People are exposed to a variety of synthetic chemicals every day through the products they use and the foods they eat. The health effects of many of these chemicals are unknown. Currently, a new study shows that hundreds of common chemicals, such as pesticides, consumer product ingredients, food additives, and drinking water pollutants, cause breast tissue cells to produce more estrogen or progesterone hormones Shows that it may increase the risk of breast cancer.The findings of the study appeared in the journal ‘Environmental Health Perspectives’.

However, this study has found the adverse effects of these chemicals and how it may increase the risk of breast cancer.


The connection between estrogen and progesterone and breast cancer is well established. So, we should be extremely cautious about chemicals in products that increase levels of these hormones in the body,”  added author Ruthann Rudel, a toxicologist and research director at Silent Spring Institute.

 For example, in 2002, when the Women’s Health Initiative study found combination hormone replacement therapy to be associated with an increased risk of breast cancer, women stopped taking the drugs and incidence rates went down.

“Not astonishingly  one of the most common therapies for treating breast cancer is a class of drugs called aromatase inhibitors that lower levels of estrogen in the body, depriving breast cancer cells of the hormones they need to grow,” said Rudel.


To identify the risk factors for these chemicals, Rudel and Silent Spring scientist Bethsaida Cardona examined data on more than 2000 chemicals produced by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). 

Report in the journal Environmental hygiene outlook  Rudel and Cardona have identified 296 chemicals that have been found to increase intracellular estradiol (a type of estrogen) or progesterone in the laboratory. It was found that 71 chemicals increased the levels of both hormones. Chemicals included ingredients in personal care products such as hair dyes, chemical flame retardants in building materials and furniture, and many pesticides.

Researchers still don’t know how these chemicals make cells produce more hormones. For example, a chemical could act as an aromatase activator, which would lead to higher levels of estrogen,

Researchers at Silent Spring hope that the study will be a wake-up call for regulators and manufacturers on how to test the safety of chemicals. For example, current safety studies in animals cannot examine changes in animal mammary gland hormone levels in response to exposure to chemicals. Intracellular high-throughput tests have also been used to identify chemicals that mimic estrogen and activate estrogen receptors, Not used for  but to identify chemicals that increase estrogen or progesterone synthesis.


This study shows that many of the chemicals currently in use have the ability to manipulate hormones that are known to adversely affect the risk of breast cancer. Of particular concern is the number of chemicals that alter progesterone hormone  Replacement therapy. Chemicals that increase breast progesterone levels should be minimized. “,” said the study’s co-editor. Dr. Suffenton, chief and expert in breast development at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences,

Researchers have outlined some recommendations in research for improvement chemicals Safety trials help identify potential breast carcinogens before they are included in the product, reducing exposure to people, especially during important developmental stages when the breast undergoes significant changes, such as during puberty and pregnancy.

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