Fund targets chemicals that may cause cancer |

Fund targets chemicals that may cause cancer

Amanda Fehd

One in every seven women in America will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lives.

Forty years ago, that number was one in 22, according to the Breast Cancer Fund. The Bay Area has the highest rate of breast cancer in the world now.

Turns out, living in an advanced country surrounds women with chemicals linked to breast cancer.

From plastic bottles to shampoo to fire retardant used to build homes, estrogen mimicking chemicals are nearly everywhere. They disrupt hormone function and have caused mammary cancer in studies on rodents.

Stored in fat, these chemicals – more than 140 of them – have been found in breast milk and linked to birth defects, developmental difficulty and cancer.

The Bay Area-based Breast Cancer Fund aims to eliminate these chemicals from our environment.

Two bills sponsored by the Breast Cancer Fund were voted through the California Assembly’s Health Committee Thursday, despite heavy pressure from industry. One bill helps measure pollution in people; the other arms consumers with information about toxic chemicals in cosmetics.

In January, the fund succeeded in convincing L’Oréal and Revlon to follow regulations imposed by the European Union to eliminate known carcinogens from their products.

The fund has also waged a risqué ad campaign to educate women on the products they use every day. One ad shows a bare-chested woman and reads: “It’s true, women’s breasts are overexposed (to hundreds of known and suspected carcinogens every day).”

Chemicals found in many cosmetic products, including fragrances, hair spray and nail polish, are listed by the Environmental Protection Agency and state of California as carcinogens or reproductive toxins.

On any given day, an average person could be exposed to more than 200 different chemical compounds, according to

Elements of plastic softeners found in water bottles and plastic food containers have also been found dissolved in the water or food, especially if the container has been heated.

These plastic elements are reportedly linked to cancer and birth defects.

To find out more, visit

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