In a recent survey, scientists have identified 216 compounds in our environment that may cause breast cancer.
The most inclusive survey till date of environmental chemicals linked to breast cancer has listed 216 compounds, many of which are frequently experienced by most women.
The extensive review of 900 scientific studies concerning humans and rodents created a long list of chemicals in our food, air and water that appear to be a reason behind breast cancer.
The researchers assert that 29 of the prospective carcinogens on the list are generated in the US in huge amounts with each going beyond 500,000 kilograms per year.
Nevertheless, although scientists have strictly inspected these chemicals, quite little is known about their effects on health.
Breast cancer poses a considerable danger to women as they grow old and is the chief cause of death of American women in their late 30s to early 50s.
Genes can manipulate a woman's risk of breast cancer significantly and women with changes in either the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes have a seven-time greater risk of breast cancer, the US National Cancer Institute estimates.
Genetic factors by themselves, however, cannot elucidate the outstanding disparity in cancer rates between regions. Women living in developed countries are approximately five times more likely to get the disease, mostly due to chemicals in the surroundings that enhance the risk of cancer.
Of the identified compounds, 73 have been present in consumer products or as contaminants in food and 35 are air pollutants.
Some of the common chemicals linked to breast cancer include benzene, a constituent of vehicle pollution, acrylamide, which is created when starchy foods, such as French fries, are heated to high-temperatures, perfluorooctanoic acid, a chemical used in non-stick and stain-resistant coatings on rugs, furniture, clothes and cookware, vinyl chloride, which is used by the plastics industry to produce polyvinyl chloride (PVC).
The authors of the survey say that researchers and governments need to make the screening of possible carcinogens less costly and time-consuming.
"If methods for identifying potential carcinogens were more efficient, a higher proportion of chemicals in use could be evaluated," New Scientist quoted the authors, as saying.