Exposure to workplace chemicals can increase breast cancer risk, study says

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Exposure to workplace chemicals can increase breast cancer risk, study says

TORONTO - A new Canadian study suggests women working in certain industries appear to have a higher-than-normal risk of developing breast cancer.

The study says women working with automotive plastics and in food canning operations are roughly five times more likely to develop breast cancer before menopause than women who do not.

Women working in tooling, foundries and metal-related manufacturing have nearly double the risk of developing breast cancer as other women.

And women working in bars and gambling facilities are more than two times more likely than other women to develop breast cancer.

The study was the result of a multi-year research project funded by the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation.

It says that women who work for a 10-year period in environments with high exposure to carcinogens and hormone-disrupting chemicals have an average increase in breast cancer risk of 42 per cent.

The work was done by an international team of researchers, led by Dr. James Brophy and Dr. Margaret Keith, both of whom have appointments at both the University of Windsor and the University of Stirling, in Scotland.

The team gathered occupational histories from more than 2,000 women in Essex and Kent counties in southern Ontario, including both those diagnosed with breast cancer and women unaffected by the disease.

Organizations: Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, University of Windsor, University of Stirling

Geographic location: TORONTO, Scotland, Essex Kent Southern Ontario

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