16 July, 2019

Breast Cancer UK welcomes today’s publication of the Environmental Audit Committee’s report on Toxic Chemicals in Everyday Life. And its recommendations to deal with the growing problem of chemical pollution that may be linked to increased breast cancer risk.

Our Head of Science, Dr Margaret Wexler, says: We have long been concerned that exposure to certain chemicals – in particular, endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) – makes us more vulnerable to breast cancer. Incidence rates have increased by 25% in the UK over the last 20 years and are predicted to rise by 2% between 2014 and 2035.

The committee’s report demands urgent Government action by highlighting the inadequacy of today’s public health measures regarding EDCs. This includes certain types of harmful flame retardants. The report highlights current UK fire safety regulations, which result in the widespread use of flame retardants in UK furniture and furnishings. We fully support the committee’s recommendation that these regulations are reformed as a matter of urgency.

EDCs are used in everyday items such as toys, plastics, furnishings, clothing, cosmetics and cleaning products. They can interfere with or mimic normal hormonal functions, resulting in harmful health effects, including increased breast cancer risk.  Evidence suggests that chemicals such as these can affect babies still in the womb. And can be passed on via breast milk, making small children highly vulnerable.

Further reading:

Notes to Editors

Breast Cancer UK’s mission is to prevent breast cancer through scientific research, collaboration, education and policy change. We educate and raise awareness of the preventable risk factors for breast cancer and provide practical information to help people reduce their risk. We campaign for policies supporting prevention and fund scientific research to better understand and address preventable risk factors.



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