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No link between breast cancer, pesticide

  >=====  A message from the 'endohealth' discussion list  =====
  >Does anyone know who's funding this research?
  >>972330207   THU   AUG.21,1997
  >>PAGE:  A12
  >>CLASS: News
  >>WORDS: 652
  >>          No link between cancer, pesticide
  >>          Breast cancer target of study
  >>Medical Reporter A new study concludes that there is no direct link between
  >>high levels of pesticides or PCBs in the body and breast cancer, but that
  >>breast feeding might decrease cancer risk. In general, women with breast
  >>cancer were found to have no higher  levels of pesticide compounds or PCBs
  >>(polychlorinated biphenyls) than  women who do not, Kirsten Moysich of the
  >>State University of New York  at Buffalo reported yesterday at an
  >>environmental meeting in Taiwan.
  >>The study involved women from two counties in western New York who  lived
  >>near a number of chemical factories as well as several toxic  waste dumps,
  >>including the infamous Love Canal.
  >>"These results suggest that higher blood levels of organochlorides  (such
  >>as DDT, Mirex and PCBs) were a risk factor for breast cancer  only for
  >>women with no history of breast feeding," said Dr. Moysich, a  specialist
  >>in preventive medicine who was chief of the study team.
  >>Women who had not breast fed had significantly higher levels of DDE, a
  >>residue from DDT, in their blood and twice the rate of breast cancers  as
  >>women of similar age and habits who breast fed.
  >>The study included 154 women with breast cancer and 192 healthy women  of
  >>similar age and background.
  >>The link between cancer and pesticides was a major issue at last  month's
  >>World Conference on Breast Cancer held in Kingston, Ont.  Speakers at the
  >>meeting urged that more research be done, and the  findings reported
  >>yesterday suggest that it will not be easy getting  the answers.
  >>"We're learning it's not how much you're exposed to but how your body
  >>responds to it. It appears there is a complex chain of events in how  it
  >>might affect breast-cancer risk," said John Vena, a specialist at  the
  >>Buffalo university's environmental-health program who was  co-investigator
  >>in the study.
  >>Studies on animals have shown that organochlorides can have effects
  >>similar to estrogen, the female hormone. Even though they were banned  in
  >>the 1970s, the substances persist in soil and water for years and  get into
  >>the body through vegetables, meats or fish that absorb them.
  >>"They are fat-loving substances and they collect in the fatter parts  of
  >>the body, including breasts," Dr. Vena said.
  >>While the body has processes that break down the substances over a  period
  >>of weeks or months, some of them remain stored long term in  fat. Cancer
  >>risk appears to rise only if the body is not efficient at  eliminating them.
  >>"The chief mechanism for eliminating them from breast tissue is  lactation,
  >>which flushes them from the system," Dr. Moysich concluded.
  >>She noted that while the baby is exposed to the substances, the  benefits
  >>of breast feeding appear to outweigh any potential risks  associated with
  >>"But our study, and others, don't show an adverse effect for the  general
  >>population," Dr. Moysich added in an interview. "It is  tempting to blame
  >>environmental exposure to potential carcinogens for  causing breast cancer.
  >>Because there is little to be done about it, it  eliminates the
  >>responsibility for changing one's lifestyle or habits."
  >>How much effect toxic substances that remain stored in fat have on  cancer
  >>formation is still a question. A recent study by the U.S.  National Cancer
  >>Institute indicated that pesticides stored in fat may  pose a cancer risk
  >>only if they are released from fat during dieting.
  >>Dr. Vena noted that this first part of the Buffalo study found that
  >>postmenopausal women who are obese tended to have higher levels of
  >>pesticide residues in their blood, and a higher cancer risk.
  >>However, a second part of the study that examined premenopausal women  is
  >>finding a higher risk of cancer among the thinnest women. That  study will
  >>not be complete until next year, Dr. Vena said.
  >>The research is being conducted by staff of the Buffalo Department of
  >>Social and Preventive Medicine, the Toxicology Research Center and the
  >>National Cancer Institute.
  > ---------------------------------------------------------
  >Miranda Holmes, Toxics Campaigner
  >Georgia Strait Alliance
  >201-195 Commercial Street, Nanaimo, BC V9R 5G5
  >Tel: 250-753-3459 Fax: 250-753-2567