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17 chemicals could be linked to breast cancer, researchers say

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Scientists have identified 17 groups of chemicals that they believe, when exposed to humans and animals, could be possible non-genetic causes of breast cancer.

The nonprofit Silent Spring Institute and the Harvard School of Public Health surveyed studies that linked mammary tumors in animals to household chemicals, Time reports, and compared that to data for humans, which is limited. They are now concerned about 17 common groups of chemicals found in flame retardants (often used on rugs and mattresses), stain-resistant fabrics, paint removers, disinfection byproducts in drinking water, and vehicle exhaust. Benzene and butadiene, caused by combustion and found in gasoline, charred or burned food, and lawn equipment, were also worrisome.

The scientists say that more research is needed before they can definitively declare there is a link between breast cancer and the chemicals, but to be safe they suggest that both men and women reduce their exposure to gasoline and exhaust, use a fan while cooking, avoid eating burned food, purify drinking water with a solid carbon-block filter, and take dry cleaning to establishments that do not use solvents. The study was published Monday in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.