|A woman undergoes a mammogram, March 8, 2012. (Reuters/ENRIQUE CASTRO-MENDIVIL) |
Women who work in the manufacturing and farming industries where they are exposed to carcinogens and endocrine disruptors have a greater risk of developing breast cancer, a new study has found.
Researchers at Western University and the University of Windsor looked at the cases of 1,006 women who had breast cancer and compared them to 1,146 randomly selected women in the community to examine the effect that workplace exposure to chemicals has on breast cancer risk. The study was published Monday in the journal Environmental Health.
The study found that women who worked in plastics manufacturing and the rubber industry had nearly double the risk of developing breast cancer. Women who worked in food canning; farming; in bars, casinos and racetracks; and metal work also had a higher risk.
The risk of developing breast cancer before menopause was highest among women working in the automotive plastics and food canning industries, the study found.
Researchers say more work is necessary to fill in the gaps in understanding of the occupational risk factors for breast cancer.
"Our results highlight the importance of occupational studies in identifying and quantifying environmental risk factors and illustrates the value of taking detailed occupational histories of cancer patients," lead author James Brophy said. "Mounting evidence suggests that we need to re-evaluate occupational exposure limits in regulatory protection."
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