A commentary by UC Berkeley Center for Occupational and Environmental Health (COEH) researchers, published in Reproductive Toxicology, covers the emerging evidence that chemical exposure may contribute to breast cancer risk. It recommends improving test protocols to investigate how chemicals increase breast cancer risk and alter mammary gland structure and function.
“A key challenge we face in understanding how mammary gland development can be altered by chemical factors is the lack of data for thousands of commonly used chemicals,” says COEH research scientist, Dr. Megan Schwarzman, a coauthor of the commentary. “We hope that increased chemical testing will help bridge that data gap.”
Evidence suggests that mammary gland (MG) development is a complex process that extends from gestation through fetal and neonatal growth, puberty, and pregnancy; altered MG development increases the risk of breast cancer and other adverse outcomes; and chemical exposures during susceptible windows of development may alter the MG in ways that increase risk for later disease.
Dr. Gwendolyn Osborne, and Dr. Ruthann Rudel, Silent Spring Institute, are co-authors of the commentary.