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Household Chemicals May Pose Risk for Breast Cancer

Be Careful When You Clean

A study recently published in the journal Environmental Health reports that frequent use of common household cleaning products may increase a woman’s risk for breast cancer. The study was undertaken by the Silent Spring Institute, a partnership of scientists, physicians, public health advocates and community activists dedicated to identifying links between the environment and women’s health, especially breast cancer. Researchers conducted telephone interviews with 787 women diagnosed with breast cancer and 721 comparison women, questioning them about their product use, beliefs about breast cancer causes, and established and suspected risk factors.

Executive Director Julia G. Brody, Ph.D., says, “Women who reported the highest combined cleaning product use had a doubled risk of breast cancer compared to those with the lowest reported use. Use of air fresheners and products for mold and mildew control were associated with increased risk. To our knowledge, this is the first published report on cleaning product use and the risk of breast cancer.” The use of insect repellents was also associated with increased risk.

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