March 21, 2012
In addition, there is evidence the male breast is even more sensitive to some chemicals.
A review published online June 22 ahead of print in the peer-reviewed journal Environmental Health Perspectives (EHP) reports the conclusions of an international workshop on ways to improve chemicals safety testing for effects on the breast. The studies reviewed by workshop scientists indicate that chemical exposures during critical periods of development may influence breast growth, ability to breastfeed, and cancer risk. The scientists recommend that future chemical testing evaluate effects on the breast after prenatal and early-life exposure.
The recommendations are based on studies of rodent mammary gland development following prenatal or early-life exposure to certain pesticides (including atrazine and methoxychlor), industrial by-products known as dioxins, polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE) flame retardants, and some chemicals used in consumer products, including bisphenol A (BPA), perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), dibutylphthalate, and nonylphenol.
Effects also have been observed with exposure to hormones, such as estrogen, and plant estrogens such as genistein, which is found in soybeans. Most chemicals in use have not been evaluated for these effects, highlighting the need for improved chemicals testing.
As a step in implementing the workshop recommendations, the National Toxicology Program (NTP), a division of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), National Institutes of Health, recently moved toward including assessments of male and female mammary gland development in studies of chemical effects on cancer and reproduction.