Breast Cancer and Environmental Estrogen, The Connection

Estrogen also spelt oestrogen is a normal hormone in the human body and in females controls the reproductive cycle and also prepares the body for pregnancy. Environmental estrogen is not a normal hormone because it comes from outside the body and is found in many everyday products we use. This environmental estrogen can mimic our natural estrogen and scientists know they can cause health problems including breast cancer.

It’s because estrogen that is not found in nature can signal breast cells to divide and the more they divide the more likely they will develop cancer. Breast cells subjected to these chemicals will slowly change from normal body cells to tumour cells. It doesn’t happen over night but will slowly develop over a period of 10 or 20 years.

Estrogen is found everywhere in our modern world we live in and unfortunately it is not particularly easy to avoid it. But some you can avoid, as many of them are commonly found in plastic. Two of these estrogenic chemicals are phthalate and Bisphenol A, sometimes called BPA and are in plastic to add flexibility and durability to the product. So avoid drinking from plastic bottles or storing food in plastic containers. Also some processed food tins now days are lined and this lining contains these chemicals as well.

It is also found in many cosmetics such as nail polish, perfume and underarm deodorant. Deodorants when applied to the underarm or breast area can accumulate in the breast fat and cause breast cancer. Phthalates are also used to make polyvinyl chloride which is abbreviated PVC and is in vinyl flooring and plastic shower curtains. A new car smell is actually phthalates vaporizing from the plastic used in the interior linings.

One of the ways that estrogen enters our body is through microwave cooking so never microwave in plastic containers and especially with the thin plastic film called “Gladwrap” The estrogen within the plastic is easily transferred to the food.

Epidemiological studies have shown that 90 percent of breast cancers are of environmental origin and not caused by genetics. As with most chemicals, we all thought they were harmless but we are now finding they are causing many of our modern day health problems. Also these chemicals tend to stay in the body for a long period of time.

I know plastic is very convenient to use but there is other much safer options, such as glass ware or stainless steel which are free of these chemicals. If you are checking labels, you rarely see the words phthalate or bisphenol A on the label of the product unless it says phthalate or bisphenol free.