Evaluating the Association Between Air Toxins & Breast Density

Analyses suggest association between environmental exposures and breast density.

Posted by Ellen O'Meara, PhD at 11:36 AM on Feb 21, 2019


In the first study to evaluate the association between air toxics and breast density, women living in areas with higher concentrations of lead and cobalt were more likely to have dense breasts. Associations were strongest for premenopausal women. This BCSC study included 222,581 women who had a screening mammogram in 2011. Data were linked with the 2011 EPA National Air Toxics Assessment to determine zip code residential levels of airborne polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and metals (arsenic, cadmium, chromium,  cobalt, lead, manganese, mercury, nickel, and selenium). Breast density is a strong risk factor for breast cancer, the most common cancer among US women. These findings suggest a possible role for environmental exposures in breast density.

Full Text Article Citation & Link: Airborne metals and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in relation to mammographic breast density. Alexandra J. White, Clarice R. Weinberg, Ellen S. O’Meara, Dale P. Sandler and Brian L. Sprague. Breast Cancer Research 2019, 21:24. [Link to Full Text]

Article highlighted on MDLinx: Oncology: https://www.mdlinx.com/journal-summaries/air-pollution-metals-polycyclic-aromatic-hydrocarbons/2019/02/15/7557233/?spec=oncology&rcid=67

Posted by: Ellen O'Meara, PhD