When October comes around, I’m always grateful that I’ve never had breast cancer — and feel motivated to adopt greener, healthier habits to reduce my risks. Why? Our environment is intrinsically tied to our personal health. Earlier this week, I wrote about how environmental pollutants are linked to breast cancer — and about how one of those pollutants, BPA, has officially been declared a toxic substance in Canada. Today, I came across a report from the Breast Cancer Fund that links the two: State of the Evidence: The Connection Between Breast Cancer and the Environment.
State of the Evidence is an annual publication published by Breast Cancer Fund, a nonprofit that works to combat the environmental causes of breast cancer. Basically, the report summarizes all the research that has come out in the previous year and adds it to the body of scientific evidence we already have linking environmental pollution to breast cancer.
The forms of this pollution run the gamut — from harmful particulates in the air we breathe to the BPA in the canned food we eat to the nail polish we put on our toes. Each year, Breast Cancer Fund points out with this report that a woman’s risk of breast cancer has increased dramatically in recent decades — in tandem with the number of mostly untested or under-tested synthetic chemicals used in the U.S.
Honestly, the State of Evidence is rather depressing to to get through (and rather long too, at 132 pages). It helpfully encapsulates many of the studies I’ve written about here at MNN as they’ve come out — but reading about them all in a row kind of got me down. There seem to be so many potential risks out there that worrying about avoiding all of them can get immobilizing.
What I found more uplifting is Breast Cancer Fund’s twitter feed — which focuses on quick tips about what you can do reducing your environmental risks for breast cancer — and breaks down the bad news into 140-character mini-punches.
And on an even more sanguine note: Breast Cancer Fund wants to turn October from Breast Cancer Awareness Month to Breast Cancer Prevention Month. Because while I do support the search for a cure, I would really prefer not to get breast cancer in the first place.
And if you want better regulation and testing of chemicals before they’re allowed into our products and environment at large, push for policies that help reduce breast cancer risk for everyone. Breast Cancer Fund has put together a handy list of actions you can take, ranging from calling for safer cosmetics to keeping pthalates out of children’s toys.