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ATTENTION: THIS IS AN ARCHIVAL WEB SITE.


The BCERF program on the Cancer Risks of Environmental Chemicals in the Home and Workplace closed on March 31, 2010. No further updates will be made to this web site. Please go Cornell University’s eCommons web site to access BCERF’s archived research and educational materials (http://ecommons.library.cornell.edu/handle/1813/14300).

Breast Cancer - The Estrogen Connection:
In the Dump and Down the Drain

Scientists are concerned that even at low levels, environmental estrogens may work together with the body’s own estrogen to increase the risk of breast cancer. How can we prevent these chemicals from getting into our environment? Watch the video, see What you can do, and read on to Learn More about What Goes in the Dump and Down the Drain.


New! In the DUMP & Down the DRAIN Handout
New! Alternatives and Recycling Handout

 

 

Cosmetics Breast Cancer - The Estrogen Connection: Cosmetics and More
Learn about ingredients in cosmetics that are estrogen mimics.
Duration: 03:11

 

Stainless bottles Breast Cancer - The Estrogen Connection: Plastics
Learn about estrogenic chemicals that can leach from plastics.
Duration: 03:08

 

down the drain Breast Cancer - The Estrogen Connection: In the Dump and Down the Drain
Learn about preventing estrogenic chemicals from getting into the environment.
Duration: 04:06

Playing Now.

 

What you can do:

Learn the names of environmental estrogens.

Read the label Recycle and Reuse Do not throw cell phones, PDA, hard drives, or TV and computer monitors into the trash.
    Bring all electronics to your local recycling facility.
    OR go to EPA’s Plug-In to eCycling website to find stores that accept electronics

More information is available on breast cancer and the estrogen connection.


Learn More about What Goes in the Dump and Down the Drain
By Suzanne M. Snedeker, PhD

Metals in Electronics – Keep them OUT of the Dump

Scientists are concerned that even at low levels, the environmental estrogens we are exposed to can add up, and may work together with the body’s own estrogen to increase the risk of breast cancer. Certain heavy metals have been identified as environmental estrogens. Many of these heavy metals are found in electronics you may use. Read on to find out how you can take action to keep electronics and heavy metals out of our environment.

Learn their names

Uses

The E-Waste Crisis (Electronic waste)

What you can do

Links to get you started

More on heavy metals and breast cancer risk


Learn More about What Goes Down the Drain Environmental Estrogens in Detergents
By Suzanne M. Snedeker, PhD

Scientists are concerned that even at low levels, the environmental estrogens we are exposed to can add up, and may work together with the body’s own estrogen to increase the risk of breast cancer. Some chemicals, used as surfactants in detergents to get the dirt out, go down the drain, and during wastewater treatment, they break down and form the environmental estrogens called nonylphenol and octylphenol. Read on learn more about these chemicals and how you can chose products with surfactants that are not estrogenic.

Nonylphenol and Octylphenol

Uses

Where does NPE go?

NPE used in household cleaners and laundry detergents does goes down the drain. The polyexthoxylated NPE-form goes into septic systems or wastewater treatment plants. Bacteria break down the NPE into chemicals that are environmental estrogens called nonylphenol and octylphenol. (see http://www.ec.gc.ca/ceqg-rcqe/English/Pdf/GAAG_NPE_SoQG_e.pdf).

Exposure

Regulation

What you can do

When you choose household detergents and laundry detergents:

Estrogenicity

Nonylphenol and octylphenol have tested positive as weak environmental estrogens in many types of screening tests. These environmental estrogens are much weaker (less potent) than the estrogen made by a woman’s ovaries. Nonylphenol also can support the growth of estrogen-dependent human breast cancer cells grown in the laboratory. (Shelby et al., Environmental Health Perspectives, 104:1296-1300, 1996; Miller et al., Environmental Health Perspectives, 109:133-138, 2001; Bonefeld-Jorgensen et al., Environmental Health Perspectives, 115(suppl 1):69-76, 2007; Recchia et al., Food Additives and Contaminants, 21(2):134-144, 2004).

Other toxic effects

Nonylphenol is very toxic to fish, and can cause feminization of male fish. Therefore, keeping these chemicals out of the environment is important for human health and wildlife health. (Goksoyr et al., J. Toxicological and Environmental Health A, 69(1-2):175-184, 2006; Popek et al., Reproductive Biology, 6:(Suppl. 1)175-188, 2006).

More information is available on breast cancer and the estrogen connection.

Acknowledgements: Dr. Suzanne Snedeker would like to acknowledge her student research assistants, Kasia Fertala and Laschelle Dana-Marie Stewart, who helped retrieve and organize the references used to write this article, and Carmi Orenstein for her helpful comments on drafts of this article.