C. She reviewed the report but was not involved in it.

Naidenko agreed that there has been a gap in studying the effect of chemical exposure on the mammary gland. "For many chemicals, researchers have not looked at it."

Meanwhile, she said, while some exposures are difficult to avoid, there are steps to take to minimize exposure.

Avoiding the plastic BPA in bottles (which some manufacturers have discontinued using) is one step. Buying organic produce whenever possible may also help consumers avoid the pesticide atrazine.

Avoiding canned foods (which can also have BPA in the liners) and the chemical DEHP by focusing on a fresh food diet can also reduce the levels of those chemicals in the body, according to the Silent Spring Institute.

More information

To reduce your exposure to harmful chemicals, visit the Silent Spring Institute.

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