Chemical exposure affects breast development

Last Updated: Jun 25, 2011, 00:00 AM IST

Washington: Exposure to chemicals early in life may alter the way a teenage girl`s breasts develop and raise her risk of developing cancer in later years, a new research has warned.

Women may also experience problems with breast-feeding, the report said.

The study looked at the affect of chemical exposure on rodents when in the womb, since breast development and the way cancer spreads in the body is similar in both mice and humans.

The study showed that when exposed to some hormonally active chemicals such as pesticides and bisphenol A, which is found in thousands of everyday plastics, their mammary glands did not grow normally and breast development was affected, reports the Daily Mail.

The team, led by Julia Brody from the Silent Spring Institute in Massachusetts, wrote: "The breast develops over a long period, with vulnerability beginning in utero and extending through the first pregnancy."

They added that lower doses of chemicals were needed to affect sensitive breast tissue compared to other areas of the body.

The report warned: "Few chemicals coming into the marketplace are evaluated for these effects."

The study was recently published in Environmental Health Perspectives.