breast cancer

Banned PCBs, toxic chemicals still causing breast cancer years after being outlawed

Thursday, July 11, 2013 by: Jonathan Benson, staff writer
Tags: PCBs, BPA, breast cancer

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(NaturalNews) Though it often takes an excessive amount of time for regulatory agencies to catch up with the latest science on chemical safety, a handful of noxious chemicals have been effectively banned over the years after being identified as serious threats to human health. But oftentimes the effects of these chemicals can linger for decades, as is the case with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), a class of chemicals that was banned in the 1970s, but that has been found to still be causing cases of breast cancer today.

A recent study published in the journal Breast Cancer Research and Treatment explains how persistent PCBs, which used to be added to coolant fluids, electric motors, capacitors and other industrial equipment prior to being banned, are continuing to show up in the bloodstreams of humans today. According to the paper, one in four women today are afflicted by high levels of PCBs, and these same women are three times more likely to develop breast cancer by the age of 50 than others with lower levels.

Conducted by researchers from the Public Health Institute (PHI)'s Child Health and Development Studies (CHDS) in Berkeley, California, the study also confirmed that most people today have at least some PCB material coursing through their veins, despite the fact that the chemicals have not been in use for more than 30 years. This is obviously highly problematic, as PCBs are known endocrine disruptors that can cause hormonal imbalance and other problems.

"To our knowledge, this is the first study to report on breast cancer associations in relation to measured PCB blood levels during critical periods of vulnerability for the breast," wrote lead author Dr. Barbara A. Cohn, director of CHDS, about the study. "What is concerning is that important exposures happened decades before these women's cancer actually developed. And women are still being impacted today. One must ask, what are the long-term effects of chemicals on the market today? And how can we do a better job of protecting ourselves?"

Is BPA the new PCB?

One such chemical that comes to mind almost immediately is bisphenol-A (BPA), the infamous plastics chemical that government bureaucracies keep trying to tell us is safe. Like PCBs, BPA has also been identified as an endocrine disruptor, and a shocking 90 percent of newborn babies' cord blood tested positive for it in a recent U.S. test ( Exposure to BPA, which comes from food can linings, thermal receipt paper, and money, is also linked to brain damage, developmental disorders, feminization of males, and obesity, among other things. (

What the PCB study does, in essence, is illustrate why many modern chemicals like BPA are a potentially very serious health threat. It also shows how these persistent chemicals can directly affect cancer risk, despite reassurance by the cancer industry that breast cancer in particular is primarily a genetic disease.

You can read the complete PCB study here:

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