August 6, 2002


Breast Cancer Cause Still Elusive : No clear link between pollution, breast cancer on LI (Dan Fagin, August 6, 2002, Newsday)
An $8-million federal study has found no evidence that pollution is an important cause of breast cancer in Long Island women, a frustrating result for local cancer activists who fought hard for the study a decade ago in hopes that it would identify new causes of the disease.

The study of more than 1,000 local women, the largest effort ever to look for environmental links to breast cancer, found that a woman isn't any more likely to get breast cancer if she has high levels of four toxic chemicals in her blood than if she has low levels.

The four chemicals - a breakdown product of the pesticide DDT, the pesticides chlordane and dieldrin, and the industrial insulators known as PCBs - have long been viewed as potentially important causes of breast cancer, though in recent years the evidence has weakened. All four have been banned since at least the 1980s as health threats, but are still detectable in the blood and body fat of most people. [...]

The study project, funded and administered by the National Cancer Institute, was the direct result of the grassroots activism and lobbying of a tenacious group of local advocates, many of them breast cancer survivors. [...]

Researchers... said yesterday that one effect of Gammon's studies may be to discourage similarly ambitious "fishing expeditions" that search for suspect toxic chemicals in blood, water, soil and air.

Please. The chances that this will discourage similar fishing expeditions are nonexistent. Women vote and women raise a ruckus when they get sick. The combination means lots of dollars get thrown at their pet causes. Posted by Orrin Judd at August 6, 2002 8:44 PM
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