Exposure to environmental estrogen 4-nonylphenol may increase the incidence of breast cancer.
Dr. William S. Baldwin and research team from University of Texas has reported that risk of breast cancer may be increased if exposed to environmental estrogen 4-nonylphenol. 4-nonylphenol is an estrogen like chemical which is released from cleaning agents, from industrial wastes of textiles, paper, plastic, cosmetic and agricultural chemical industries.
The study was carried out in mice experiments by inducing the chemical 4-nonylphenol into mice and all the 5 mice induced with 4-nonylphenol developed tumors in the breast. The study shows that exposure to environmental estrogen 4-nonylphenol increased the risk of breast cancer in mice. The study also showed that after administration of 4-nonylphenol the mice had a reduced latency period before development of tumor after induction. They had a shortened latency period for tumor development and also the metastasis spread to the lung increased after induction of 4-nonylphenol.
This research is another example demonstrating that estrogen-like chemicals in the environment "has the ability to cause cancer," Dr. William S. Baldwin from University of Texas at El Paso, El Paso, Texas told Reuters Health. "Whether they really do or not is unknown." The animals' exposure in this study was much higher than that encountered in the environment.
Breast cancer is one of the common cancers in women and in which genetic and environmental factors plays an important role in causing breast cancer. Many factors increase the estrogen levels in the female, environmental factors also increase these hormone levels, which is thought to be an important factor for breast cancer occurrence.
Though the dosage of 4-nonylphenol given to mice is much greater than the dosage what humans gets exposed in their daily life. The dosage given to mice is 1000 times more the level of human exposure. Still this study will help to understand the effect of environmental pollution leading to development of breast cancer. The researchers are planning to continue their investigations by looking into the effects of developmental exposures of nonylphenol on breast cancer.