There was a recent segment on NPR about our environment and its impact on our breast health. Breast tissue, consisting of mostly fat, acts as a sponge absorbing all the elements of our surroundings.
When Florence Williams, author of Breasts: A Natural and Unnatural History, read an article about toxins, she became curious about what was in her breast milk. After hearing back from the lab, she discovered her milk contained pesticides, dioxin, a jet fuel ingredient, and a high volume of flame retardants.
Flame retardants, present in household furniture and other everyday products, can have an impact on hormone levels and thyroid function, impacting everything from neuro development to metabolism.
It is obvious we should strive to avoid chemical exposure as much as possible, but unfortunately, it is impossible to always know for sure what we are being exposed to. While there are many things in our environment that we can’t control, one thing we should try to limit our exposure to is BPA. BPA is a plastics additive that acts like estrogen and could be causing cancer and reproductive issues.
“We know that if pregnant rats are dosed with BPA, their pups will grow up with altered mammary glands … in ways that predispose that animal to breast cancer later on,” she says. “A lot of people would say, ‘A rat is a rat. It’s not a human. What do we know about humans?’ And we actually don’t know that much. But recently a study just came out doing the same experiment but using Rhesus monkeys and, unfortunately, the results were very, very similar. Those monkeys ended up developing mammary glands that were altered by the chemical in ways that made it more likely to get breast cancer.” -Florence Williams
Aside from skin, the breasts are the one body part that has the most incidence of cancer. After learning that breasts absorb so many toxins, is it surprising?