Chemicals lurking in products we use everyday like sippy cups and non-stick pans, may affect a woman’s ability to breastfeed, according to a research review published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives. The findings were the result of a workshop with a panel of toxicologists, epidemiologists and public health advocates who met to review existing research about endocrine disruptors and their effect on breast cancer and a breastfeeding. Read on for a list of the eight chemicals in question.
With more than 1,300 known endocrine disruptors, there is enough research to demonstrate that eight everyday chemicals can affect breast development:
- Bisphenol A (BPA)
- Atrazine, a pesticide
- Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), flame retardants
- Dibutylphthalate, found in nail polish and paints
- Dioxin associated with PVC plastic
- Methoxychlor, a now banned pesticide
- nonylphenol, used in pesticides and detergents
- Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), found in nonstick, and stain- and water-resistant finishes
Animal studies have shown that exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals including BPA, flame retardants and pesticides are most problematic during phases of life when mammary glands are developing. Adverse effects include altered mammary gland development, impaired lactation and difficulty breastfeeding, increased susceptibility to cancer and enlarged breasts in young boys and men.
Panel members agreed that new testing guidelines for industrial chemicals are needed because most toxicity tests do not adequately examine mammary gland tissues. “Given the magnitude of potential public health impacts on breastfeeding and breast cancer, it is critical to strengthen testing methods and give more weight to them in policy decisions. Good decisions about pollution limits, pesticide approvals, and chemicals in consumer products and food rely on a full and accurate understanding of risks associated with exposure.”, writes Julia Brody, PhD and director of the Silent Spring Institute.
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