More than 48,000 women who live in some rural parts of England may have an increased risk of cancer, a new study says. The Monash University report says pesticides used on tobacco crops are probably to blame for a much higher-than-average rate of breast cancer among women who live near tobacco fields. The chemicals, called organochlorine pesticides, were phased out of legal use in the 1980s and 1990s, but some farmers continue to use them.
Pesticides used on tobacco crops in Victoria's northeast have been linked to high rates of breast cancer in the area.
Monash University researchers believe 48,000 women in the Ovens and Murray Shire could be at risk.
Dr Narges Khanjani discovered the link between the disease and organochlorine pesticides -- used in the area since the 1940s -- after studying breast milk.
Most organochlorines were phased out in the 1980s and '90s, but some chemicals are still in use.
The average number of women diagnosed with breast cancer in an area of such population size is 700, yet the rate in the shire was at least 815.
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