I Wish I Were Far From the Madding Crowd

April 11, 2010

Some Breast Cancer Cases Caused by a Virus?

It looks like the answer could very well be yes.

The Pink Virus Project

See Dr. Ruddy’s latest post describing her long history in this area.

“Breakthroughs Around the Globe”

Approximately 40% of human breast cancers contain gene sequences that are remarkably similar to a retrovirus known to cause breast cancer in domestic mice. Furthermore, the highest incidence of human breast cancer worldwide occurs in geographic locations where the domestic mouse is native or introduced to the area.

The book, The Pink Virus: Does a Virus Cause Breast Cancer in Women?

Presentation by Dr. Ruddy on The Pink Virus

Summary of Research

http://breastcancerbydrruddy.com/2009/11/01/the-pink-virus-2/

Brief Report on the Pink Virus Breast Cancer Summit

http://www.breasthealthandhealing.com/socialnetworking/messages/20091101.html

Cancer-Causing Virus Linked to Breast Cancer – Includes more info on the Pink Virus Project summit.

Brief bibliography on breast cancer and viruses

Articles cited at bottom of page at http://www.breasthealthandhealing.com/socialnetworking/messages/20091001.html

Updated (and more technical) Bibliography of Research on the Mammary Tumor Virus

http://breastcancerbydrruddy.com/2009/11/15/updated-bibliography-of-research-on-the-mammary-tumor-virus/

Breast Health and Healing’s YouTube Channelhttp://www.youtube.com/user/BreastHealthHealing

A New Virus in a Spontaneous Mammary Tumor of a Rhesus Monkey. Harish C. Chopra and Marcus M. Mason.  Cancer Research 30, 2081-2086, August 1, 1970. http://cancerres.aacrjournals.org/cgi/content/abstract/30/8/2081

Chemical Exposure and Breast Cancer?

The CDC has reported in its Fourth National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals that many chemicals are showing up in Americans’ bodies.  (Presence alone does not indicate adverse effects, but as I have blogged about before, exposure during certain windows of development can have long-term effects.)

The Fourth Report includes results for 75 chemicals measured for the first time in the U.S. population.  Among the chemicals: environmental phenols, including bisphenol A and triclosan.  According to the Executive Summary:

  • Bisphenol A (BPA), a component of epoxy resins and polycarbonates, may have potential reproductive toxicity. General population exposure to BPA may occur through ingestion of foods in contact with  BPA-containing materials. CDC scientists found bisphenol A in more than 90% of the urine samples representative of the U.S.population.
  • Polybrominated diphenyl ethers are fire retardants used in certain manufactured products. PBDEs accumulate in the environment and in human fat tissue. One type of polybrominated diphenyl ether,BDE-47, was found in the serum of nearly all of the NHANES participants.

Could women be more vulnerable to a breast cancer virus because of exposure to environmental chemicals (either because the chemicals themselves might contribute, or because they negatively affect the immune system)?  See recent articles at bottom about BPA and phthalates.  See also U.S. News post re what could possibly be one of the more likely sources of BPA exposure—your receipts, not plastic bottles. (Science News itemWarner Babcock Institute for Green Chemistry)

Articles Ahead of Print from Environmental Health Perspectives

Bisphenol A (BPA)

“Placental Transfer of Conjugated Bisphenol A and Subsequent Reactivation in the Rat Fetus.” – Online April 9, 2010.

Nishikawa M, Iwano H, Yanagisawa R, Koike N, Inoue H, Yokota H 2010. Placental Transfer of Conjugated Bisphenol A and Subsequent Reactivation in the Rat Fetus. Environ Health Perspect :-. doi:10.1289/ehp.0901575

Urinary, Circulating and Tissue Biomonitoring Studies Indicate Widespread Exposure to Bisphenol A

Laura N. Vandenberg, Ibrahim Chauhoud, Jerrold J. Heindel, Vasantha Padmanabhan, Francisco J.R. Paumgartten, Gilbert Schoenfelder Online 24 Mar 2010 | doi:10.1289/ehp.0901716

Phthalates

Investigation of Relationships between Urinary Biomarkers of Phytoestrogens, Phthalates, and Phenols and Pubertal Stages in Girls

Mary S. Wolff, Susan L. Teitelbaum, Susan M. Pinney, Gayle Windham, Laura Liao, Frank Biro, Lawrence H. Kushi, Chris Erdmann, Robert A. Hiatt, Michael E. Rybak, Antonia M. Calafat Online 22 Mar 2010 | doi:10.1289/ehp.0901690

Articles notes a weak association between exposure and earlier puberty.  In a press release Dr. Wolff noted that though the association is weak, given the widespread exposure the public health implications are actually quite large.

This was a multi-ethnic longitudinal study of 1151 girls from New York City, greater Cincinnati, and northern California who were 6-8 years old at enrollment (2004-2007).  Measurements were done one year later.

Results: Breast development was present in 30% of girls (ed. note: remember the girls would have been 7-9), and 22% had pubic hair. High-molecular-weight phthalate metabolites were weakly associated with pubic hair development (adjusted PR 0.94 (0.88-1.00), fifth vs first quintile). Small inverse associations were seen for daidzein with breast stage and for triclosan and high-molecular-weight phthalates with pubic hair stage; a positive trend was observed for low-molecular-weight phthalate biomarkers with breast and pubic hair development. Enterolactone attenuated BMI associations with breast development; in the first enterolactone quintile the association of high-BMI with any development was 1.34 (PR, CI 1.23-1.45 versus low-BMI); there was no BMI-association in the fifth, highest quintile of enterolactone.

Conclusions: Weak hormonally active xenobiotic agents investigated in this study had small associations with pubertal development, mainly among those agents detected at highest concentrations.

My point?  There are enough risks for breast cancer from other causes that we do not need to be assaulted by chemicals in our environment.

April 2, 2010

Breast cancer and exposure to phthalates, PAHs, and petroleum byproducts

Several recently published studies on links between exposure to chemicals and breast cancer.

Study Links Chemical Exposure to Breast Cancer Risk

(MedPage Today) Women exposed at work at a young age to petroleum byproducts and synthetic fibers such as acrylic and nylon appear to be at the greatest risk of developing breast cancer after menopause.

Source: Labreche F, et al “Postmenopausal breast cancer and occupational exposures” Occup Environ Med 2010; 67: 263-69.

Exposure to Phthalates and Breast Cancer Risk in Northern Mexico

Lizbeth López-Carrillo et al.  Environmental Health Perspectives, 118(4) Apr 2010.

The authors show for the first time that exposure to diethyl phthalate, the parent compound of monoethyl phthalate (MEP), may be associated with increased risk of breast cancer.

Editor’s Summary

Associations between Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon–Related Exposures and p53 Mutations in Breast Tumors

Irina Mordukhovich et al.  Environmental Health Perspectives, 118(4) Apr 2010.

The findings suggest that PAHs, environmental pollutants formed by incomplete combustion of organic material (for example, smoking, wood burning, vehicle exhaust), may be associated with specific breast tumor p53 mutation subgroups rather than with overall p53 mutations and may also be related to breast cancer through mechanisms other than p53 mutation.

Editor’s Summary

PAHs in stormwater runoff

Another EHP news item on PAHs notes that researchers found that stormwater runoff was the main pathway by which PAHs enter waterways, contributing about half the New York/New Jersey harbor’s PAH load, and atmospheric deposition was an important contributor of smaller PAH compounds.  (Lisa A. Rodenburg, et al. Mass Balances on Selected Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons in the New York–New Jersey Harbor, doi:10.2134/jeq2009.0264, Journal of Environmental Quality, March-April 2010 39: 642-653.)

March 12, 2010

Children’s health links

Healthy Choices for the Unborn

An appeal to sign petition for Kid-Safe Chemical Act.  (EWG commentary on the bill – includes links to research, testimony, news releases, and news coverage)

Includes info on EWG’s recent study of umbilical cord blood.

  • Minority Cord Blood Report (2009) – EWG found 232 chemicals in the umbilical cord blood of babies from racial and ethnic minority groups.

Among the chemicals (from the report’s Executive Summary):

    • BPA (bisphenol A)
    • Tetrabromobisphenol A (TBBPA), a fire retardant for circuit boards that interferes with thyroid function and may inhibit the production of T cells the body uses to fight disease, undermining immune defenses against bacteria, viruses and cancer. TBBPA can break down to BPA, and when incinerated it creates brominated dioxins, which are considered likely human carcinogens.
    • Galaxolide and Tonalide, polycyclic musks that are synthetic fragrances in cosmetics, laundry detergent and other scented products and that have been detected in numerous biomonitoring studies of pollution in people and in the aquatic environment.
    • Perfluorobutanoic acid (PFBA, or C4), a member of the perfluorocarbon (PFC) chemical family used to make non-stick, grease-, stain- and water-resistant coatings for consumer products, including brands Teflon, Scotchgard and Goretex. The most studied PFCs, the Teflon chemical PFOA and the Scotchgard chemical PFOS, are linked to cancer, birth defects and infertility. PFCs are extremely persistent in the environment. There is almost no toxicological data for PFBA in the public domain.
    • Previously Undetected Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)

Other links related to chemicals and children’s health:

A Wake Up Call For Parents – Includes link to video, “A Wake-Up Story for Parents” from Healthy Child, Healthy World.

February 24, 2010

Back in the real world: Human exposure to environmental chemicals

Another type of exposure besides exposure to 24/7 connectedness that is probably affecting kids is exposure to industrial chemicals.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently released its fourth National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals. (Fact Sheet / Executive Summary – 874 KB / Full report – 18 MB)

CDC has measured 212 chemicals in people’s blood or urine—75 of which have never before been measured in the U.S. population. The new chemicals include acrylamide, arsenic, environmental phenols, including bisphenol A (BPA) and triclosan, and perchlorate.  BPA was found in the urine of nearly all the people tested, a finding that indicates widespread exposure in the U.S. population.  Mercury, a known neurotoxin, was found in most of the study participants.

CDC notes:

Biomonitoring measurements are the most health-relevant assessments of exposure because they measure the amount of the chemical that actually gets into people from all environmental sources (e.g., air, soil, water, dust, or food) combined. With a few exceptions, it is the concentration of the chemical in people that provides the best exposure information to evaluate the potential for adverse health effects.

This is not a new issue.  Several years ago the Environmental Working Group released a report, Body Burden: The Pollution in Newborns, which measured industrial chemicals, pollutants, and pesticides in the umbilical cord blood of newborns.

287 chemicals were detected in umbilical cord blood, of which 180 cause cancer in humans or animals, 217 are toxic to the brain and nervous system, and 208 cause birth defects or abnormal development in animal tests.  The report notes that a number of human health problems are on the rise.  Fetal and childhood exposure can lead to childhood diseases or to diseases which don’t fully appear until adulthood.

So what can be done about this?

EWG has a blog on the Kid-Safe Chemical Act and the Environmental Defense Fund‘s Richard Denison has a blog on chemicals and nanomaterials.   EDF is also one of many organizations that has formed the “Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families” coalition, which is pushing for reforming the way the manufacture of industrial chemicals is regulated in the United States.  One of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s main tools for doing that is a relatively unknown law called the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).  The Safer Chemicals coalition presents a health case for strengthening TSCA.  (TSCA has actually been in the news quite a bit lately, so you might have heard about it.)

Blog at WordPress.com.