Chemicals in household products and cosmetics are commonly associated with the risk of breast cancer. Breast cancer is still the most common cancer for women after skin cancer, per the American Cancer Society.
In most cases, the biggest effect on breast cancer is women’s hormones. It has been found to tie into either early menstruation or late menopause, after the age of 55. Family genetics make up a smaller risk percentage for breast cancer than hormones.
Factors that help reduce risk include earlier pregnancies, longer breastfeeding times, and exercise, according to Breastcancer.org. It will help to avoid hormone replacement therapy and avoid or control the number of chemicals your body is exposed to.
The chemicals in many household products increase the risk of breast cancer and other cancers. Many of these chemicals have few or no studies on their health risk factors, but many are well-known carcinogens by themselves.
These cancers happen because the breast acts like a sponge, made up of mostly fat and lymph tissue, and it soaks up the chemicals we breathe, ingest or spread on our skin. Many of these chemicals never leave our body but are stored in our tissues, like our breasts and other organs.
Many of these chemicals are considered “endocrine disruptors” since they look and act like your body’s estrogen hormone. These chemicals are like fuel, for cancer growth, especially in the breast.
7. Phthalate Chemicals
Phthalates are a common ingredient in home air fresheners, cosmetics, and cleaning products. Many people are exposed to these at work in textiles, radiation, use of solvents, dyes, and vehicle exhaust. It is also an ingredient used in nail polish.
“Products to control mold and mildew, like air fresheners, are particularly linked to a higher risk of breast cancer”, says Julia Brody Ph.D., Researcher, and Director of Silent Spring Institute in Newton, Massachusetts.
Parabens are found in many cosmetics and have been found to increase the growth of hormone-receptor-positive breast cancers. Studies have shown weak estrogenic-like properties in parabens but generally are considered safe for use in normal amounts of cosmetic use. Some research suggests controlling the amounts of these chemicals, if you use a lot of lotions, sunscreen, soaps, or facial cosmetics, to avoid any increase in cancer risk.
Studies have found that even one glass of any alcohol, liquor, or wine can raise the risk of breast cancer. Of course, one drink is a low percentage of risk but that risk of cancer increases if you are a moderate or heavy drinker.
Pesticides used in home gardening, insect sprays, and agriculture for insect crop control, like atrazine, are banned in the European Union (but not in the USA) due to high carcinogenic probability. These can include DDT, PCBs and flame retardants that remain in the environment and in our tissues indefinitely. Even though DDT has been banned in the United States, it is still being found in human tissue today.
The chemical triclosan, found in antibacterial soaps and other products, is an endocrine disrupter, increasing cancer of the breast in estrogen-sensitive individuals. It is now being banned in many states.
2. Methanol, Ethylene Glycol, or Naphthalene
These chemicals are usually in the garage, like windshield washer fluid, or in the washroom, like ammonia compounds from detergents. These may not be cancerous but can damage skin, eyes, and lungs. Naphthalene is used as a cleaner for rugs and upholstery and can cause cancer and liver damage.
Be careful and protect yourself, your family and pets, when using these products.
1. Bisphenol A (BPA)
BPA is a chemical used in plastics and the lining of canned foods that mimics the estrogen hormone in the human body and is associated with a higher risk of breast, ovarian, and prostate cancers.
There are other researchers and chemical companies who feel these “self-reporting” types of studies are not reliable and therefore do not believe the results. Of course, no one offers many or any other study results that can confirm or deny how carcinogenic these chemicals are to our health.