I Wish I Were Far From the Madding Crowd

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.)

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