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Blue Collar Women at Increased Breast Cancer Risk?

Health Studies in the News, Women, Your Health

A new study from Ontario has found that women working blue collar jobs are at an increased risk of developing breast cancer.

The study of women in Essex County and Chatham-Kent, interviewed 1,000 women diagnosed with breast cancer and 1,150 women without the disease. Findings revealed that women who work for 10 years in environments with high exposure to carcinogens and hormone disrupting chemicals increase their risk of developing breast cancer by about 42-percent.

For instance women working in the following industries were linked to increased breast cancer risk before reaching menopause:

  • Women automotive plastics and food canning workers were five times more at risk due to plastics and additives exposure, which releases estrogenic and carcinogenic chemicals
  • Women working in bars and casinos were linked to double the risk of developing breast cancer
  • Female laborers in foundries and metal shops had a 73-percent higher risk of breast cancer
  • While women farmers were at a 36-percent increased risk

The study called attention to female hormonal response to pesticides, which are believed to act as mammary carcinogens and disrupt the hormonal system.

Jim Brophy, formerly of Sarnia’s Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers and one of the principal investigators of the study says, “Blue collar women, in particular, are an invisible cohort…None of Ontario’s exposure limits account for hormonal disruption, which maybe a major player in hormonally-related cancers like breast or prostate cancer…I think we really need to have a serious intervention…into workplaces to ensure these exposures are kept to a minimum.”

Source: The Observer

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